Summit Leaders From Mentees to Mentors

Posted 2018-05-02

When she started UBC Sauder’s Part-time MBA program in 2017, Maggie Quirk not only wanted to learn about business strategy and global trends, but she also wanted to gain the education, resources and relationships to maximize her contribution to society.

Now, the 29-year-old student is becoming a teacher of sorts, sharing the diverse skills she’s learning in the program to help high school students turn their entrepreneurial ideas into reality.

Quirk – along with two other part-time MBAs, five full-time MBAs and two Master of Management students – are volunteering with Summit Leaders, a new partnership between UBC Sauder, McKinsey & Company Canada and John Oliver Secondary School in East Vancouver.

Maggie Quirk PullQuote

“When I saw the opportunity to volunteer with the program, I jumped at it,” explains Quirk, who thrives in working with teams to solve complex business problems. “I saw it as a great opportunity to use my personal experience – along with the business expertise I’m gaining at UBC Sauder – to help the kids build self-confidence. When kids have confidence, it spills over in all areas of life and enables them to better adapt to increasing change in today’s society.”

The Summit Leaders program, offered for the first time in Vancouver this year, is a not-for-profit organization that was founded to motivate and educate high-potential students to become Canada’s next generation of great business leaders and entrepreneurs. Students attend a series of workshops on business fundamentals, and then work in teams to develop a viable business concept. Quirk and her classmates help the students develop their ideas for their business venture and then perfect their pitch for a term-end competition.

“It’s a great opportunity and is really interesting,” says Anamika Datta, a grade 11 student who hopes to attend the UBC Sauder School of Business when she graduates. “We’re really lucky to have the Summit Leaders program, because we’re learning something that we wouldn’t typically learn in high school.”

Liam Buchan, a grade 10 student who would like to study Computer Science after he graduates, adds: “Summit Leaders gives me something to put on my resume and is a really useful opportunity – especially if my team’s project takes off.”

Some of the projects the teams are currently exploring include a self-sorting garbage can for municipalities, an app that aggregates pricing information from nearby stores, and an online learning platform for schools to connect with students and parents. Each mentor ensures that students consider all aspects of their on-paper design – including cost, viability and consumer appeal. The program will culminate in a case competition on May 4 at UBC Sauder, where a panel of judges from the community will probe for depth of analysis in the business plans and provide recommendations to bring the students’ ideas to life. Then, one team will move on to the national competition.

“Entrepreneurship is exciting and daunting, but it touches on a broad skill set and areas of understanding that will help students reach their full potential,” Quirk explains. “I believe that with the broader perspective the Summit Leaders program teaches, each student can more easily envision the future they want for themselves and then begin using their skills to achieve it.”

The competition, which is open to the public, will take place on:

Friday, May 4, 2018
9:00am - 12:00 pm

Henry Angus room 133
2053 Main Mall, Vancouver