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As September approaches, thousands of new students will flood the halls of the UBC Sauder School of Business to begin their education. Below, three incoming students share their already-impressive accomplishments and how UBC Sauder will help each of them accomplish their future goals.


Alex Gillis – Bachelor of Commerce Candidate

 

Alex Gillis

 

In 2014, at the age of 15, Alex Gillis launched Bitness—a real-time marketing tool that enables retailers to better understand customer traffic flow and the impact of marketing campaigns. Since then, the talented Halifax student has secured a $50,000 deal from CBC’s Next Gen Den, was named Startup Canada’s Young Entrepreneur of the Year, and received a $100,000 Dobson Loran Award from the Loran Scholars Foundation, co-sponsored by UBC, for his commitment to service and leadership in his community. To top off this incredible list of achievements, Alex and seven other “young Canadian influencers” recently met with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to discuss the future of education.

Up next for the accomplished teen is the Bachelor of Commerce program at the UBC Sauder School of Business—which Alex says will help him not only get the credentials he needs, but also develop that all-important professional network.  

“Some people might think I don’t need a business degree because I’ve already started my own company, but UBC Sauder will help me develop a greater sense of strategy and foresight in my business decisions and planning,” Alex explains. “I think Vancouver will be the next big Canadian business centre, so I’m looking forward to connecting with other inspiring students and building a network of peers, mentors and future associates.”

Although Alex isn’t sure exactly where the next four years will take him, he plans on pursuing his personal motto of allowing “opportunities to take priority.”

“I’m excited to see how my business takes off, but I also want to get involved in the Vancouver community and expand my involvement in teaching elementary and secondary school students about business, technology and design skills,” he says. “Ultimately I’m looking forward to gaining as much life experience and education as I can in this exciting and beautiful city.”

Find out more about UBC Sauder Bachelor of Commerce Program


Yuan Shi – Master of Management Candidate

 

Yuan Shi Quote

 

Born in a small town in northeast China, Yuan Shi’s path to the UBC Sauder School of Business was ultimately driven by her passion to learn new things. “I’ve never put myself in a box or thought that just because I have a science degree, I should be working in sciences,” Yuan explains. “I’ve always tried to be open-minded and learn as many transferable skills as possible, because I believe that’s the key to career success.”

That attitude has led the 24 year-old scholarship winner to earn a degree in Environmental Economics and Policy from the University of Alberta and then move on to work experience as varied as UofA's Undergraduate Research Initiative Office and the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra. Yuan has also previously volunteered in squatter settlements in Mexico and mountain communities in Cuba, and most recently volunteered with the Rio Olympics, where she coordinated logistics, communications and social media initiatives. Her next challenge? The Master of Management program at UBC Sauder's Robert H. Lee Graduate School, where she's excited to learn the practical skills that will one day position her for success in Vancouver's venture capital and private equity industry.

"For me, a business degree will provide real-world experience and skills to complement what I've already learned in the sciences," Yuan says. "UBC Sauder is recognized around the world as a program with amazing professors, alumni and international opportunities. I think of Sauder as an incredible stage where I can learn, improve my skills and build the important networks I need for career success."

Find out more about the UBC Sauder Master of Management Program


Mariana Barrios – MBA Candidate

 
Mariana Barrios
 

Inspired by her father’s position as a business executive in Brazil, 31-year old Mariana Barrios always knew she wanted to work in a corporate environment. That keen interest led Mariana to earn her Bachelor of Business Administration degree and eventually work in the financial services industry, where she spent six years as a financial analyst and two years as a risk analyst. During that time, she also pursued her creative side and earned her second Bachelor’s degree, this time in Music.

According to Mariana, “Although I developed new ideas and improved several processes at the bank, I really wanted to be more innovative and creative. I had a taste of that with my music degree, so I decided to start researching MBA programs. Once I learned that UBC Sauder had an Innovation and Entrepreneurship track, I knew it was the school for me.”

The Innovation and Entrepreneurship track is designed for students who want to kick-start new business ventures, or for “intrapreneurs” who want to build innovation and manage creative productive development within an existing company. A strong focus is placed on creativity, change management, new product development, entrepreneurial finance, customer-focused design and business development.

With a passion for sustainability and the arts, Mariana sees the MBA program as a stepping stone to her ultimate goal of becoming an innovator in the sharing economy. “An MBA from UBC Sauder will give me the skills and knowledge I need to solve problems and make the world a better place. I’m looking forward to the opportunities that will come in the next 16 months.

Find out more about the UBC Sauder MBA Program