Empowering change

How UBC Okanagan's Management degree helped three students find their path

Empowering change

Baljit, Pala, and Maulen each feel that the UBC Okanagan Management program has given them the skills to make a difference in the world.

All three students came to UBC Okanagan with different backgrounds – one from Indian ancestry, another from a BC First Nation, and one from Kazakhstan – but with similar ideals. Through their Management courses in business, financial accounting, marketing, and more, each has learned how to achieve their goals, including fighting for marginalized people in India, helping Indigenous communities in Canada, and launching their own business.

 

 


Baljit Badhan UBC Management Story

Baljit Badhan

Category: Alumni
Degree: BMgt in Management
Campus: Okanagan
From: Quesnel, BC

 

What was your path to Management at UBC Okanagan?

I began my studies at UBC Okanagan as a third-year student. Prior to attending UBC Okanagan, I took business-related courses through Thompson Rivers University Open Learning, the College of New Caledonia, the University of Northern British Columbia, and Okanagan College.

 

Now you’ve graduated, you want to use your Management degree alongside further study to help make things better for many people in India. Why is this important to you?

The caste system is deeply entrenched in India’s societal structure, and it continues to deprive groups and individuals of equality. The fight against caste-based discrimination was initiated over 600 years ago by Guru Ravidass ji, the founder of the Ravidassia religion and a member of a group traditionally associated with being of lower caste. Despite his revolutionary thinking and contributions, a social order based on caste persists, and the fight for equality continues.

I share the Ravidassia religion with over 900 million people worldwide – many of whom, including myself, are traditionally associated with being of lower caste. I am in a unique position as I am aware of the challenges faced by individuals and groups traditionally associated with being of lower caste, and also have the ability to safely and openly speak about the ongoing injustice and widespread attempts to erase our history, present, and future.

 

How has the Management program prepared you for that goal?

The Management program has taught me to consider diverse perspectives and be open-minded. I have learned to think critically about established standards and practices. This has taught me to question existing societal standards and traditions, and to consider their impact on different individuals and groups. Management at UBCO also emphasizes the social responsibility organizations have towards the communities they impact. I now perceive challenges as opportunities to create change.

 

What kinds of hands-on experiences did you take part in during your degree?

During my fourth year, I had the opportunity to work with the Family Resource Centre for the North Okanagan as part of my team’s Capstone Project. We worked with the local not-for-profit organization that specializes in mental health, and helped determine the feasibility of a new and exciting project. I also worked with the Karis Support Society, which is another local not-for-profit organization. It was an amazing opportunity to be able to contribute to the future of the organization as part of a team.

 

What do you want others to know about the UBC Okanagan Management program?

The Management program will equip you with the skills and knowledge you need to succeed! The program offers a broad range of learning opportunities which can be tailored to align with your individual interests, and academic and career goals. It’s an exciting experience which may feel challenging at times, but is ultimately very rewarding.

 


Pala Kovacs UBC Management Story Indigenous

Pala Kovacs

Category: Student
Degree: BMgt in Management
Campus: Okanagan
From: Lil’wat Nation, BC

 

Why did you choose Management at UBC Okanagan?

I had no idea what I wanted to do after high school! But after speaking with some business students, I realized that it seemed like an area I wanted to study. I went to Langara College for my first two years of postsecondary as a transition between my small-town high school and university. I moved here two years ago now, and absolutely love the Okanagan.

 

You’ve already used the skills that you’ve learned as part of the UBC Management degree to build your own photography business. How did the program help prepare you?

UBC’s Management degree has helped me by teaching me many areas of expertise. I grew my hobby of photography into a business by applying good marketing strategy, and putting into practice all of the organizational skills that I have learned in school. For example, the Business Communications course I took taught me how to unravel a sticky situation, and deal with any conflict that may arise in my work without any hardship.

 

Your ultimate goal is to use your Management degree to help Indigenous communities invest money into their people, their businesses, and their health. Why have you chosen to focus on that?

Indigenous communities have so much potential for growth, both economically and mentally. When you look at Indigenous communities like West Bank First Nations or Osoyoos, you can see the work done by their economic development leaders as soon as you drive into the area. It’s evident in the businesses they have, the houses they have, and the support that they have for their community. I would like to help all Indigenous communities reach that level of comfort, motivation, and growth.

 

How has the Management degree helped set you on that career path?

The Management program initially introduced me to the idea of investment and entrepreneurship. Neither of those topics were anything that I had ever considered before, but they have both now fully consumed my life. I plan on not only applying the knowledge that I have within Indigenous communities, but sharing it with others whenever I can.

 

What do you like most about the Management program?

I really like the support offered in all aspects of the degree. UBC Okanagan specifically has a smaller campus which allows for more one-on-one time with the professors. I have gotten to know every single one of them and they have helped me on my journey as an entrepreneur.

 


Maulen Zairov

Maulen Zairov

Category: Student
Degree: BMgt in Management
Campus: Okanagan
From: Almaty, Kazakhstan

 

What was your journey to UBC?

When I was a teenager, I always dreamed of leaving my hometown and going to a foreign city to pursue my career. The reason why I chose UBC was because it’s one of the most prestigious universities in the world. UBC Okanagan is a great place to prosper, to be challenged, develop your skills, and enjoy outdoor activities.

 

What attracted you to the Management program at UBC Okanagan?

Ever since I was a kid, I envisioned myself as an entrepreneur. The more business owners I interacted with, the more I realized how much our community depends on them. I was inspired by my mom to create and explore new things, have the courage to take risks, and also have a passion for what you are doing. Entrepreneurship encompasses those philosophies that my mom taught me. I’ve always wanted to challenge myself in different management departments such as consulting, marketing, and finance, and develop an understanding of what set of skills I need to have to become an entrepreneur.

 

What hands-on experience have you gained as part of the program?

The Management program gives an opportunity for students to practice skills you learn in the classroom with different companies, organizations, or startups during your degree. The co-op option is a great way to prepare yourself for the world outside of university. Currently, I work as a digital marketing specialist at Forbidden Spirits Distillery, which focuses on manufacturing alcohol beverages like vodka, gin, and brandy. Soon, l’ll start my employment at UBCO, where I will be responsible for managing social media marketing. Choosing to take part in co-op has helped me understand what I excel at, and which areas I have room for growth.

 

How has the community at UBC Okanagan helped you to thrive?

In my opinion, the whole UBCO community – from students to professors – has helped me grow in a positive way. I’ve been able to share my ideas with the people around me and engage with other students, which are essential ingredients for our thriving community.

Overall, the UBCO community has helped me to expand my qualities, improve my habits, broaden my knowledge, and learn more about the background of different people. As a result, I feel like I became a more open-minded person and became more engaged in various topics.

 

Why would you recommend the Management program to others?

The Management program at UBC Okanagan will help you to build a solid foundation of business knowledge and provide you with subject-specific education in areas such as marketing, financing, operations, communication, information technology and human resource. You can also expect to gain a lot of valuable skills which can be used in both day to day life and your career path. If you are someone who wakes up with a big business idea – and who doesn’t have enough understanding on how to execute it – go into business management, because it will help you to transform that ingenious business idea into reality.

 

 

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