Graduating BCom student Vivian Mak answers 7 questions as she prepares for next chapter

Vivian Mak Lake Louise
Posted 2022-11-17

Many members of the UBC Sauder community will don caps and gowns and walk across the stage this month. UBC Bachelor of Commerce (BCom) student Vivian Mak reflects on her most memorable moments.

Q: When you think back to your first-year self, how have you changed over the course of the BCom?

A: The past four years at UBC Sauder have challenged me to think critically about the systems we live in and ask myself what type of impact I want to have on the world. Personally, I have grown in my ability to solve problems with resilience and developed the strength to make decisions that are meaningful to me rather than based on what others expect. Professionally, through internships and Co-op placements, I have gained a more realistic understanding of what I hope to achieve after graduation and have learned the types of work environments and tasks I find fulfilling.

Q: What class, project or activity impacted you most and why?

A: My participation in the UBC Sauder Co-op Program allowed me to explore different career interests and gain firsthand experience in a variety of roles and workplaces. It is one thing to learn about concepts in the classroom but applying them in a real-world context is very different. I am grateful for my Co-op experiences for helping me develop new skills and discover potential career paths.


Vivian Mak at Banff
Mak hiking in Banff during her student days


Q: What was your favourite or most memorable experience at UBC Sauder?

A: I’ve been a member of the Sauder Health and Wellness (HeWe) club for three years and it’s been a big part of my undergraduate journey. It helped me realize how much of a community there is at UBC Sauder. As someone who is passionate about health and wellness, I loved being able to contribute to the de-stigmatization of mental health and build a community where students prioritize their wellbeing while supporting one another.

Q: What’s the best piece of advice you received from a professor at UBC Sauder?

A: The best piece of advice I’ve heard here is to stop making or tolerating excuses in life and start working towards solutions. Rather than sitting around and letting life happen to you, you have to go out and make life happen because what you tolerate, you become. This wisdom was shared by Adjunct Professor Darrell Kopke in COMM 489 (Applied Methods in Technology Start-ups at CDL) and has forced me to reflect on what needs to change not only in my life, but also in the world, to improve and find solutions to pressing problems.

Q: What will you miss most about UBC Sauder?

A: I will miss all of the interesting opportunities available at UBC Sauder. Over the past few years, I have been able to volunteer at a community tax clinic, run health and wellness events, compete in a research challenge, welcome new students during orientations, work at the Canaccord Learning Commons (CLC) front desk, and even serve as a teaching assistant for seven different courses. Through these opportunities, I was able to meet really cool people and create unique memories I can look back on.

Q: What’s a message you’d like to share with your fellow graduates?

A: Have the courage to reflect on what is meaningful to you, set goals that align with your values, and do not be afraid to make difficult changes. Too often there are so many expectations surrounding us that it is difficult to define what we really want for ourselves. Staying flexible and being open to new opportunities will allow you to explore and find what inspires you.

Q: What’s next for you?

A: My immediate next step will be to head to New York to take a few data analytics and project management classes. Beyond that, I am exploring a few different career options and ultimately hope to be working in a position that allows me to make a positive impact and improve the communities around me.