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Challenge to Change | MBA alumna’s startup spreads good karma

Cordia Chan wanted a career that reflected her passion for health and wellness. After completing her MBA, she now runs her own yoga-inspired clothing line out of Bali.

thechallenge

Cordia Chan has long been an advocate of healthy living. She earned her BSc in Health and Nutrition and fills her spare time with yoga and surfing.

But after completing her undergraduate degree she found herself working for an experiential marketing company. And while she loved certain aspects of her role – it required a lot of creativity and gave her a fair bit of autonomy – the health advocate in her didn’t love promoting colas and beer.

“I couldn’t reconcile my passion for healthy living with the work I was doing,” she says. “I wanted to pivot my career into something that better aligned with my values.”

So Chan applied to the MBA at UBC Sauder’s Robert H. Lee Graduate School. She focused on the program because of its unparalleled opportunities for global experience and emphasis on responsible leadership development.

“I told myself if it’s not UBC Sauder, then it’s not meant to be. I loved the exchange program options and the partner schools UBC Sauder has relationships with,” she says, noting that she saw the MBA as an important step in building a global career.

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theexperience

For Chan, the UBC MBA proved to be more than just a way to shift her career.

“It broadened my perspective in ways I never imagined,” she says. “It made me realize I had always been thinking within this box. My MBA pushed me to expand my thinking and get outside my comfort zone.”

After exploring the many global experience opportunities UBC Sauder offers, Chan did an exchange in Barcelona, where she built strong connections with her fellow classmates.

“I welcomed the opportunity to develop a community of MBA candidates from all over the world,” she says. “The whole experience was in sharp contrast to my undergraduate studies in science, where I’d be one of 300 people in a class. In the MBA and during my exchange, I actually knew everyone’s name.”

thechange
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After graduation, Chan launched the yoga-inspired clothing company Karma Collective, which promotes its products through a tribe of brand ambassadors and gives a portion of its proceeds to community projects.

“The courses I took during my MBA help me with every aspect of running my business – from pricing to marketing strategy to supply chain to accounting,” she says.

“I had never taken any business courses during my undergrad,” she says. “The UBC MBA gave me a foundation in business, and so much more: the friendships, the community, and the ongoing support and mentorship from the school.”

Shortly after launching Karma Collective, Chan moved to Bali, where she now spends her days running her online company and surfing.

“My MBA gave me the courage, confidence and knowledge to step out of my comfort zone,” she says. “Now I’m living steps from the beach, running my own company and doing what I love every day.”

 

Name: Cordia Chan
Title: Founder, Karma Collective
Track: Custom
Nationality: Canadian (Vancouver)

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