Becoming fluent in global business

Image of Billy Chan

In a world where business is global, it’s crucial to understand and be fluent in the cultural nuances of how business is done in other countries.

Thanks to his Chinese roots, Billy Chan, an MBA grad from Sauder’s Robert H. Lee Graduate School, has been able to successfully bridge two business cultures to advance his global career.

Born and raised in a traditional Chinese household in Canada, he found his heritage hugely advantageous during his UBC MBA. During the Sauder Trek China program that introduced him to a laundry list of leading employers in Hong Kong and Shanghai, Billy got on the radar at Microsoft China. Now he is working with the tech giant in Beijing, where he’s been instructed to immerse himself in global markets.

“Having China on my resume is so important to my career long-term, especially when it comes to working for international companies. This experience will give me a leg up over a lot of people,” says Chan.

#1  in North America for international mobility

Chan’s success is just one example of the UBC MBA’s rapidly expanding global footprint, with the program being ranked as #1 for international mobility in 2013 by The Financial Times.

“Our students move up faster and travel farther,” says Murali Chandrashekaran, Associate Dean, Professional Graduate Programs at Sauder’s Robert H. Lee Graduate School. “This is a result of our ongoing improvements in career services and emphasis on global experience and diversity. We are giving our students an international canvas on which to learn and work to provide them with the skills and opportunities they need to make a global impact.”

Having China on my resume is so important to my career long-term, especially when it comes to working for international companies.

– UBC MBA grad Billy Chan

Indeed, global learning experience is now mandatory for UBC MBAs. As part of a 12-day Global Immersion program, students travel to partner schools – The Indian Institute of Management BangaloreCopenhagen School of Business, and Shanghai Jiao Tong University – where they form teams with MBA counterparts and work for multinational companies and organizations.

Each year approximately 25 per cent of UBC MBA students also participate in the Outbound MBA Exchange program to study at one of Sauder’s 37 partner schools around the world and deepen their understanding of the international marketplace.

Extra-curricular opportunities for UBC MBAs are not confined to Vancouver. Chris Dorrow joined the Sauder Africa Initiative to work with aspiring entrepreneurs in the slums of Nairobi, Kenya and provide them with the know-how to launch their businesses.

“My time in Nairobi was incredible and it’s great to be part of a business school that offers these amazing experiences,” says Chris.

Its Pacific Rim location provides Sauder with a distinctly global perspective on business. Sauder was the first Canadian business school to establish an MBA program in China. The UBC IMBA, offered in partnership with Shanghai Jiao Tong University, was founded in 2001.

For Stephanie Chan, who specialized in the Consulting and Strategic Management career track, her UBC MBA led to an international role at Ralph Lauren in Hong Kong, China. Here she tapped into Sauder’s largest alumni group outside of North America, which “made it much easier to network in the city.”

#1 in North America for international faculty

In 2013, Sauder was also ranked #1 for international faculty by The Financial Times. It was a factor that drew Mahesh Shrinivas Bhattad, an IT software engineer in India, to pursue a UBC MBA. He returned to Hyderabad and now identifies global trends for leading clients in the financial services sector. “Professors at Sauder have deep academic knowledge of the courses they teach, while they are also well-connected to leading industries,” he says.

#5 in North America for international students

The MBA student body, having ranked #5 for international students by The Financial Times in 2013, is comprised of 23 countries, with more than 29 languages spoken.

It’s this diverse mix of global knowledge shared among faculty and students that continues to attract UBC MBA candidates from around the world. The latest cohort are almost 60 per cent international, and includes Oana Maria Dan, a former broadcast journalist from Bucharest, Romania.

“I come from a former communist country – and I’m interested in getting a global perspective  and gaining inter-cultural fluency – which is exactly what the MBA at Sauder will allow me to do,” she says.