Impact of Giving: Summer 2019, Business Career Centre

Posted 2019-09-13

A Forward-Thinking Approach to Career Support

The careers of the future will require more relationship-building and entrepreneurial thinking than ever. Thanks to a generous $250,000 gift, which was matched by UBC Sauder School of Business for a total of $500,000, the Hari B. Varshney Business Career Centre has virtually reinvented itself to better prepare students for the future of business.

Creating an Action Plan

As we move further into the 21st century, traditional employment will be replaced more and more by relationship-based, entrepreneurially inspired, short-term roles. No longer will jobs be acquired by a solid CV and good grades. This evolving landscape will require students to have a solid idea of who they are and what they stand for, in addition to what they can do.

Personal values have become every bit as important as professional skills.

Thanks to a generous gift from a visionary couple, the UBC Sauder Hari B. Varshney Business Career Centre is now more focused than ever before on personal and professional development.

The $250,000 gift, which was matched by UBC Sauder for a total of $500,000, supports two pillars. The first, Foundations Matter, gives students the opportunity to discover their core values, learn to make conscious choices and act with conviction. It also allows them to further develop the skills necessary to excel in today’s increasingly interconnected world. The second, Leading with Confidence, offers select students a career-making opportunity for growth.

At the student level, this means developing Individualized Career Action Plans that highlight their self-awareness, market-awareness, personal brand and experience. For the Business Career Centre itself, that means making significant changes on three levels: reassessing programming, creating impact for a select group of students, and strengthening the skillsets of our team as well as our students.

Foundations Matter

Under the stewardship of the new personal and professional development-focused Business Career Centre, UBC Sauder has redesigned much of its programming.

The Career Fundamentals course, for example, has been overhauled to give undergraduate students a better idea of their values and their capabilities. Personal brand has become a pillar; emotional intelligence is now as important as knowledge.

In this newly redesigned course, students learn how to create standout essentials like cover letters and resumes. They learn how to excel in interviews, both informational and job-specific. And they learn how to network smarter, more effectively.

Programs, tools and resources offered through the Career Centre have also been revolutionized to help students grow – as people and as leaders. For instance, a set of video tools featuring insights from business leaders is designed to encourage students to further their curiosity, to take risks, to embrace the uncertainty that accompanies leadership.

Leading with Confidence

In addition to the broad-sweeping changes this gift has enabled us to make, it has also positioned us to offer specific programming in a hyper-selective manner.

The first year of Leading with Confidence  ran in 2017 with 13 students completing the program. The program aims to prepare students to be leaders ready to tackle the global innovation economy. The following year has seen 22 students just complete the program and we are gearing up for the 3rd year of the successful program with close to 30 students participating.

In this new program, skills like public speaking are taught in a different way than they are in class and students benefit from one-to-one coaching appointments with leadership coaches. For many it helped cultivate their innate leadership capabilities, and in some cases, it helped unearth leadership qualities students didn’t even know they had.

Strengthening Skillsets

Thanks to the vision of these generous donors, we’re shifting the traditional model of a Business Career Centre and revolutionizing the way we work with our students. To make this approach even more effective, we’re also changing how we support our staff.

Our team is better equipped to help students understand what they stand for, so they can create a career that reflects that. And we can all benefit from a future that has thoughtful, values-driven leaders at the forefront.

UBC Sauder students have big dreams. Now, thanks to the generosity of our donors, we’re better equipped than ever to help them achieve them.