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Advance with Confidence

December 7, 2021
UBC-MEL-MHLP Advance With Confidence

Are you ready to take the next step? To gain broader expertise in your industry, deepen your skills as a leader and take on positions of greater responsibility? To shift into a slightly different field more aligned with your values?

While you may find yourself answering “yes” to all of these questions, you may be uncertain about how to leave the comfort of what you know and jump into something new. Taking the time to learn new skills and expand your knowledge base can help you move forward with confidence.

As Justin Bull, academic director of the Master of Engineering Leadership (MEL) and Master of Health Leadership and Policy (MHLP) says, “Leadership requires a willingness to break from the status quo. In a time of constant and accelerating change, emerging leaders must navigate a range of environmental, social and technological trends to make this leap with confidence. This requires mastering new skills while cultivating a broad understanding of the challenges faced within an industry sector and the business acumen to implement change.”

The MEL and MHLP curricula are designed to give emerging leaders the integrated knowledge and skills they need to understand critical issues in their particular industry and then lead teams to find innovative and sustainable solutions.

The degrees offer a sector-specific education through classes taught by leading experts from the Faculty of Applied Science. These are balanced by courses in business and leadership taught through UBC Sauder’s Robert H. Lee Graduate School.

That balance enables students to develop the leadership skills they need to thrive within their industry specialization, including the five leadership traits identified by researcher Nanette Miner in her Forbes article “Develop these five skills to leap into leadership:” communication, creativity, a team mindset, business acumen and an external perspective.

MEL and MHLP students have opportunities to acquire and practice each of these skills over the course of their degrees. Through group work, presentations, reports and class discussions, there are daily opportunities to practice communication skills. The multidisciplinary nature of the degrees offer opportunities to build “creativity muscle.” Group assignments strengthen team work skills. Business acumen is developed through the business and leadership classes, including a four-week intensive business boot camp that covers everything from basic finance and accounting knowledge to human resources, marketing and entrepreneurship. Finally, the broad sector-specific curriculum deepens students’ external perspective: rather than gaining expertise in a niche area, MEL and MHLP graduates emerge from the program with a comprehensive overview of their industries and the external factors that are shaping them.

MEL and MHLP students acquire these and other key leadership skills through practice and application. Courses include experiential projects, and professional development opportunities outside the class offer additional ways to confidently build skills.

The result is transformative. After graduation, many students who once held jobs with more narrowly defined responsibilities are hired into positions where they are leading multidisciplinary teams and able to have a more meaningful impact in their field.

Nikko Asistio, for example, used the MHLP in Clinical Education to move from a frontline clinical position to his current role as clinical operations manager for two urgent and primary care centres in Surrey, where he oversees a staff of 50. “My experience had been primarily patient-facing until [this degree],” he says. “I realized that as a manager I needed new tools and knowledge so that I could effectively run a unit or a centre – everything from how to develop workflows to best practices in project management.”

Before enrolling in the MEL in Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering, Connor Maloney worked as a mechanical engineer in an industry far removed from the marine sector. He used the one-year program as a stepping stone into a new field, landing a job at Irving Shipbuilding where he is now assistant project manager of a team working on the Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ship Project.

The degree enabled him to gain the communication, team work and business skills needed to take on a leadership position, as well as the technical understanding required to successfully shift into a new field.

“Having the broad technical understanding from the MEL is useful because when you’re managing a team or leading a project, you really need to be able to speak the lingo of everyone’s specialty if you want to influence the team to get the result you’re after,” says Connor Maloney.

If you’ve decided you’re ready to leap into leadership – or dive into a slightly new professional field – the MEL or MHLP could provide you with the preparation you need so that when you make the jump, you have the skills to soar.

Sign up for an upcoming MEL or MHLP information to learn about program requirements, eligibility, admissions and submitting a strong application for the MEL and MHLP programs. Get ready. Applications for the 2023 cohort open on January 1.