Not To Be Trusted With Knives

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MBA = Most Bad Ass

Last Wednesday, I attended my fourth – and final – university convocation as a graduate1, receiving my hard earned MBA2. It’s hard to believe that just 28 months ago3, 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 jobs4 takes a special5 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 class6 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:

MBA Graduation 2014 - A Sea of Graduates

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 PhD7.

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 mace8 (not part of our group), Emily, and Tyler. Missing from the photo is Edmond, who wasn’t at the ceremony.

D2NA at MBA Grad!

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 scholarship9 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!

MBA Graduation 2014

Because I’m spoiled, my mom and my Aunt Eileen came out from Toronto for my big day:

My mom, me and Aunt Eileen

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 grad10 and the beautiful flowers that you see me holding11

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:

Handmade afghan - an MBA grad present from my Aunty GwenThe 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!

Footnotes:

  1. If I get any more university degrees, they will have to be of the Honorary Doctorate variety, as I have no plans to actually do work for another degree. Though apparently you have to do something honourable in order to be granted an Hon Doc, so I guess I’ll have to figure out something honourable to do now. []
  2. A.k.a., graduating from grade 25 []
  3. And three years ago I don’t think I’d even started studying for the GMAT yet! []
  4. Not to mention having families, social lives, etc. By my count there were 11 babies born or conceived during the 28 months of our program, along with 6 weddings. []
  5. Translation: Crazy. []
  6. Healthcare Management. []
  7. You can spot the other PhD from my class – Keith – in the bottom left of that photo. []
  8. I have no idea why the university has a ceremonial mace. []
  9. Mostly because you can only get it if you hold a health sciences-based PhD and are doing an MBA, and there aren’t many people who have done a PhD that want to go back to school! []
  10. See photo above. []
  11. The flowers, sadly, have had to live on my balcony as the cats seem to think they look most delicious and I have no idea if these particular flowers are poisonous to cats, so to be on the safe side, I’m keeping them outside. []

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My Graduation – Live Stream

Even if you can’t be there in person, you can still have all the fun of watching hundreds of strangers graduate in order to catch the 7.4 seconds that I’ll be on the stage getting my fourth – and final – university degree1.

Just follow this link and select the May 28th, 11 am webcast. And remember, that’s 11 am Pacific Daylight Time, so for those of you in Ontario, that’s 2 pm Eastern Daylight Time.

I should be pretty easy to spot, as I will be one of only two people getting an MBA who will be wearing the pink & blue robes and puffy hat of a PhD, while the other MBAs will be wearing black robes and mortar board style hats. The other MBA graduate who will be wearing the PhD robes is a man who is about 6ft tall, so I’m pretty sure you’ll be able to tell the two of us apart.

  1. Unless a university – or universities – want to give me an honorary doctorate(s). I’m done with working for my degrees, but I’m more than happy to take free ones! []

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All My Courses

Hey, remember that time I finished all my classes for my MBA1? Did you ever wonder what all those classes I took were? Lucky for you, I have a spreadsheet!

I did some colour coding, because everything is better with colour coding.

  • Dark purple is for the Integrated Core – this took the first 10 months of the program and included a whole whack of different subjects (Accounting, Finance, Marketing, Organizational Behaviour, Supply Chain Management, Information Technology Management, Business Ethics, Statistics, Microeconomics, Macroeconomics), plus integrated case studies, a business simulation game, and a business plan).
  • Orange is for the post-core modules I took from the MBA program.
  • Green is for courses I took from outside of Sauder.
  • Yellow is for courses I took from the Executive MBA in Healthcare program at Sauder.

In conclusion, I learned a lot of stuff!

  1. Assuming I passed my Business Ethics exam. Knock on wood. []

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Half Marathon #4 – Complete!

We did it!  My fourth, and Alicia’s second, half marathon is in the books!

All week long I was watching the weather forecast for today and though the forecast for every other day seemed to change hourly, the meteorologists were steadfast on the prediction for Sunday, June 27 – rain. And the only waterproof running jacket I had is quite heavy – it’s lined to keep you nicely dry and warm for fall runs, but way too hot for an 18 degrees and rainy June day.  So I decided to treat myself to a new running jacket – I figured it was a pretty good investment given that it looks like we will not be seeing any sunny days this summer.  Plus, I’ve been very good about not buying clothes so far in 2010 – I’m waaay under what I budgeted for clothes1, so I didn’t even feel guilty buying something that isn’t from a thrift store!  And, I must say, it’s a beautiful jacket – bright white with a bit of reflective stuff on it so I don’t get hit by any cars.  And two convenient pockets.  And super duper light.

And said rain jacket served me well for the ~5 minutes I wore it during the race.  Because, though it was spitting a bit before race, not a single drop fell during the entire 2 hours and 23 minutes in which I was actually racing.  And so pretty early on the race, the jacket got tied around my waist, where it remained until after the post-race brunch, when I felt a little chilled.  I’m reasonably sure that my buying a rain jacket warded off all the rain they were calling for.  You’re welcome, all-the-other-runners in the race.

Here we are, before the race:

Notice my beautiful, rain-preventing jacket! Alicia’s jacket is the same brand as mine – she bought it a few months ago and at that time neither of us had heard Sugoi, but now here we are, all Sugoi-ed up.

The race route was pretty nice – it started at Thunderbird Arena at UBC, we looped around UBC for ~7 km, then we ran around SW Marine, through Kits, over the Burrard Street bridge and into Stanley Park.  And my favourite part: it’s net downhill!  As with our last half, I couldn’t keep up with Alicia and so she ran ahead at about the 17 km mark.  I had her in my sights until the Burrard Street bridge, but then lost her in the crowd.  In the end, Alicia came in at 2:23:22 and I came in at 2:23:53. And, need I remind you, Alicia had a freaking baby five months ago!  Good job, running partner!!

  1. and I haven’t bought a single pair of shoes!  Which anyone who knows me will tell you is pretty much a miracle. []

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Bunch of Random Stuff

Here’s a bunch of random stuff that each aren’t long enough to make a blog posting on their own, but collectively make up a bunch of random stuff.

  • Some very cool people are getting honourary doctorates at UBC1 this year, including satirist Rick Mercer, author Douglas Coupland, and astronaut Julie Payette. Also getting a UBC HonDoc is the person with the worst French language skills on the planet, John Furlong2.  One name on the list that really caught my eye was Dr. Nora Volkow – she’s the Director of the US National Institute of Drug Addiction3. You can see her in this HBO documentary on addiction, where she does an amazing job explaining the science of addiction. Her work as a neuroscientist has gone a long way to show that addiction involves a pathophysiology of the brain – so addiction isn’t about strength of will or moral character, it’s a disease.
  • Here’s some interesting information about how larger plates are making us fatter.  I’ve read quite a few studies recently on how portion sizes have increased over the years – both at restaurants and at homes.  Further, studies show that bigger portion size actually results in people taking bigger bites of food.
  • I have a date for the Polar Bear Swim on January 1, 2011.  My friend Krista has agreed to join me!  And, as she says, we’ve said it on the intertubes, so now we *have* to do it!
  • For some unknown reason, WordPress has stopped emailing me comments that are made on my blog. I have it set up to do so, as seen here, but I don’t get emails.  So if I’m slower at replying to comments than I used to be, blame WordPress.  I’m innocent.
  • Today, my friend Dr. Jen officially became Dr. Jen.  Technically, you aren’t allowed to use the PhD behind your name, or call yourself “Dr.,” until after your convocation4. Even though once you’ve handed the final copy of your thesis into the Faculty of Graduate Studies, you’ve done all you need to do. But until the degree is actually granted on convocation day, you technically don’t have it.  Not like that stops anyone from calling themselves “Dr.” right from the moment the committee at the defence says “I’m pleased to inform you…” though. Congratulations, Dr. Jen!!
  1. I hope to get an HonDoc some day. Because I have a fascination with collecting letters to put behind my name. []
  2. seriously, I have better French than that guys AND I DON’T EVEN SPEAK FRENCH []
  3. an aside: I was just perusing Dr. Volkow’s Wikipedia page and apparently she’s the great granddaughter of Trotsky! []
  4. same is technically true of Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees, but since you don’t change your honorific with those degrees, it’s not such a big deal []

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China vs. Switzerland

When I bought the tickets for this afternoon’s women’s hockey game, I didn’t know who would be playing as it was a “classification” game, meaning that would would be playing was determined by the standings from the preliminary games.  As it turns out, today’s matchup was Team China vs. Team Switzerland.

Team China

Team Switzerland

It was a pretty entertaining game.  Switzerland was pretty dominant – they owned the neutral zone and pretty much anytime a Chinese player got the puck, a Swiss one would just take it away. There was one woman on Team China, number 14, who was pretty speedy and made a few nice moves, but never managed to get the puck past the goalie.  And the game was more physical than I expected – a fair amount of penalties and definitely as sense of bad blood between the two teams.  Which seemed odd, but stranger things have happened!

The crowd was pretty into the game and cheered heartily whenever Switzerland scored. If China has scored, though, I’m sure the crowd would have cheered just as much!  Near the end of the game the crowd was cheering “Go China Go!”  We really would have liked to have seen them score, but it wasn’t to be.

Me, Kim & Anne at UBC Thunderbird Arena.

Me, Kim & Lance at UBC Thunderbird Arena.

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Photos From My Recent Time Travel Adventure

So guess where I was when I saw this yesterday:

IMG_4702 by you.

A Dharma Initiative station? That’s what I thought when I saw it. In actuality, I was in a lecture hall at UBC, where I was invigilating my class’s exam. Seriously. This is what you find in the desk at the front of the room for the lecturer to control the audio-visual system. Let’s have a closer look:

IMG_4703 by you.

Thank goodness we can control the TV, film and slide projectors and the audio tape!  Because I totally love to play cassette tapes in class.  In 2009.

And then I also saw this:

IMG_4701 by you.

That was in the desk at the front of the lecture hall as well. You know, a big red phone with no numbers for dialing. I’m pretty sure this is a direct line to the president. Or Batman.

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Hockey

aggies women's hockey 2 by you. This past week, we played our one and only playoff game in the UBC Rec league.  Playoffs were by elimination and, well, we were eliminated. Given that we only lost 7-2 – and we’d previously been beaten by the same team 10-0, 17-2 and 14-2 – we considered it a moral victory.

Tonight is the last regular season game for my other hockey league.  Playoffs are next weekend and then that’s it for hockey for the season1.  My team isn’t going to play in the summer league this year like we did last year. I contemplated trying to find another team to play with2, but I think instead I’m going to take some advanced3 hockey lessons. I feel like I’ve learned a lot from playing twice a week this season, especially from the girls (and our new coach) on my Blazing Blades team who are always willing to give me pointers to improve my game (not mention just trying to keep up with the advanced level of play – trial by fire!).  Now I  think it will do me some good to spend some serious time focusing on improving my hockey skillz4.  So that come the start of hockey season next fall, I’ll be awesome.  And can maybe even score a freaking goal.

1Unless we win the playoffs and get to go to Kelowna again for provincials.
2Also, I’ve had two proposals for a conference in New Brunswick accepted, meaning I get a trip to NB. And so I’m planning to take some vacation time to explore the Atlantic provinces that I’ve never been to before. Which would mean missing a few weeks of hockey and summer hockey seasons aren’t all that long to begin with.
3As opposed to the beginner’s hockey lessons I took when I first started playing hockey.
4Shooting, skating backwards and having the confidence to pivot from skating forward to skating backwards in an actual game – I’m looking in your direction.