From a multinational organization in India to a fast-growing tech company in Vancouver, UBC MBA alumnus Rupmeet Singh has shifted career gears and landed the strategic, leadership role he wanted.
UBC degree: MBA 2011
Current job title: Program Manager, Optimus Information Inc
Current city: Vancouver, BC
“At a multinational company, you are just a cog in the wheel. I wanted to find a position where I could play a role in the decision making process. ”
From India to Vancouver
Before I moved to Vancouver, I was working at Infosys, one of India’s top IT service companies. I had the opportunity to work with a variety of international clients, including PwC, Belgium Telecommunications, adidas and UBS. Although I gained some fantastic experience, after four years of working for a large multinational company, I wanted to shift gears and work for an organization where I could play a leadership role and be involved in the decision making process.
With that goal in mind, I was confident that the UBC MBA Program was the right place for me to hone my leadership skills and Vancouver the right place for me to make my next career move. Sauder’s international ranking, course structure, and career support services convinced me that it had the complete package. On top of that, BC’s abundance of small businesses and thriving high tech industry were exactly what I was looking for.
International student support
As an international student who was unfamiliar with the local job market, I found fantastic support from the Hari B. Varshney Business Career Centre. Within days of arriving in Vancouver, I had already made an appointment with my MBA Career Coach.
Through the BCC coaching and info sessions, I learned about Vancouver’s “hidden” job market. I realized that I needed to be proactive in order to compete in the market. The BCC staff and Sauder faculty were instrumental for making this happen, helping me develop the skills I needed to build a network and gain work experience in Vancouver.
Building a network
One of my strategies was to connect with as many professionals as I could. I attended a number of company information/recruiting sessions, sent hundreds of emails, and set up dozens of informational interviews with professionals. Not only did this help me better understand the wide variety of opportunities available in Vancouver’s high tech sector, but it also ultimately led to meeting my current employer.
Gaining experience within the UBC community
My MBA experience went far beyond the confines of the classroom. During the program, I worked as a teaching and research assistant at Sauder’s Management Information Systems (MIS) Division. I also became president of UBC’s MBA Technology Management Club. And I was hired by UBC’s IT Services at Sauder (formerly called Learning & Technology Services) where I worked in a variety of roles, including project manager and business consultant. Being so active in the UBC community helped me build a professional network, gave me relevant Canadian work experience, and helped me adapt to the Canadian business culture. This gave me a great platform from which to launch my career in Vancouver.
When I started my job search, I was able to tap into the extensive network that I had cultivated during the program. A contact who I had met at an MBA event offered me an exciting opportunity to lead the new Business Intelligence division of Optimus Information Inc., a Vancouver-based IT services and consulting company. This was precisely the kind of opportunity I was looking for. I joined Optimus as the Manager of Client Engagement shortly after completing my MBA. Although my focus was initially to be on the Business Intelligence side, I soon found myself embroiled in exciting challenges in business units such as Software Development and Testing.
Two years on, my role at Optimus has evolved and I am now the Program Manager, responsible for selling and delivering software development, testing and business effectiveness analytics services to clients throughout North America. This role gives me the perfect opportunity to use my management expertise and to be closely involved in strategic decision making – at a level that would have been unattainable while working for a large multinational like Infosys.
Advice to students
- The Business Career Centre is instrumental in building your career, especially if you are an international student. Make use of their services from the moment you arrive.
- Start building your network and your job search right away. Informational interviews are a great way to develop your network and to get a feel for the market before you even start looking for a job.
- Make your job search a priority during your MBA. It is hard work, especially with a demanding course load, but it will pay off in the long run.