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Why Give | Impact stories

Supporting world-class career services for UBC IMBA students in Shanghai

A $300,000 donation from the parent of a UBC Sauder student will ensure professionals attending the UBC International Master of Business Administration (IMBA) program in Shanghai have access to career development programming and resources to help them build successful careers.

Hui Chang is an entrepreneur who runs a seafood import-export business with operations in China and Richmond, B.C. After spending three decades conducting business around the world, he began thinking about how he could share his substantial knowledge and insights with emerging leaders pursuing careers in business.

Mr. Chang’s daughter, who is in her third year of the Bachelor of Commerce program at the UBC Sauder School of Business, spoke on behalf of her father.

“My father wants to share and discuss his practical experience gained over the past 30 years in relation to entrepreneurship, operations and management,” she says. “He hopes he can help students find a way to demonstrate their value in an ethical and responsible way within their organizations.”

An international graduate program like no other

Through consultation with the school, Mr. Chang learned about the UBC International MBA program offered by UBC Sauder’s Robert H. Lee Graduate School in partnership with the Antai College of Economics and Management in Shanghai.

The UBC IMBA has graduated about 500 students since its launch in 2001. The program differentiates itself from other MBA programs in the market in a number of ways. It is a part-time program delivered over 20 months, which allows students to continue working full time. It is also taught entirely in English by UBC Sauder professors who fly to Shanghai in rotations. In addition, there is a two-week residency where students fly to Vancouver and attend classes on the UBC campus.

“Because many students are working while attending the program, they have the ability to take what they learn in the classroom and immediately apply it to their organization,” explains Teresa Pan, Assistant Dean of the Robert H. Lee Graduate School at UBC Sauder. “They can trial, experiment and speak to their professors and their classmates about their new skills and knowledge.”

The English-language format attracts both locals and expats, many of whom work for multinational companies and have past experience working or studying abroad.

“The international character of the program is complemented by UBC Sauder professors who bring global and Chinese business examples and perspectives into the classroom, creating a dynamic and enriching learning environment,” says Ms. Pan. “Then students come to Vancouver for an intensive two weeks of study, where they enhance their knowledge, expand their business network in Canada, and enjoy the natural beauty of our campus and city.”

After learning about the UBC IMBA, Mr. Chang decided to make a $300,000 donation to support current and future students of the program in their quest to find meaningful careers in China, Canada or elsewhere in the world.

Combining a business education with a roadmap for career advancement

UBC IMBA graduate Sky Yang lives in Shanghai and works for an American company that provides real-time monitoring and security of cargo across the global supply chain.

Sky Yang graduated from the UBC IMBA program in 2019 and served as Class President. Today, he is the China Program Manager for Sensitech, a U.S. supply chain and logistics company with offices around the world. Yang recalls one of the highlights of his education was the personalized career services he received.

“The career sessions in Vancouver and Shanghai taught us the ins-and-outs of developing your own career. In my one-on-one coaching, I was able to share my career goals and map a path toward achieving them,” says Yang. “The advice I got allowed me to better showcase my talent and fit to the companies I wanted to get noticed by. I learned how to think like an employer, which was very valuable.”

According to Martina Valkovicova, Assistant Dean of the Hari B. Varshney Business Career Centre at UBC Sauder, Yang and his classmates were part of a pilot program to provide the centre’s signature career readiness model to the Shanghai students.

While the residency is currently on hold due to COVID-19, in 2019 students spent two weeks in Vancouver and participated in a career workshop with Asst. Dean, Martina Valkovicova.

Asst. Dean Martina Valkovicova lecturing

Asst. Dean Martina Valkovicova lecturing

“We delivered programming to support the IMBA students as leaders in their workplace,” explains Ms. Valkovicova, who is also a UBC Sauder MBA graduate. “Students received executive one-to-one coaching to explore their short-term and long-term career goals, as well as career workshops that covered topics such as self-awareness, market awareness, job interview techniques, negotiation skills, and much more.”

Student feedback was overwhelmingly positive.

“This gift comes at a crucial time and will allow us to continue working with our international MBA students to meet their career development needs. On behalf of the team at the Business Career Centre here at UBC Sauder, I thank the Chang family for their generosity and support,” says Ms. Valkovicova.

An international network of business professionals

With this transformational gift, UBC IMBA students will have the opportunity to develop globally relevant and in-demand career skills to complement their international business education.

UBC IMBA residency group

UBC IMBA residency group 2020

According to Mr. Chang’s daughter, “My father hopes to support talented individuals who show great potential in business management. The overall goal is to help those students contribute to the success and sustainability of their organizations.”

The donation will also pave the way for more professionals to join UBC Sauder’s diverse network of business leaders and thought leaders, thereby encouraging more economic opportunities as well as cross-cultural connection, collaboration and relationship building.