Tag Archives: Future Students

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

Business for Creatives

I took a different path than most of my cohort did to get to the MM program. I think that my story will help show one of the strengths of the MM program as well as hopefully inspire others to push their boundaries and try to gain new skills, so bear with me for a minute.

When I was a kid, I was never a big fan of school, especially anything that involved numbers. I spent a lot more time playing with cameras and computers than I actually spent paying attention in high school. For the most part, I took the easy route with a singular vision in mind – going to design school. After 3 years studying graphic design at MacEwan University in Edmonton, I graduated with a certificate and a diploma and immediately landed a fantastic internship as a designer in a construction company’s communications department. I’d never seen myself working in an office, but I quickly fell in love with it.

I knew that my new career goals would require more education than a diploma, so the following year I went to Royal Roads University in Victoria and completed my BA in Professional Communication. However, as I was completing my undergraduate degree I felt like something was missing. While I had gained a lot of great skills, I lacked the ability to quantify their value. I also lacked business acumen as well as knowledge of key areas such as commercial law and financial reporting.

I had never taken a single quantitative course in university. With increasingly high aspirations, I knew that I wanted, and needed, more. To make a long story short: I worked my butt off brushing up on my quantitative skills, wrote the GRE, and applied for the MM.

While I had some basic quantitative experience from investing as well as summer jobs in construction, starting the MM three weeks after finishing my undergraduate degree was daunting. The first period included courses in Economics, Statistics, and Financial Accounting. Looking back, I realize what a difficult job the professors had catering the material to a class that ranged from very little to heavy amounts of quantitative experience. One of the great things about the cohort model was that I’ve never been alone. I’ve constantly badgered my classmates for help in my weaker areas (thank you, if you’re reading this) and I was able to push through the courses. Plus, with the exception of a B- in Statistics, I’ve done very well.

Moving forward, I see endless possibilities for my creative background combined with my graduate business training. A lot of employers are seeking well-rounded individuals, which I can now certainly claim to be. While I don’t see myself becoming an accountant or a financial analyst, I have gained confidence and knowledge that helps me communicate with people from various areas of businesses. These skills have already proved invaluable in my conversations with potential employers.

The moral of my story is that you can earn an MM, whether you studied science or art. You can earn an MM even on the off chance that, like me, you haven’t taken a single quantitative undergraduate course. The MM is designed in a way that will help you succeed. All it takes is your dedication and a few late nights. Luckily, your cohort will be right there with you.

– Nick Larson



Location, Location, Location

It’s crazy what can happen in a year isn’t it? This time last year, I was living in a different city, with different friends and learning a completely different subject. Choosing to do a Masters, let alone which school to do it at, isn’t an easy decision and I can’t tell you if the MM program is right for you. Most of our cohort chose the program because we wanted to gain business knowledge to complement our undergrads, shift directions from our undergrads or get a different perspective on management. Yet even with similar intentions, I know our end games will be completely different. So, if you were hoping that I could make your decision easier.. I’m sorry! However, if you are like me and not from Vancouver, part of the MM experience is moving cities. While that can be difficult, this is a great opportunity to live in one of the most beautiful cities in Canada. Here are a few options to consider when moving here:

Apply To Res

Living on campus is probably one of the easier transitions you can make. Living so close saves you time getting to class and most of the residences are pre-furnished, which can save you money on furniture. If you do choose to live in a residence building, remember that there is a possibility that you may have roommates who are not graduate students, but first or second year undergraduate students. Other residence options to consider are the graduate college such as: Green College, St. Johns College or the MBA house. If you do want to live in residence, apply now. Or yesterday. There can be a huge waitlist and it’s first come first serve with applications, which open even before you are accepted (personally I was waitlisted until December and chose not to accept a room at that time). For more information visit UBC’s Website.

Live On Campus

Renting in University Village on campus or in Wesbrook Village is a great option. It’s about a 10-20 minute walk to the Sauder Building or there’s a bus. The area itself has everything you need including coffee, food etc. but if you are one who goes out a lot, UBC is a bit of a journey to get to downtown late at night. Both options can also be a tad expensive with unfurnished studios starting at $1350. If you are looking to live close to school and save a bit of money, consider looking for a roommate posting on Craigslist, and rent a two-bedroom instead.

Live Off Campus

Common areas for students are around Kitsilano, Point Grey, and Dunbar. Other students also live in the Olympic Village and even Downtown. Point Grey has more of a neighbourhood feel and rental options are often in houses, basements or some apartment buildings. Kitsilano is about a 20-minute commute to campus and is close to the beach and shopping on both West 4th Ave and Broadway. Downtown is about a 30-45 minute commute to campus and offers a number of often smaller rental options and lots of activities. The Olympic Village has a great community feel and is made up of newer units, also about a 30-minute commute. Here is a link to a map of all the areas: http://www.vancouveruserguide.com/neighborhood.html

Vancouver is expensive. On average, a shared room will cost approximately $800, Studios: $1000, One Bedrooms: $1250 and Two Bedrooms over $1600, plus utilities and internet. Typically, the further out, the less expensive it will be. Side note: In speaking with classmates, many of us are paying much more than these averages depending on the quality of the unit, expectations and when we signed the lease, but many people found great deals too!

Craigslist is your best option in searching, but be aware of scams, particularly against people from out of town. In my opinion, the most important thing to consider is how long are you willing to commute? One method for searching is to look for locations near express bus route stops. These buses (such as the 99, 84, 44, 258 etc.) have less stops than regular buses, shortening your commute, and they run more frequently in rush hours. For stops closer to UBC, express buses can fill up and pass the stop, so take that into consideration (there’s always regular buses too). Most likely if you are near an express stop, the area will have everything you need such as groceries, take out etc. One last thing to consider, every other student is searching for a place to live starting in September, so if it is at all possible to start your search before that rush, do it!

– Ruth Treasure

Should I Take the GRE or the GMAT?

When thinking about the application process for the MM program one of your key decisions will be whether to take the Graduate Records Exam (GRE) or the Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT). Both tests are standardized testing methods that aim to evaluate your verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, analytical writing and your critical thinking. Your results from one of the tests must be submitted with your application, so let’s try and help you decide which one to take!

The GMAT test is primarily used for graduate programs at business schools such as the MM and MBA programs. The structure of the test is broken down into four sections: verbal, quantitative, analytical writing and integrated reasoning. The GRE is primarily used for graduate and doctoral programs from varying academic disciplines and contains verbal, quantitative and analytical writing sections but does not include the integrated reasoning section found in the GMAT.

The integrated reasoning section is the only major difference in content between the tests. It is a new section on the GMAT that aims to evaluate your ability to evaluate data presented in multiple formats from multiple sources. However, your score on the integrated reasoning section does not contribute to your overall GMAT score. The GRE has an experimental section that could be either verbal or quantitative that tests new questions so therefore is also not part of your overall score. Apart from the content of each test, the total test time is comparable at 3.5 hours for the GMAT and 3.75 hours for the GRE. Your results from both the GRE and the GMAT are valid for 5 years after your test date, but the GRE is cheaper at $195 compared to the GMAT at $250.

The overall perception of the two tests is that the GRE focuses more on vocabulary rather than grammar, the quantitative section is easier and you can use a calculator. However, the best thing to do is to take a practice test of each and see how you score and how you like each test. Pick the one that you think you can improve the most in to reach those goals sooner! Also, it’s also a good plan to think ahead – maybe you’re going to apply to another program after the MM, which also accepts the GRE! Whichever test you pick, the online or in class prep courses give you great study tips and materials to help you reach your desired score. I hope this answers some of those burning questions so you can pick a test and get studying! Good luck!

– Samantha Bisnaire