Tag Archives: Career

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)

How Sales Sold Me on Business

Flashback to 18 year old me: bright eyed, bushy tailed and hell-bent on pursuing a degree in psychology. Less than a year later, I was already disenchanted with that idea. When I began my undergraduate degree, I was convinced that a career in counselling was my passion. As a full-time first year student it was required that I select five courses and the first four were easy: Psychology, English, Philosophy and History. Politics became part of the mix through process of elimination – I was the least opposed to it as compared to any other option. By the end of first year, I had declared a major in Politics.

Upon reflection, it felt so necessary that I know exactly which path to pursue fresh from high school. Naturally, as an 18 year old I was fully equipped with all the necessary experience to reach some sort of informed decision about the direction of my life. Right? Wrong. In fact, fast forward to the end of my bachelor’s degree four years later: still bright eyed, still bushy tailed and absolutely certain that I was going to law school.

For about a year after completing my undergrad, I worked as a server in a local waterfront restaurant. Simultaneously, I studied for the LSAT and prepared several law school applications. Unfortunately (or, perhaps fortunately), my efforts were unsuccessful and now I found myself at a real crossroads. I felt slightly stagnant and that was uncomfortable. So, I began applying for different jobs in the hope that a career path would present itself. But, I was only applying for jobs that felt familiar or comfortable.

Looking back, my desire to grow and the action I took as a result – applying for “comfortable” jobs – were most certainly at odds. Luckily, the job I ultimately accepted was neither familiar nor comfortable.
About a year after completing my undergrad, I became an outside sales representative in the automotive and industrial sector. Let that sink in for a moment. Here was the girl who was going to counsel people for a living, and also the girl who was going to argue in courts of law for a living, and now she is cold calling on collision and mechanical repair shops and presenting products to customers? My life had definitely zigged and then zagged and then zigged again in the four years between ages 18 and 22. And you know what? Thank goodness for those zig zags.

Finally, I found my groove (well, at least for a short while). Let me tell you a bit about my daily responsibilities as a sales rep. The company I worked for has contracts with about 30 different manufacturers. I began by focusing on several of these product lines, and was directed to traverse the lower mainland stopping in at any business that might have a need. For the most part, these were automotive shops and supply stores, although once or twice I got creative and dropped by a winemaker’s store and a shipyard. At the beginning, before I had developed any sustained relationships with customers, I experienced many suspicious looks that culminated in “thanks, but no thanks” (and this was the nicest version of ‘no’ that I received). My repertoire of rejection only encouraged me, as this was a challenge I simply had to surmount. Eventually, with a little more experience and product knowledge, I was able to create a network. At this point, some sales calls were more akin to talking business with friends than trying not to sweat or blush as I nervously attempted to engage a new customer.

I cannot find the words to express how much fun I had with that first sales position. Nor can I find the words to express how much I learned, even in that very short span of time. Though, as much as I looked forward to work each day, another pinch of self-awareness was creeping up on me. I was experiencing the beginnings of a passion that would not have been possible at 18, or at 22. And I wanted to learn more! It began with a Professional Sales Certificate, completed through Langara College. Still, this was not enough. It was at this point I discovered the Master of Management program. I applied and this application process was very different from the law school application process. Yes, I still had to write a test (LSAT to GRE) and yes I still had to write some creative pieces as part of the application. But, I felt more certain, more committed, and definitely more passionate.

Following graduation, I want to work in a sales position once again. However, if there is one important lesson I have learned it’s that you really cannot ever be sure about where your personal path will lead. I know, very cliché. Also, I promise you, very true. So, craft a plan, follow a direction but always, always be open to the multitude of opportunities that are available. If you don’t feel sure, that’s ok – a little bit of uncertainty adds excitement. Capitalize on that uncertainty and allow it to open you to new experiences.

Stay healthy, my friends.

 

Written by Savana Caruk ’17

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

BLACK(M)MERLE

Courses you take during 9 months of the MM program are very intensive and challenging. However, these courses will definitely equip you with necessary tools that you would need in order to become a successful entrepreneur. Your learning experiences would be perfectly utilizable if you have some idea of your own venture before you come into the program or are even better when you have a business already. I can assure you of this because I am speaking from personal experience.

During my undergraduate years at Queen’s University, I majored in life sciences. Nonetheless, I knew that deep inside my heart the one thing that I was always passionate about was fashion. It is something that I have been putting my heart and soul into ever since my childhood. After graduating from Queen’s, I finally decided that I would start my own clothing brand, and to aid the process of building my own business, I applied to study management at UBC. After a lengthy but super enjoyable preparation, designing, sampling, and manufacturing process, BLACKMERLE (blackmerle.com) was officially launched on September 1st of 2015, which was the start of our MM program as well. 12625779_10153209303546059_821982769_nBeing a designer and starting your own fashion brand may look glamorous to some people but it is a really challenging venture and industry since there is a lot more business involved than what it seems like on the surface. Although I have taken care of all the beginning administration tasks and basic business side of the brand at this point, such as creating the online presence, marketing both online/offline, or making creative content, I was still faced with more tasks and strategic managing in order to move forward. Courses I have taken so far during the MM program and help from the Business Career Center have been guiding me and pushing me forward with my venture.

I have to admit that marketing is the biggest challenge in most start-up ventures. Marketing courses taught by Ann Stone and Yi Qian will definitely help you plan out and execute several important marketing tactics. Financial and managerial accounting gives you the important technique in tracking where all your precious investment is going and, more importantly, gives you the right mindset for dealing with cost, revenue, and profit. Real life case studies that you will be reading throughout the whole program give you great insight by analyzing other company’s mistakes and successes. Entrepreneurship class gives you some of the most direct advice you can utilize right away to build your own start-up. Lastly, resources and help from BCC are very precious since they can give you the most “tailored” advice. It is incredibly amazing opportunity when you can apply what you learn in the classroom right away into your own business. Concepts that might seem so abstract to some students are better understood when you can relate it to your own business.

You only live a short life. I always feel like there is not enough time. If you have a dream of building your own business empire, start now. Although it may be different from person to person, the MM program can help you gain some essential skills in order to achieve your entrepreneurial dream. As I always mumble to myself, “know thyself” and follow your heart.

–  Terry Shin

BLACKMERLE

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

And the Gold Medal Goes to…Everybody!

The job hunt is important to all of us for some reason or another. Maybe it’s student loans waiting to bite back, wanting to move on from student life, or even just anxiety. In the MM program, there are 50 other bright students trying to figure it out along with you and we’re all more than happy to help each other out. We get a lot of coaching and help from the BCC (Business Career Centre), but I think as students we give each other the best shot of succeeding after graduation.

If we’re all students and we’re all trying to find jobs, how can we possibly be giving each other the best shot for success? At most, each of us only have a few years of experience and we haven’t come from business backgrounds. What can we do for each other?

We support each other and act as a team. Yes, I know this may sound wishy-washy and maybe it’s all the Olympic hype, but please bear with me and let me explain.  We spend a lot of time together in the classroom, in teams, and outside of Sauder. We quickly get to know each other and what types of opportunities each of us might be interested in. This is fantastic because when we’re searching the web for own job hunt, we may not always find something interesting. However, you might find perfect opportunity for one of your classmates. So share it with them. On top of that, a lot of us are trying to enter industries where we may have little experience. With a cohort as diverse as ours, there is always someone to talk to who may have studied or has experience in that area.

I’ll admit when I came into the program I was a bit worried about finding a job after graduation. Now, however, it is more exciting than I ever could have thought and I credit this change to my classmates. Don’t be afraid to ask for help or advice. And remember that even if our destinations aren’t all the same, right now we’re all in the same boat.

 

Blair Reedy