News Flash from the 50th Percentile

Hello, I’m Ann Stone, and for those of you who haven’t had me for a class, I’m a lecturer here at Sauder.  

I’m also an MBA graduate of the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan - in the 50th grade percentile of the graduate class.

In my career, I’ve had some pretty cool opportunities to be a business professional.  They include stops as a Vice President at The Coca-Cola Company in Atlanta GA, the Chief Marketing Officer of Church’s Chicken also in Atlanta, GA, the Chief Marketing Officer of Papa Murphy’s Pizza, in Vancouver WA, and a global assignment as VP of Operations and Marketing for International Dairy Queen overseeing activity in all of the countries outside of the US and Canada.

Those are some pretty big roles.  And not once was I ever asked my GPA - including my initial hire as an Assistant Brand Manager at SC Johnson and Son.

There were two things that mattered intensely:  my personal connections, and my own reputation.

Of the roles I listed above three of the four were presented to me as opportunities to pursue through connections I had made in my career.  One was from a co-worker at Coke who I’d hung out with and adored, one was from a headhunter plus charitable organization head who while she certainly had an interest in placing me due to her role knew me best because we’d worked together on fundraisers, and one was from a co-worker from my Pizza Hut days, who thought I was cool from several shared nights of hanging out likely with adult beverages.  None of those folks cared the slightest about my GPA, they cared about how I thought, how I had pursued my business initiatives, and how I had honored and treasured my relationship with them.

Of those roles all of them eventually were determined by my own reputation.  Coke had at the time I joined them a death defying hiring process, but they backed it up with reference checks and conversations with people they knew that I knew.  And the rest since they came from personal referrals had a bedrock of knowledge about what I’d done and how I’d behaved with the folks who recommended me.

So let’s apply that to your experience at Sauder.  

Are you making time to build relationships that matter?

Are you learning the material completely and in-depth from your amazing professors so that you can deliver outstanding on-the-job performance?

Are you the very best team member you could possibly be in every single team?

Are you pushing yourself to learn above and beyond course outlines, tapping into resources through your professors, other classmates, the David Lam Library, and the outstanding UBC resources?

Because if you aren’t you’re missing the point of being here.  

If you’re worried about your grades, there is only one situation that should matter: when the grade you are assigned mathematically doesn’t follow from the graded coursework.  After that point, it is what it is.  What you’re here to learn - and the reason you’re spending the money for a residence based MBA - is from the people, building relationships and pushing yourself to gather in everything you possibly can.  And when I mean “in” I mean into your head, yes, but heart and soul as well.

Grades matter only as a measure of particular point in time about a particular topic.  Learning and relationships matter a lifetime.  Focus on the latter, and if my career is any indication, there is no stopping how far you can go.

By Ann Stone

 

New to Vancouver?

Don’t know where to go or what to do? Look no further! Here’s a list of the best things to do in this beautiful city:

Downtown Vancouver

Downtown Vancouver

1)     Visit Stanley Park
There’s a lot to do in Stanley Park, like walking or biking along the seawall, grabbing a bite to eat, taking a tour of the park on a house-drawn carriage, visiting the Vancouver Aquarium, or observing the wildlife.

2)     Go for a hike
There are hundreds of hiking trails in British Columbia, ranging from an hour to a few days long, and many of them are very close to the city. Witness beautiful waterfalls and breathtaking views while doing your body good.

3)     Get out in the water
Vancouver is home to nine beaches, many with volleyball nets, running and biking routes, park benches, barbeques, washrooms and restaurants. Some of the most popular beaches include Jericho, English Bay and Kits Beach. While busiest in the summer months, people enjoy the beach areas year round.

4)     Visit the Art Gallery
Visit a contemporary or historical exhibition at the Vancouver Art Gallery. Take a tour or explore on your own, and save room to eat at the Gallery Café. 

5)     Try a new brunch spot
Vancouver has a lot of yummy places to have brunch, especially on the weekends!

6)     Have a wild night out
Vancouver has a few ‘hot spots’ for nightlife. The Granville strip has the most nightclubs and lounges, and some of the roads are often closed off to allow foot traffic only. Other popular areas include chic Yaletown, old school Gastown, and hipster Main Street.

7)     Go to a festival or fair
Vancouver is home to all kinds of festivals and events, ranging from farmer’s markets to music festivals, as well as arts and crafts fairs and plays like the ones at Bard on the Beach.

8)     Visit a food truck
Food trucks have blown up in Vancouver and there are so many to choose from. If you want to try them all, visit the Food Cart Fest that happens weekly in the summer.

9)     Watch a Canucks home game
Like in other Canadian cities, Vancouverites are passionate about their hockey. Join the boisterous crowd at Rogers Arena and watch the Canucks take on another NHL team. Don’t forget to wear Canucks colours!

10)  Visit Granville Island
Granville Island is known for its fresh food market, as well as its galleries, theatres, restaurants and shops. Add to the fun and take the Aqua Bus there!

We hope you’ve found this list useful. Now get out there and enjoy all that Vancouver has to offer! 

By Yasmin Iqbal

My Experience Coming to the Sauder MBA From Chile

New country, new language, new friends, new home. And the best is yet to come ...

I am one of five Chilean students who are studying in an exchange program between Sauder and the University of Chile. We belong to a singular MBA whose selection is based on diversity, meritocracy and excellence, where the focus is centred on globalization and the opportunities and challenges that this phenomenon has brought both the economy and society in general. Not only do we see it in the classroom, we also live it. Each student chooses a country and a university to spend half of the program, about 8 months, including USA, England, Australia, South Korea, China (Hong Kong) and, of course, Canada.

In my case, the decision was not easy. All countries represented an opportunity to experience another culture and learn from it; however, Canada represented a multicultural country, strong environmental awareness and a high quality of life.

While the final decision date neared, the University of British Columbia was closing an agreement with the University of Chile to make the first generation of students participate in the Full Time MBA at Sauder. There was nothing else to consider ... to Vancouver we go!

I remember the nervousness when the day to leave came. Say goodbye to my host family and close friends and go out of my comfort zone. I had a job that I loved with smart and kind co-workers and good job prospects. In fact, all of my life was going well and maybe I could have had a great life back home but I was looking for an experience to shake things up and something to inspire me to do more and challenge myself so I decided to venture to another country very different from my own where it would be a new country, new people, new language and new home. My last day in Chile was a mixture of fear and anxiety of what was to come. In the airport, all of those close to me were saying “Good luck!” and the last hug was from my mother who told me "I just hope you bring what you were looking for." And when I get tired or overwhelmed that sentence makes me echo ... what did I come for?

I got to Vancouver in early January and the first thing I saw was a beautiful view of the city below and amazing mountains that made me remember the mountains in Santiago. I thought “this is a good sign”. My first day was really difficult and I got a headache in the afternoon because my 5 senses were paying attention to classes, new faces and names (with their pronunciations), new surroundings and classrooms, the time difference in Chile and other countries where my family and friends are. Even now I have to deal with issues in ordering and sometimes receive something different because the employee didn't understand me. But I am not alone in this, all my Chilean classmates who have also come to Sauder have to deal with these things and we have been here to support each other. Not only the people in Vancouver, also the other chilean classmates around the world and I are continuously  talking about the new realities in our corresponding countries.

When you make the decision to undertake this kind of challenge you usually try to cover the maximum of variables: a stable country, interesting city to explore, an excellent university and a challenging school of business. But my experience here has been more than just being in a great country, listening to great teachers, enjoying excellent facilities and high demand learning, it has been a gift for me. It has been the opportunity to meet amazing and very diverse people who have shown me another reality, people who have shown me how to see the world differently, in a more inclusive and open manner that recognizes not only the value of the place where I was born but universal values. I can recognize the tolerance and respect when one partner takes the time to listen to me waiting until I find the words in English. The fellowship when a friend is worried because I have not found a place to live and help me find it. Empathy when someone invites you to share a beer only to know how life is going for you.

A brunch with some of the Sauder MBA ladies at Chambar restaurant

A brunch with some of the Sauder MBA ladies at Chambar restaurant

Undoubtedly, the level of classes and quality of the teachers are great but where I have learned the most is from my classmates. In each class I am glad to listen to the people from different areas or industries that share their perspectives about many subjects. Off campus, I have observed and learned many opinions and concerns from people in my class and it is very heartwarming to realize that they are all varied and similar at the same time. We already have a lot of stories of sharing beers, playing soccer or just laughing in the study rooms and the best is to come!

And when I eventually return to Chile, I'll tell my Mother "I bring a lot more than I imagined"

                                                                     A typical Sauder classroom

                                                                     A typical Sauder classroom

                               Exploring the campus

                               Exploring the campus

By Valentina Suárez Ortega

 

The Secret to Networking: Never Network

It may not seem so at first, but after a couple terms in graduate school “networking” becomes a dirty word. It’s something that takes you away from your assignments and internship applications. After countless BCC events and conversations with alumni, Sauder friendly businesses and school representatives, the whole thing may seem tedious, but it doesn’t have to be.

Networking can be a constantly inspiring experience if you just stop networking. Instead, keep these suggestions in mind. You may find that not only are you collecting leads, but you are making friends and creating a strong business network as well.

Ask About Them

Networking is most interesting to me because I am far more interested in what other people are doing with their time than what I’m doing with my own. You could be at any event in Vancouver with a healthcare professional, a politician, an artist, and of course a handful of engineers. Ask them what they are up to.

What you’ll inevitably find are commonalities that will allow you to build a deeper relationship than just a, “What do you do, now let me tell you about me.” Ask follow up questions to gain a deeper understanding. If you’re completely uninterested, thank them for the chat and move on. The fake going to the washroom move is a classic.

Don’t Force It

If things aren’t going well, laugh about it. It’s better to call out the elephant in the room and say a situation is awkward than trying to salvage something that is not salvageable. Did you accidentally insult them? Thank them for their time and walk away. Are you unbelievably uninterested in what they do? Thank them for their time and walk away. If you’re wasting your time, you’re wasting their time.

The one thing to remember here though is that leads come in all shapes and sizes. Your kindness to someone who is uncomfortable or doesn’t engage well can go a long way. Someone’s brother’s cousin’s wife is busy getting someone a job at the most amazing firm in town, make that person you.

A Favour is Always Better to Give

The strongest connections I have forged are the ones where instead of asking for something, I’m giving something. Being a connector feels good and allows you to pay it forward, even if you never get it in return. Many times you won’t have anything to offer, but when you do make it count. The next time you ask that person to connect you to someone they know, they’ll be more than happy to. They know you create value.

Be Yourself

If you are not super slick suit person, don’t worry about it. Be professional. Be kind. Be your best self, but be yourself. If you aren’t into sports, don’t fake it. If math is anathema to you, don’t pretend to know what someone is talking about. Take the opportunity to acknowledge the other person’s expertise and try to shift the conversation to another area that you might have more experience and more to talk about.

Networking can be wildly fun when you look at it as building connections to humans instead of trolling for a job. Continuously building your network will be far more beneficial in the long run than cramming when you need an internship, so get out there. Buy someone coffee. Buy someone a beer. Get to know the community in Vancouver.

By Caty Tedman

Global Immersion Experience 2015: India

Our trip started on a Friday at YVR Airport. It felt weird that we would be spending 3 weeks far far away with these people I had met less than 7 months ago.

To get to Bangalore (south of India), the four of us on my flight had to stop in China and Delhi. We had decided to stay in a hotel close to the airport in Delhi just to have a rejuvenating sleep, a quick shower and some breakfast. We didn’t have any of those; our hotel selection was, to say it nicely, quite poor. Communications were far from easy.

The initial cultural shock passed and we managed to get on our flight the next morning. After a few hours we met the rest of our group (~35 people) in our hotel in Bangalore. I just couldn’t believe that I was meeting those thirty-something people I saw everyday in Vancouver, but now on the opposite side of the world, literally. We were in India!

We kicked off the Global Immersion Experience with a visit to the International Institute of Management-Bangalore (IIM-B), a local business school. There we had a conference about India’s current economic challenges and advantages with one former Secretary of State. Afterwards, we started working on a case competition in teams of Sauder and IIM-B students. It is fun (and tiring) to try to come up with your best ideas to eradicate childhood malnutrition after 23 hours of flight and killer jet lag.

Before we left for India we were divided into 7 teams that would work on specific projects with 4 different companies and organizations in India. The next 2 days each team visited the company they were assigned to.  

Mehndi tattoos we received at one of our visits to Vidya

Mehndi tattoos we received at one of our visits to Vidya

I had the fortune of working with Vidya, an organization that helps underprivileged children, young students and women to develop and increase their chances of a better life. In the children’s school, where Vidya teaches English and computer skills, we heard some success stories and had the opportunity to meet and play with the children. I was amazed to hear that most of them had a job in the mornings before coming to school and another job in the evenings to support their families. At Vidya’s women’s center we had the chance to meet the wonderful women that were part of the program. All of them had gone through very tough life experiences. But on the other hand, all of them were growing stronger, becoming more skilled and getting ready to tackle the difficulties they faced and pursuing their life projects. We had an incredibly touching experience that day.

Abhishek and 2 of his friends in VIdya's childrens program

Abhishek and 2 of his friends in VIdya's childrens program

In the days that followed we had several interesting visits: 

  • The state of the art campus at Infosys that receives more than 26,000 employees everyday;
  • Tech Mahindra, a global player in the technology and business support industry; and
  • Ogilvy India, where the marketing communications giant customizes its global campaigns to every market their clients reach.

Our group at Infosys

Our group at Infosys

One particularly interesting organization we visited was Akshaya Patra. This foundation was established 15 years ago and fed 1,500 children every day. Today, it provides full meals, every weekday, to more than 1.4 million children (4% of Canada’s population… daily!). Their industrial kitchen in Bangalore, next to the Sri Radha Krishna Temple, ships more than 150,000 full meals tp underprivileged children daily.

Patients waiting at the Aravind Eye Clinic

Patients waiting at the Aravind Eye Clinic

In the middle of our trip we traveled 450km to the south of India to a city called Madurai. There we had the opportunity to witness firsthand what we had read in one of the first case studies we completed at UBC: the amazing work of the Aravind Eye Care Sytstem. Aravind was founded in 1976 by Dr. Govindappa Venkataswamy (known as Dr. V) starting with only 11 beds and 3 doctors. Today, Aravind runs paid and free service hospitals in 6 different cities of India, handles nearly 3 million patients and performs more than 350,000 surgeries each year. The spirit and vision of Dr. V is present in every room and hallway at Aravind. Doctors, sisters (nurses) and volunteers work hard everyday, with the best imaginable attitude, to reach Dr. V’s dream of eradicating needless blindness.

Ceiling of the Great Temple of Madurai

Ceiling of the Great Temple of Madurai

By Eduardo Ponce

Tips for the MBA program - How to thrive in the 16 months ahead

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As you begin your journey in the MBA program, I am taken back to my first year of the MBA program. It was an exciting time and I would like to share some tips with you to making the most out of the next 16 months.  

  1. Stay Organized

    You will be juggling A LOT throughout the program, so stay organized.  Utilize you calendar as much as possible and time block meetings and even how long you plan to spend on each assignment.
     
  2. See the Big Picture

    Don’t get hung up on the small details and remember to always take a step back and see the big picture.  You will be given so much work in the program that it is impossible to give 100% on everything, prioritize where you want to spend your time and why.
     
  3. Network, Network, Network

    The MBA program offers you a lot of amazing opportunities to get out and network.  Take advantage of these opportunities and build your skills and grow your network.
     
  4. Build Relationships

    Take time to build meaningful relationships with your classmates, they will likely be your most important network upon graduation.  Also, take time to learn from each of their unique backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives.
     
  5. Have Fun

    The program goes REALLY fast.  Be sure to balance all of your hard work with also enjoying the wonderful city you will be living in.

Enjoy the year ahead,

Lynnfield Mitchell

University of British Columbia: Sauder Business School - Finance Club

Written by Gabi Champagne | MBA Clubs | Monday 19th May 2014 10:25:00 GMT Finance Club President discusses the best place to invest your money

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Jay Rhind, President of the Finance Club at Sauder Business School

 

Jay Rhind, previously an Investment Banker and now President of the Finance Club at Sauder Business School, talks about Finance as it is coming out of a recession, and what as a result is the best thing to do with your money.

What are your club’s big initiatives?

The UBC MBA finance club has had five major initiatives this past year: (i) provide students with practical skills to compliment the mostly theoretical lecture-based material taught in class, (ii) introduce students to portfolio management via an investopedia portfolio competition, (iii) provide mentoring/interview preparation for students applying for jobs in the finance sector, (iv) provide information on professional designations that are considered an asset in the finance industry, and; (v) provide small-scale networking events with local finance professionals.

 

Who is the most exciting speaker you have had this year?

The Sauder School of business puts on regular speaker series referred to as the “Dean’s Speaker Series”, which all finance club members are encouraged to attend and discuss post lecture. One of the most thought-provoking speakers was Dominic Barton - the Global Managing Director of McKinsey. Dominic prefaced his conversation by requesting that none of what he said be re-printed, I will honour that request but provide you with my favourite quote (paraphrased) from his talk: “you should go through life with a microscope in one eye and a telescope in the other”. Dominic attributed this quote to the late Jim Flaherty. The quote has relevance for the finance sector; where public companies can become myopically focused on quarter/quarter expectation driven results while losing sight of long-term strategy.

 

What is the best asset class to invest, in the current global situation? (Equities, bonds, commodities, cash, antiques, wines and commercial property?)

The answer to this question undoubtedly is – it depends. It depends on personal situations and accessibility of investment options. The majority of retail investors have access to stocks, bonds, and commodities. Alternative investments such as: collectables, real estate, and accredited investor products (ie. Private equity, hedge funds, VC funds, etc) – are available to only a small proportion of the investing public. In the current global situation of an unknown fallout from “shadow banking” concerns in China, turmoil in Russia and Ukraine, fragile and demographically un-balanced recovery in Europe, and a US bull market passing its fifth year - its hard for an investor to sift through the information to make a prudent investment decision. Recall the Jim Flaherty quote “go through life with a microscope in one eye and a telescope in the other”. The near term headwinds are personally concerning to me, the long-term looks assuredly positive. The “pivot to Asia” and “shift to Africa” motions are well underway in the former and in the early stages for the latter. These transitions are believed to include 100x the people and occur 10x faster than the Industrial Revolution. To make “telescope” based investment decisions keep the following driving forces in mind: (i) the rise of emerging markets, (ii) resource scarcity, (iii) massive urbanization – the largest migration the world has ever seen, and; (iv) population growth.

 

Have the financiers learnt the lessons of the financial crisis of the last six years?

Yes and No. Once again it depends on location. If we are talking about North American based investment banks, new regulation and capital requirements under Basel III have limited certain “risky” operations while providing more protection to the downside. That is not to say all risk has been mitigated, as the JPM London Whale fiasco has proven, banks remain difficult to regulate. The oft touted “too big to fail” may be one issue, the other may well be “too big to regulate”. With respect to other jurisdictions, China appears to be entering a situation that may feel similar to some market-watchers from the 2007 era. The rise of shadow banking and a housing market many experts are anticipating will crash leaving many home-owners underwater on their mortgage. However, China is not the US and has many unique considerations. For example, China’s largest banks, by assets, are state owned enterprises – which brings a whole new twist to the “too big to fail” discussion, try “too connected to fail”.

 

Is the CAPM still the Holy Grail for understanding risk and return on investment assets?

The CAPM is still taught and used to estimate the equity cost of capital. The component parts of the CAPM model – risk free rate, Beta and equity risk premium – are areas that are misused and remain moderately subjective. Whether one uses a regression-based beta, a “raw beta” as posted by Bloomberg, or a bottom-up approach to calculating Beta can have a large impact on the calculated cost of equity. Likewise the method for calculating the equity risk premium remains varied in practice, do you use: an Ibottson or Duff & Phelps ERP report, a long term geometric average of the market return, or an average of the market return using a truncated historical period? All of these considerations leave the CAPM open to multiple interpretations. Furthermore, what you use the CAPM for is important. For the purpose of equity valuation the following models are important: (i) FCFE DCF, (ii) Adjusted present value (“APV”), and; (iii) Real options.

 

Would the financial markets need regulation if financial institutions were allowed to fail whenever they made catastrophic mistakes?

The short answer is yes. To me the argument falls on a misalignment of incentives between stockholders and management. The argument goes something like this: in an unregulated environment senior executives, with significant upside potential from options, would make risky business decisions because the upside potential is a large payoff while the downside is small in comparison. A good historical example of a large bank that aligned management with shareholder interests is the Medici Bank (a 14th century Italian bank). Each bank branch was its own entity with managers of that branch owning equity in it. This proved valuable for two reasons: (i) managers engagement and attention to risk/reward scenarios was prudently assessed as they were meaningfully impacted by each decision, and (ii) the parent company, the Medici Bank, had protection to the downside as each branch operated as its own entity and one fail did not have a material impact on the firm. In today’s banking world, my belief is that regulation is needed to protect all stakeholders.

 

References:

http://www.businessbecause.com/news/mba-clubs/2554/sauder-business-shcool-finance-club

 

MBA Clubs: Sauder School Of Business – Natural Resources Club

Written by Gabi Champagne | MBA Clubs | Thursday 31st July 2014 11:43:00 GMT Canada is a resource-based economy and Vancouver is a hub for mining and forestry – ideal ground for Sauder's Natural Resources Club.

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Water Scarcity: Natural resources in Vancouver Island in Canada, UBC's base

Brett Hannigan, president of the Sauder School of Business’ Natural Resources Club at the University of British Columbia, explains why he thinks water is the most important natural resource.

He also explains the benefits of being part of the MBA Society at Sauder’s Robert H. Lee Graduate School, for those with a strong interest in the natural resources sector.

What are the club’s main aims?

The club aims to educate its members, and provide opportunities to meet and interact with industry professionals. Many UBC MBAs aspire to work in the resource sector, as Canada is a resource-based economy and Vancouver is a hub for mining and forestry, and has a fast developing liquefied natural gas industry.

Club members also have the opportunity to participate in a natural resource mentorship program – the Natural Resources Group – where they are paired with Sauder alumni working in the industry. The program teaches students how best to prepare for a career in that sector, and provides an opportunity to connect with potential employers.

Who is the most exciting speaker you’ve had this year?

Tim Vipond, a former investment banker and currently an analyst at Goldcorp, a global gold mining company based out of Vancouver. He taught a one-day course on mining valuation that involved working through a mining acquisition opportunity.

In addition to teaching the fundamentals of financial modelling, the course revealed factors that have the most impact on a potential mining investment, such as commodity price, grade, recovery, taxes, royalties, mine life and rehabilitation costs.

This course was an excellent opportunity for students to look at how mining companies assess potential M&A opportunities, and put our coursework into practice.

What aspect of the natural resource sector should people be keeping an eye on?

Despite Canada’s abundance of water it is becoming increasingly scarce in many parts of the world, and upping its importance is key.

Not only necessary for human consumption, it is a key ingredient in both the mining and oil and gas sectors, as it is used in drilling, mineral processing, oil refining and the production of bitumen using steam-assisted gravity drainage.

Balancing the needs of people and industry is difficult, and the scarcity of water is a serious issue. The impact of how this natural resource sector is managed could be far-reaching given its widespread uses.

What do you think is the most efficient form of renewable energy, and why?

The most efficient form of renewable energy right now is geothermal. Initial costs associated with installation can be high, but the energy savings are enormous. Geothermal plants produce a fewer amount of greenhouse gases relative to fossil fuel plants, and the water used to extract heat from the Earth can be recycled.

Geothermal energy does have its limitations, namely cost and geographic barriers, but it is efficient and constant.

When will we have to decide which renewable resources to use before the non-renewable resources run out?

I believe that we still have a long time before non-renewable resources are depleted. Efficient technology is making it possible to access and extract non-renewable resources from unconventional settings that we wouldn’t have dreamt possible 50 or 100 years ago.

As non-renewable resources become increasingly scarce, we can expect the price of these resources to increase – if there is appropriate demand. Increasing prices will cause currently uneconomic renewable resources to become economic.

Further advancements in technology may also lead to new discoveries. Although I don’t think a decision is imminent in my lifetime, it is important that we continue to use and develop renewable resources, and reduce our dependence on non-renewable resources.

References:

http://www.businessbecause.com/news/mba-clubs/2644/mba-clubs-sauder-natural-resources-club

 

MBA Clubs: Sauder School Of Business - Women in Business Club

Written by Gabi Champagne | MBA Clubs | Wednesday 16th July 2014 11:37:00 GMT Swetha Kola, president of UBC Sauder's Women in Business Club, reveals that the school's most successful female alumnus is Belinda Wong, president of Starbucks China.

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Swetha Kola, president of Sauder's Women in Business Club

 

Swetha Kola, who worked for Google and was revolutionising the non-profit sector in India, is now president of the Women in Business Club at the Sauder School of Business, University of British Columbia.

In this interview she explains why women are not proportionately represented in leadership roles – and how she is helping to change this. Swetha also tells us about one of Sauder’s most inspirational female alumni members, Belinda Wong, president of Starbucks China, who brought the brand into the country.

What are your club’s main aims this year?

To inspire women to aspire for leadership positions. We would like to normalize women’s leadership in business and other spheres.

Based in Sauder’s Robert H. Lee Graduate School, the UBC MBA Women in Business Club is building a network that includes members of the club, our classmates and alums, to support one another and be a source of strength throughout our lives and careers.

We are also hoping to reach out to younger women aspiring to careers in business to make them more comfortable with the notion of leadership, and support them with mentoring.

What proportion of women at Sauder are members of your club?

Every female student of our UBC MBA class is a member of the club. At the same time, we are happy that the men in the class also play an active role, contributing their ideas and support. I like that about our class. Everyone is progressive in their thoughts and actions.

What were you doing pre-MBA?

I had a leadership role in the non-profit sector, working to transform the concept of volunteering to make it more a mainstream value in India. I graduated in arts and humanities, started my career at Google in Hyderabad and then moved into the non-profit sector, leveraging the potential of youth to empower children at orphanages.

Who is your most successful alumnus from Sauder?

Personally, I have huge respect for people who are able to leverage their knowledge and experience on a global scale. One such alumnus is Belinda Wong, who is now the president of Starbucks China. She grew up in Hong Kong, moved to Canada, studied business at Sauder and transferred that management learning to launch one of North America’s most successful brands in her home market.

Who is the most exciting speaker you’ve had this year?

More broadly at Sauder, we were excited by quite a few great speakers who visited Sauder, including: Thom Lachman, president of Procter & Gamble; Dominic Barton, global managing director of McKinsey & Co; Anna Hazare, world-renowned Indian social activist; and Sir Roger Penrose, mathematical physicist and philosopher.

Another who inspired our members of the Women in Business Club was Shauna J. Wilton. At the time she visited us, she was HR director of CHC Helicopters. She spoke brilliantly about her foray into the business world, the challenges she faced in her male-dominated workplace in the 1990s, and the rich variety of work she has encountered.

She shared her experiences of being the only woman in a number of situations during her illustrious career, and gave advice on how to become the best at your job by introspecting – identifying and honing those unique things that set you apart.

Why do you think women are not proportionately represented 50/50 on company boards and in senior management teams?

There are many factors that are at play. However, the good news is that most of those factors can be overcome with effort.

It needs attention from grassroots-level monitoring – every step from academic training to professional life, right from the shift in the mind-set to opening up opportunities and requisite training. A lot of work is to be done.

Companies who are creating policies to provide flexibility to women and men for their family responsibilities are doing it right. I think the ongoing research that is bringing to light the direct and tangible advantage of having women on company boards and senior management is definitely one way to motivate more and more people to pause and consciously give this issue the attention it deserves.

Having senior managers be more proactive in mentoring younger women to nurture their talent is another positive step in the right direction.

At Sauder a new professorship has been created, which will be taken on by Jennifer Berdahl, an international leader in the study of gender and ethnicity in organizations. She will lead research and develop programming specifically to address the need for equity in the senior ranks of business and beyond. I see this as a very positive step forward.

 

References:

http://www.businessbecause.com/news/mba-clubs/2604/mba-clubs-sauder-school-of-business-women-in-business-club

Top Ten Things to See and Do in Vancouver

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Hello Class of 2016 and welcome to the Sauder School of Business MBA program and also to the beautiful city of Vancouver.  My name is Lynnfield Mitchell and I am a second year student in the MBA program specializing in Business Innovation and Entrepreneurship.  I have also lived in Vancouver for the past 5 years.  Being quite familiar with the area and also being someone who is always out and about, I have been asked to give you all some interesting insights as to what to see, what to do, and where to eat, etc. in Vancouver. Lynnfield

So, without further ado, here is my list of…

Top Ten Things To See and Do in Vancouver

  1. Seawall and Stanley Park

When I think of Vancouver, the first thing that pops into my mind is the Seawall.  This is a 22 km long path that lines Vancouver’s waterfront and acts as the perimeter to Stanley Park, which is Vancouver’s largest park with 400 hectares.  The Seawall offers two lanes, one for walking or jogging and the other for biking, rollerblading, skateboarding etc.  There is nothing more amazing then going for a seaside walk with friends around the seawall, and especially the 8.8km section that surrounds Stanley Park.  Be sure to pack a picnic and relax in Stanley Park afterwards.  Other Stanley Park highlights include Movie in the Park that takes place every Tuesday evening in July and August playing movies outside for free.  Additionally, many amazing concerts are held in Stanley Park, which makes for an amazing outdoor venue.

http://vancouver.ca/parks-recreation-culture/seawall.aspx

http://vancouver.ca/parks-recreation-culture/stanley-park.aspx

 

  1. Hit the Beach

Vancouver isn’t Vancouver without hitting the beach as much as possible during the summertime.  There are so many beaches to choose from and every one has its certain charm.  My favorites are 3rd beach, Jericho and Spanish Banks, Wreck Beach, and the Dog Beach (Hadden Dog Park).

3rd Beach, located in Stanley Park, offers a really beautiful and serene beach perfect for families and picnics.  It also offers temperate waters perfect for swimming.

Jericho Beach and Spanish Banks, which are both fairly close to UBC, offer clean beaches, BBQ facilities, beach volleyball, and concession stands.  These are great spots to meet up with friends and enjoy a BBQ together.

Wreck Beach, another favorite, is located right on UBC Campus making it really convenient.  This is Vancouver’s ONLY clothing optional beach, so if you’re feeling adventurous check it out.  The people watching here is pretty amazing and you’ll be really surprised to see how many different sports people can play naked! It also offers a lot of great vendors and concession stands during peak season.  Be prepared to get your exercise here though because there are A LOT of steep stairs to get down to the beach and after a relaxing day in the sun, these can be quite challenging on the way back up.

Finally, my # 1 beach of all is the Dog Beach (Hadden Dog Park) because I have a 10mth old puppy.  This beach is one of the only beaches in Vancouver where dogs are allowed off leash.  It makes for such a wonderful environment for your pets to socialize, swim, and tire themselves out.  All the people who frequent this beach are really friendly and it makes for a very welcoming community.

http://vancouver.ca/parks-recreation-culture/beaches.aspx

http://www.wreckbeach.org

http://vancouver.ca/parks-recreation-culture/hadden-park-dog-park.aspx

 

  1. Eat Somewhere Amazing

In Vancouver, we are very fortunate to have some of the best eats around.  With a very multi-cultural city, you can get your hands on just about any type of food you desire.

In November, during our Creativity Class, I wrote a Food Blog for my final project called Lynnfield Eats Everything.  Here I challenged my classmates to join me as guest judges at 15 different restaurants, over 15 days, each for under $15.  Feel free to check it out for great restaurant ideas.

http://blogs.ubc.ca/lynnfieldeatseverything/

My Favorite Vancouver Restaurants Are:

Red Wagon: amazing diner style brunch food

http://www.redwagoncafe.com

Nicili Antica Pizzeria: authentic Napoletana pizza

http://www.niclipizzeria.ca

Bao-Bei: Asian sharing plates

http://bao-bei.ca

Les Faux Bourgeois: awesome French cuisine

http://www.lesfauxbourgeois.com

Toshi’s: my pick for best sushi in Vancouver

 

  1. Hike the Chief

Hiking the Chief in Squamish is another favorite pastime for Vancouverites.  Located approximately 1hr. from Vancouver, this hike boasts some of the most breathtaking views from the top.  This hike takes approximately 3 hrs. round trip and requires a lot of physical exertion, so if you’re looking for a leisurely hike, this isn’t it! Ladders, chains, stairs, rocks, all make up the steep and advanced hike, but all the hard work pays off when you look out over beautiful Squamish at the top.

http://squamishhiatus.com/squamishhikes/thestawamuschief.html

 

  1. Granville Island

Granville Island is a great place to spend an afternoon and somewhere that everyone visiting Vancouver should check out at least once.  Located under the Granville Bridge, Granville Island offers an eclectic community of artists, galleries, theatres, restaurants, studios, cafes, and one of the most amazing food markets. Walk around and check out some of the awesome vendors, have lunch on the pier, and  shop for dinner at the market.  If your feeling like trying something new, rent a paddle board and take a tour of False Creek by board.

http://granvilleisland.com/

 

  1. Ski or Snowshoe the Local Mountains.

Vancouver is totally spoiled having 3 local mountains in our backyard (Grouse, Cypress and Seymour).  Skiing or snowboarding a local mountain is a must during your time in Vancouver.  Or if you want something a little more relaxing rent snow shoes and take a winter walk through some of the amazing trails.

https://www.grousemountain.com

http://cypressmountain.com

http://www.mountseymour.com/

 

  1. Go Sailing

I have just taken up sailing this year through the MBA Sailing Club.  I am loving the experience and I highly recommend all of you take part in the Sailing Regatta at the beginning of the year, it's the best opportunity to network with your new classmates and 2nd years.   If you enjoy your time on the boat, definitely sign up for the MBA Sailing Club where you will learn everything you need to know about sailing, plus there’s a Regatta in Italy that we take part in.

 

  1. Visit Whistler

Whistler in our little mountain resort community that serves as a great weekend getaway from Vancouver.  Just 2-3 hours from Vancouver, Whistler boasts Whistler Blackcomb Mountain, which is one of the best ski hills in Canada.  Whistler also offers an amazing town filled with wonderful shopping, excellent dining, and great lakes and hikes surrounding the town.  My favorite place to check out, when I’m not skiing the slopes, is the Scandinaive Spa, which features an outdoor circuit of hot and cold pools making for an oh-so-relaxing experience.

http://www.whistler.ca/

http://www.scandinave.com/en/whistler/spa-resort-experience/

 

  1. Shopping

Vancouver offers some excellent and very diverse shopping depending on the area you visit.

Robson Street and Pacific Center (downtown) offer all of your big name brands (The Bay, Holt Renfrew, Club Monaco, Zara, Gap, Apple, Top Shop, J. Crew etc.).  You can do the bulk of your clothing shopping here.

South Granville, located on Granville Street between 16th Ave and West Broadway offers a wide variety of shoe stores, high fashion brands, and several home interior brands (Anthropologie, James Perse, William Sonoma, Pottery Barn etc.).

Main Street and Gastown both offers a lot of unique, hipster-inspired, boutiques.  These are great areas to check out when thrift or vintage shopping for both clothing and home furnishings.

 

10. Take a Yoga Class

Vancouver is has a huge yoga culture inspired by the fact that we place a high importance on health and fitness and also because Lululemon (the largest yoga apparel retailer in the world) was founded here.  My favorite class in all of Vancouver is the Moksha Music class at Moksha Yoga.  This class offers one hour of hot yoga (room heated to 40 degrees) with live musicians serenading you while you sweat.  Another popular brand of yoga in Vancouver is YYoga, which offers excellent facilities and locations all across Vancouver.

http://vancouver.mokshayoga.ca

Design Thinking - Passes the Test

By Haley Shoemaker During our trip to Singapore, I was assigned to work and research the Retail Industry.  The most valuable insight about the industry came from our group sessions at Accenture because of the new mediums that the Accenture consultants showed to our class.  Accenture used Design Thinking techniques, which we have used throughout our MBA but until Accenture’s workshop I had never seen how valuable these tools truly are.

sing1

The Accenture room that our sessions were held in looked like a giant shell, with entrance and an exit on either end of the shell.  The walls were all painted using paint that worked as white board and we could draw all over all the walls in the room.  It seemed like a cross between a futuristic business and a child’s playground.  Throughout our time there, we were encouraged to map out our ideas visually on the walls and on various screens and projectors throughout the room.

One of the most interesting activities was our Retail industry group had to make predictions as to where we see the industry going in the future based on new technology.  Our group focused on the clothing industry, so some of the conclusions that we came to were that the industry will use data from purchasing history, facial recognition and their information from various social media platforms, to target advertisements right to customers.  Also because the stores will have increased knowledge about customers, they will be able to make customers feel as though they have a personal stylist as they are shopping.

Our team came to these conclusions by starting with technology on one end of the wall and drawing out the effects that it could have on the industry, using a Design Thinking layout.  This process, in conjunction with my team, taught me the benefits of thinking visually and put a creative spin on our project.

The Singapore team

On the plane ride back, I picked up the latest copy of Elle Magazine and read an article called Brave New Store, by Maggie Bullock who discusses the latest trends for the retail industry.  I can proudly say that our Accenture retail group was spot on, and the techniques that they taught us, pushed us to see what was happening in the industry, although none of us are currently working in retail.  The article discussed how stores are using purchasing history from credit cards and facial recognition to create the smartest and most highly advanced stores in the world.  Brands are also growing stronger using this technology and gain more insight into their target market.

 

Originally posted on C-Lab Project.

Networking Breakfast

by Stephanie Claggett I must admit that networking is not my cup of tea. Unfortunately - or fortunately - for me, we've been doing a lot of it recently. We got a small warm-up with alumni on our last career centre day. Two days later, we had the Leaders Reception, a fancy event in a beautiful location (the fabulous Terminal City Club!), where we got to meet business leaders from all over the community. We also had the pleasure of hearing an inspirational speech from Christine Day, the CEO of lululemon, and eating entirely-too-delicious chocolate covered strawberries.

Our most recent event was this morning's breakfast networking reception at the Westin Bayshore. Now, as I said, I am not a fan of networking in the abstract, and I am even less a fan of 7:15 a.m. for any reason, but I was determined to take advantage of this opportunity. Internship season is almost upon us, after all! So I trudged my way through the slush-covered streets at a completely unholy hour of morning, hoping all the way that there would be a cup of coffee at my destination.

Much to my surprise, when I checked in one of the lovely ladies at the BCC had my shiny new name tag for me! To backtrack a little - I had been certain before our first networking event that my name tag was secure in a particular place in my house, but of course the night before I needed it, I couldn't locate it for the life of me. So, for the past two events, I had been managing with a sticker awkwardly placed on my jacket. It only occurred to me yesterday that I could actually order a new name tag! The BCC told me I could pick it up at some point today, and I had resigned myself to another day of stickers, but in yet another instance of things that seem small but make all the difference in the world, my name tag was ready and waiting for me (thanks Carly!)

This may seem silly, but I felt far more confident entering that room with my official Sauder name tag. I felt like I was part of the team, not an interloper who showed up at the last minute. (I am completely convinced, though, that my old name tag is going to resurface within the next week, now that I have acquired a new one.)

Of course, I was still woefully lacking in caffeine, so I made a beeline for the food table. For the first few minutes, I stuck close to my classmates. I knew I should have been getting a head start on meeting people, but I had two very good reasons for avoiding that. First, I was not nearly awake enough at that point to make polite and/or pleasant conversation with people I didn't know. Before I have caffeine in the morning, I can barely string two words together, and chances are those two words are not going to be very nice. Second, I wanted to avoid that awkward moment where you take too large of a bite of food, which inevitably happens just when someone asks you a question.

Finally, armed with my new name tag and a sugar-filled cup of coffee, I wove my way through the multitude of students, both UBC and SFU MBAs, all avidly scanning the room for the best possible connections. As many people probably did, I took a tour of the room, glancing at the company names posted at the various tiny tables before making any conversational commitments.

The members of the business community - or, as we thought of them, the potential employers - were mostly there in twos and threes, and everyone seemed surrounded by a group of eager MBAs. Some groups were certainly more popular than others - the executive recruiters, for one; the big banks; and Clearly Contacts, who the Sauder MBAs as a class worked with earlier in the year.

It was at this point that I got stuck. So many of the companies were financial institutions, which is an excellent thing for my classmates who are specializing in finance. I, however, am focusing on HR, and while there were HR people there, few if any of them were looking for HR interns. Beyond my personal dilemma, too, we all have the same issue: How do we make ourselves stand out? How can we make the five minutes we spend with this person the most memorable conversation they have out of all the dozens of conversations they will be having in that brief two-hour event?

I floundered. Even with two other networking events under my belt, I wasn't sure how to move the conversation beyond talk of the weather (which, to be fair, was very remarkable) and onto talk of business, information gathering, and those elusive internships.

As I said, I am not a natural networker. I am not a natural socializer, for that matter. I generally prefer listening to talking, especially with people I don't know well. I do best with extraverts who, given any topic, will happily carry the conversation with minimal input from me. However, this approach obviously wasn't going to work in this situation.

My solution? To rifle through my collection of stock questions to come up with something interesting to start off a conversation. How is your morning going? Too generic. Have you met any interesting people so far? Good to ask fellow classmates, but not so much for anyone else, and a close-ended question to boot. How was your commute here this morning? Also generic, guaranteed to start a conversation about the weather. How did you get involved with Company X? Aha! A potential winner! It opened the floor for talk about the company, and about the individual and their experiences. Not exactly a great opening line for talking about me and my internship, but that wasn't what I was looking for.

And herein lies my quandary with networking: I hate asking for things. I hate asking for favours. I despise feeling selfish. And networking, especially when we're supposed to be searching for internships, feels inherently self-serving. To be fair, some employers made it very easy. They started off the conversation with 'What are you specializing in?' or even 'We're looking for an intern to do X'. These conversations were easy for me, but also invariably short. They weren't looking for me. They were looking for someone to work in finance, IT, marketing... everything except what I am able to and love to do.

About halfway through the event, I encountered an employer who I thought could be a perfect fit for one of my classmates. After an appropriate wrap-up to our conversation, I immediately grabbed my classmate and dragged him over to this table. At this point, I had a revelation. This event wasn't about me or my fears of social awkwardness. It wasn't about making connections for myself. I could use this event to help other people make the connections they needed to find their internships.

With this in mind, the rest of my conversations became magically easier. I didn't need to wrack my brain for an appropriate segue into me and my life. I could just do what I do best: ask questions, and truly listen to the answers.

Now, is this the perfect solution to my networking dilemmas? Probably not. It is extremely unlikely to find me a job or an internship. And networking is definitely a skill that I need to work on. But in the short term, it helped me find a way through what originally looked like a morass of daunting task after daunting task.

And in the future, I hope it will allow me to look forward to networking events, rather than treating them like nasty but necessary cough medicine.