Tag Archives: Alumni

Alumni Spring Social

This spring, a group of MM alumni from the program’s 8-year history came together to celebrate and reconnect. This was the first “reunion” planned across MM graduating years by the Master of Management Alumni Association (MMAA), and it was a huge success! At the event, we played pub trivia to see if anyone remembered anything from the program (surprisingly, quite a lot!), tasted some local craft beers, caught up with old friends, and made some new ones.

It has been truly inspiring to watch our alumni community grow and see how far people have come. There’s something about the MM: our degree is relatively young both at UBC and around the world. Because of this, we think we MMs have a unique bond that brings us together. There’s a sense of closeness and camaraderie that comes from our experience, and together, we’re building a name for ourselves on a global scale.

We’re looking forwards to making this event bigger and bi-coastal next year and want to sincerely thank the planning committee and the Alumni who came out!

Written by Cidnee Vaykovich & Elizabeth Sun (Alumni)

Alumni Guest Entry: Mel Gabanna

I was always envious of people who ‘just knew’ what they wanted to do for a living and had a clear post-MM career path to work towards. I had no idea what I wanted to pursue and struggled with feeling like I had no purpose or intention in my job search. It wasn’t until Steven Fitzgerald (our fearless leader at Habanero Consulting, an IT Consulting firm) came to speak to my MM class in 2011 that I started to realize, maybe it doesn’t really matter what I do. As Steven shared stories of Habanero and spoke about the culture and values that drive the company, I vividly remember thinking to myself ‘that’s the guy I need to work for, that’s where I need to be’ without really knowing what Habanero even did. It was a big “ah-ha!” moment for me and I started gaining a lot of clarity about what was important for me in a career and what I valued in a workplace. I shifted my perspective from trying to figure out ‘what’ to do and focused on finding the right people and leaders to surround myself with – the right ‘who‘.

Jim Collins (smart guy, read his books) explains his version of Who vs. What in this little video clip, check it out – (Your Personal Hedgehog – Who vs. What http://www.jimcollins.com/media_topics/all.html#audio=85)

“Far more important than what jobs you take early on is who you work for, and who your mentors are” – Jim Collins

I would have never predicted that I’d end up working in IT consulting, but the amazing quality of people I work with at Habanero and the feeling I get when I go to the office is exactly what I was looking for.  As it turns out, Habanero’s ‘what’ happens to be super interesting to me, so that’s a nice bonus.

My advice to the MMs, especially those feeling a little lost in the job search as May starts to approach, is not to worry too much about figuring out the ‘what’ right now. That will continue to change and evolve as we go through our careers for years to come. If you’re ‘what’ is flexible, start hunting for an amazing ‘who’. They are harder to spot and take more work to find so get out there and talk to people – network, network, network. And use the BCC as much as possible, don’t wait until graduation to realize how valuable those resources are!

– Mel Gabanna, MM ’12

Alumni Guest Entry: Nav Sidhu

I currently work in Marketing for one of North America’s largest real estate investment advisors. So what steps did I take to get here?

The first, and most important thing I did, was decide early on which field I wanted to go into. I always had an interest in real estate, and I knew it was the career trajectory I wanted to pursue. By having a vision about the path I wanted to embark on, I was able to make it clear to the Business Career Centre (BCC) exactly what I was looking for. I feel that this is an advantageous step for all MM students. When career opportunities arise, BCC advisors are more likely to reach out to individuals who have expressed a specific interest in a field over someone who has not.

The second thing I did was focus on building my resume. We were given numerous opportunities in the MM to gain relevant work experience. Instead of trying to gain diverse experience, I focused on acquiring experience that was specific to the field I wanted to pursue. I was able to accomplish this through the Community Business Project, which helped me create a stronger resume, thus influencing my job outcome.

The third, and one of the most important steps I took, was beginning to apply for jobs before graduation. I believe you can never get enough practice with interviews. There will always be questions thrown around that you have not had the chance to prepare for. Going through actual interviews will help you determine your strengths and weaknesses as an interviewee. You then have an opportunity to hone and structure yourself into a better candidate. If you are able to learn from these mistakes early on, it will make it much easier and less stressful when applying for jobs later on.

With the help of the three points I listed above, I was lucky enough to come across an internship opportunity as an Analyst for a real estate investment company. By making it clear to the BCC what I was looking for, through my resume building activities during the year, and by completing multiple interviews with different companies before hand, I was in a good situation when it came this job. Although this position was temporary for the summer, I saw this as an opportunity to gain valuable skills that would significantly strengthen my resume.

Once that role ended, I eventually moved into my current role in Marketing. My success in landing this job is due to all of the above, but also to the extensive time I took to research and understand the company. So how do you stand out from the competition? Study the company. Know the company. When answering questions during the interview, bring in things you learned about the company during your research to support well developed and thought out answers. This is your opportunity to show them that you really want to be there, and that you are already ahead of the competition with your extensive knowledge about the company.

So there it is, some of the important steps I took during the MM to help develop my career. I advise you begin your search now. Good luck!

 – Nav Sidhu, MM’15

Alumni Guest Entry: John Holt

Let’s be honest, if you’re in the MM program, it’s likely because you want to add one final piece of the puzzle to get a job. I was no different. I had a Bachelor of Arts from UBC, and had taught English for a couple years in Spain and wanted to do something in business, whatever that meant.

My job search was varied and I applied to a range of jobs that had little in common. The first piece of advice I’d give is apply to anything you think you could do. The worst case scenario is that you get another live opportunity to test your interview skills. The day you sit down for the job you really want, you’ll be amazed how much more comfortable you’ll feel if you’ve already sat in the hot seat a number of times before.

The second piece of advice is really understanding the job you’re applying for and what you bring that makes you a great candidate. I applied for HSBC’s International Management programme. I was fortunate, I had a broad first degree which gave me a firm base in world politics, experience moving and living abroad in another language and the MM program gave me the finance angle that I was lacking previously. It seems so simple, but it’s your job to really make sure the interviewer understands the relevance.

Finally, I’ll echo something I know other MMs have written about, your classmates. Network is important, and to be clear not networking, but your network. Networking is often shallow and meeting people is great but I highly recommend you foster a network of people you really know and trust, and then invest time to keep up with them. I invested a lot of time in the MM program when I was going through it and would recommend you do the same, at a bare minimum get to know your classmates over the course of the program to make sure you can all help each other. You’ve got a built in opportunity to meet likeminded people over a relatively long period of time, use it!

In the end, I looked for something international, and wasn’t too focused on the industry. It meant I went for a number of interviews, often unrelated. I noticed in the interviews the question I always asked the interviewer was what international opportunities existed in the company. When I interviewed with HSBC it just clicked, I could identify what made me a good fit for them, and the rest is history. I’ve now had the great fortune to have worked for the bank in Paris, London and now Bangkok. Your ambition may not be international work, but whatever your driver, it’ll come out through the process. Let it happen, and good luck!

– John Holt, MM ’10