News & Events

Be a Sustainability Innovator and Accelerate Your Career

January 9, 2024

By Dr. Justin Bull, the academic director of the MEL and MHLP programs and a full-time lecturer at the UBC Sauder Robert H. Lee Graduate School.

The world is facing complex, interdisciplinary challenges that require new ways of leading. We need leaders who are familiar with and comfortable working across different areas of knowledge, and who are adept at working with teams made up of people from diverse cultural and professional backgrounds.

We need people who are able to embrace uncertainty and who can lead through nuance. More than ever, we need leaders who are confident stepping out of their technical roles to guide their organization and industry in new sustainable directions.

The Master of Engineering Leadership (MEL) and Master of Health Leadership and Policy (MHLP) prepare people to do this across distinct specializations in industries that are reinventing themselves, from how we generate energy and design ships to how we deliver health care.

These programs are designed for people who want to be part of a more sustainable future, whether that’s in service of implementing innovations to combat climate change or transforming the way health care is delivered.

Climate transformation

On the MEL side, the connecting thread between all the programs is climate transformation and decarbonization – whether that’s measuring embodied carbon of our buildings, finding new ways to reduce energy use or developing strategies to decarbonize the shipping industry.

What’s particularly exciting for our MEL students is the opportunity to advance their technical education at a university that is internationally recognized as one of the top 10 post-secondary institutions in the world for its commitment to climate action. Some of the leading thinkers and researchers on climate solutions are here at UBC.

What these researchers share in common with our program is a commitment to solutions. So it’s not just being concerned about climate or developing new innovations – it’s knowing how to turn that into deployment and action.

We need people who have the technical knowledge and business sensibility to get out there, scale existing solutions, lead programs and build infrastructure. That’s what the MEL sets students up to do.

A more resilient health-care system

This focus on sustainable solutions also defines the MHLP, which empowers students to contribute to a more resilient – and therefore more sustainable – health-care system. Students learn how to improve standards of care, bringing in best practices to engage medical practitioners and develop transformative patient-centred solutions.

We’ve seen time and again that the MHLP is a true career accelerator. Students greatly benefit from the opportunity to take a step back from their roles, spend one to two years at UBC (depending on whether they are pursuing the full-time or part-time option) and then use their new skills to train the next generation of health-care leaders and work for transformative change within the health-care system.

The business courses amplify students’ impact, enabling them to gain essential skills in project management, change management and leadership, as well as accounting, organizational behaviour, marketing and business technology management.

Living your values

I teach two courses to MEL and MHLP students. Strategy and Innovation, which is open to MEL students, empowers students to understand that strategy is a discipline and illuminates the differences between strategy and efficiency. I also teach Sustainability and Leadership to the entire MEL and MHLP cohort.

This course is an invitation for students to slow down and identify their purpose. We spend time thinking about why being sustainable may be the most important and consequential decision you can make, and then figuring out what skills you need to develop to live that commitment in your life and in your professional role.

Deciding to shift gears by going back to school is a significant undertaking. The students joining us to pursue the MEL or MHLP know deep down that they can do more for themselves, their communities and the world – and that this specific degree from UBC can be an accelerator for that process.

If you’re ready to take the next step and accelerate your career, attend the upcoming information session to learn about programs and how you can apply.

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