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