Classmates turned co-founders reflect on impact of UGO Student Experience Grant
From now until October 2, 2022, UBC Bachelor of Commerce students can apply for an Undergraduate Office (UGO) Student Experience Grant to support student-led initiatives and professional skills development. Two past grant recipients, Yogmaya Singh and Bhavika Mahtani, share how the funding helped them nurture their creativity and entrepreneurial spirits.
Yogmaya Singh and Bhavika Mahtani are artists at heart. Singh is a music aficionado, and Mahtani has a history in professional dance with an affinity for contemporary dance.
Throughout high school, both were told attending business school would mean leaving their interests and hobbies at the door. In 2017, when they enrolled at the UBC Sauder School of Business, they were determined to shatter that misconception.
With funding from the UGO Student Experience Grant, Singh and Mahtani co-founded Creatives Industries Network – a student club and community platform that empowers UBC Sauder students to pursue careers in creative industries.
Where artistry meets business
"We wanted to find a way to piece students' personal and academic interests together," says Mahtani, who now works as a Technology Risk Consultant at EY.
"We thought to ourselves: 'if we want to make a change and inspire business students to channel their creative leanings into their careers, this is the right place to do it.'"
The classmates-turned-co-founders came up with the idea of forming a community for students interested in music, film, dance, and visual arts. By hosting networking events and workshops, the club offered upskilling opportunities to break into the industry.
'It felt like UBC Sauder had our backs'
Singh and Mahtani pitched the idea of the student club in late 2019 and received a UGO Student Experience Grant of $2,000 to kickstart their initiative. As Singh explains, the support went beyond money.
"The team at the Undergraduate Office provided us with a wealth of knowledge and resources to make our initiative successful. It felt like they were just as motivated as we were to succeed," says Singh.
"It felt like UBC Sauder had our backs."
A grant that goes beyond money
Fifty students attended the Creative Industries Network launch event, no small feat for an initiative that went from ideation to execution in just a few months.
“Some people from the audience told us they, for the first time in their lives, felt inspired to look into their passions. They now wanted to explore the kind of roles in management where they could express those passions and interests," says Mahtani.
Singh and Mahtani led nine events at the newly-formed club until their graduation in 2021. The workshops focused on a wide range of topics, including helping aspiring visual artists build a strong portfolio, sharing strategies for financing an independent film, and generating ideas of how musicians can build their brands and network with other artists.
Landing a dream job and passing the torch
Singh says having the title of club co-founder on her resume helped her land a media analyst role at Wavo, a company that builds data-driven platforms to help musicians improve their business outcomes.
“During my interview, I talked about my work with the club and the insights I'd already gained about the industry. It's no exaggeration that running this club gave me an edge and helped me land my first job in the music industry.”
The Creative Industries Network is now officially a student club at the UBC Alma Mater Society (AMS) and the Commerce Undergraduate Society (CUS). After graduating, the co-founders handed over the reins of the club to the new cohort, and now occasionally attend the club's events and workshops as speakers.
How to apply for a UGO Student Experience Grant
Applications for a UGO Student Experience Grant are being accepted until October 2, 2022. Grants are available to current Bachelor of Commerce students in good academic standing. The funding can be used to offset expenses for a variety of experiences, including but not limited to:
Participating in a volunteer or service learning program
Competing in a case competition locally, nationally, or internationally
Attending a conference locally, nationally, or internationally
Organizing a new event, program, or service that benefits Bachelor of Commerce students
Applicants are required to demonstrate the impact on their personal, professional or academic experience, or that of other students.
To learn more and apply, visit mybcom.sauder.ubc.ca/ugogrant.