Last Wednesday, I attended my fourth – and final – university convocation as a graduate, receiving my hard earned MBA. It’s hard to believe that just 28 months ago, me and 50 other brave souls embarked on the intense and life changing journey that is the part-time MBA program at UBC. Taking an program like this – super intense in both the amount and type of work – while also holding down full-time jobs takes a special kind of person. I knew I was going to learn a lot in this program, as I had no background in business whatsoever, but when I look back on it, I’m still stunned by how much I learned. Entire fields that I knew nothing about – accounting, finance, economics, marketing, just to name a few – are now not only comprehensible to me, but also fascinating. This program has provided not just content, but also new skills that I apply every day in my work and personal life and it has expanded my worldview.
And I feel very privileged to have traveled these past 28 months with the most fantastic group of people. I met people from all sorts of different sectors and backgrounds and learned as much from them as I did from my professors and textbooks. We worked hard together through countless classes and group meetings and Skype meetings and lunch meetings, through study groups and running simulated businesses and writing business plans and doing Friday case nights and the seemingly endless hours of capstone weekend. There were papers and exams and presentations and celebrations. There was a lot of laughter and some tears and some rants and all the things that life-long friendships are made of.
The day of graduation, though they were calling for rain, actually turned out to be sunny and beautiful! One of the graduates from the full-time MBA cohort with whom I had a class and next to whom I sat at grad (due to us having surnames that are alphabetically similar) noted that this was because he’d worked his skills from the MBA – Master of the Black Arts. The convocation ceremony was nice, full of all the pomp and circumstance that a university convocation entails – the speeches were great and since I knew all of the part-time MBAs and a bunch of the full-timers (as I’d taken a couple of classes from the full-time program and some of them took some of our part-time classes) the seemingly endless parade of graduates crossing the stage was more interesting to me than my previous graduations, where I’d known far fewer of the people graduating.
This is the sea of graduates as seen from the balcony of the Chan Centre for the Performing Arts at UBC, where convocation is held:
You can spot me in the fifth row by the fact that I’m in a pink robe instead of the black MBA robe – one of the perks of having the PhD.
In other news, I totally underestimated how long I’d be on stage when I said 7.4 seconds – it actually turns out that I was on stage for nearly 20 whole seconds! Here’s the video to prove it:
Here is 4/5ths of D2NA, my group from school. One of our big project in the Core part of our program was to write a business plan and our company was D2NA, and our product was the Double Device (you may recall our mascot, Marty The Moose.)). From left to right we have Bronwyn, me, the guy who holds the ceremonial university mace (not part of our group), Emily, and Tyler. Missing from the photo is Edmond, who wasn’t at the ceremony.
And here’s a photo of me with Fran, the most helpful person EVER! When I first started my MBA, UBC had some difficulty in figuring out how to process my scholarship, as it’s a rare type of scholarship and they didn’t appear to have ever had a student with one of these before, so no one in the finance area could figure out how to deal with it. But Fran came to my rescue and after about a billion emails with Finance, she was able to get it sorted out for me so that I could get my scholarship money and thus be able to pay my tuition fees. She came up to me after the ceremony and introduced herself because, despite the aforementioned billion emails, we’d never actually met in person. Needless to say, I gave her the biggest hug!
Because I’m spoiled, my mom and my Aunt Eileen came out from Toronto for my big day:
They were here for the whole week and we had many adventures, which will have to be the subject of another blog posting as this one is already getting way long!
Speaking of spoiled, I was spoiled by my mom and aunt, who not only came all this way for my grad, but also showered me with gifts, including the beautiful shoes I wore to grad and the beautiful flowers that you see me holding
And as if I weren’t spoiled enough, my Aunty Gwen sent me this MBA grad present – a gorgeous blanket that she crocheted herself, made specifically to go with my beloved purple chair:
The picture does not do it justice – it’s an exquisite stitch that she used an the colours in it as so beautiful and it totally completes the chair!
All in all, it was a lovely day and I am very pleased that I can now officially put the “MBA” behind my name. For the record, I am now legally entitled to write my name thusly:
Beth Snow, BSc(Hons), MSc, PhD, MBA, CE
So that’s 18 letters after my name – and only 8 letters in my name! Even if you were to use my full legal name “Mary Elizabeth Snow” instead of just “Beth”, that’s only 17 letters in my name – still one fewer than all the ones I’ve earned the right to be put after my name!
Image Credit: Specially thanks to my Aunt Eileen and my friend and classmate, Emily Graham, for the photos and video!