Sampling Vancouver's business dynamism

Susan Dong has set her sights on a high-level position in marketing and a career in Vancouver. She chose the UBC MBA because it is firmly rooted in the city’s vibrant business community.

With a BSc in Communication Studies and a BA in World Arts and Cultures from UCLA, Susan’s pre-MBA experience includes selling children’s books and working in recruitment at Twentieth Century Fox in Los Angeles. She then moved back to Vancouver for a sales job with Tom James, the world's largest manufacturer and retailer of custom clothing.

“I had the opportunity to build a clientele here in Vancouver and worked here full-time for a year,” says Susan. “But I realized I wasn’t fulfilled in a sales role and I wanted to be able to make strategic marketing decisions rather than work on the front line with customers.”

Practical application

To take the next step in her career, Susan realized that she would need an understanding of advanced business theory and some practical experience of putting it into effect. But she didn’t fully understand the significance of an MBA program’s location until after she had enrolled at Sauder.

“Looking back, I think one of the most important factors in choosing an MBA program is the city that it’s in and the business environment of that city,” says Susan. “No matter where you go you will be interacting with the local business community. I chose Vancouver because business here has a distinct vibe that I really enjoy.”

Susan’s immersion in the city’s business community is now in full swing with an MBA internship at the British Columbia Automobile Association (BCAA). She is working for the Membership Marketing Department and reports to a UBC MBA alum, the Marketing Manager. 

“I’m taking the principles that I learned in the classroom and applying them in the real world and that’s exactly what an internship should do in my opinion,” says Susan. “With my direct manager and also BCAA’s Chief Marketing Officer, who is the professional mentor that the Business Career Centre at Sauder connected me with, I have great role models here that I can learn from.”

Great careers

But Susan is well on the way to becoming a role model herself. As Vice President of External Relations for Women in Business, one of the clubs that forms part of the MBA Society, she is making sure she enhances her network of connections and giving back to the Sauder community at the same time. She’s clear about what she wants to do with her career and where she wants to do it and says that the UBC MBA has given her the tools to make it happen.

“Vancouver is full of smart professionals who have come from all over the world and developed great careers by drawing on their amazing backgrounds,” she says. “My plan is to bring what I know about direct sales to a marketing department and be able to make long-term strategic decisions. I see the UBC MBA as a driver of that process.”

If, like Susan, you want to take a giant leap forward in your career, the UBC MBA is for you. Find out more.


Name: Susan Dong
Title: MBA candidate 2015
Track: Product and Service Management
Nationality: Canadian (Vancouver)