Career and networking opportunities
In the final semester of the Master of Engineering Leadership (MEL) and Master of Health Leadership and Policy (MHLP), students are thinking ahead to what’s next. Finding a job where they can leverage their past experience and apply their new knowledge in a leadership role is a top priority.
MEL and MHLP program staff organize events and activities – including career fairs, alumni mixers, job search workshops and one-on-one support – to support students as they transition to life after the final group presentations are delivered and capstone reports are submitted.
Career fairs exclusively for MEL and MHLP students
In the fall of 2023, program staff organized degree-specific career fairs, inviting top local employers to events exclusively for MEL and MHLP students.
We ask the employers to provide an overview of their organization and what they are looking for in their new leadership hires. This is followed by a roundtable where students can talk one-on-one with employer representatives to learn more about the organization and its opportunities.
Leyla Khosrovpour, a part-time student in the MHLP in Clinical Education, says the MHLP Career Fair was a “one-stop shop for meeting employers who were there because they specifically wanted to meet MHLP students.”
She appreciated being able to talk with representatives from organizations about their philosophy and approach to patient care.
It opened up my perspective about career path possibilities.
The career fair also allowed her to practice her networking skills and gain confidence interacting with potential employers. As she heads into the second year of her MHLP degree, she hopes to leverage these professional development opportunities to secure a position in an educational leadership role while she completes the final year of her program.
Zain Husain, a student in the MEL in Clean Energy Engineering, says the MEL Career Fair was a good way to meet local industry players. He felt that the two-way conversations helped students identify opportunities and enabled employers to better understand how they could benefit from the experience of MEL graduates.
Employers tap into new hires with leadership potential
For employers, the career fairs are a promising way to connect with new talent. Leah Veloso is a Senior Specialist, Talent Acquisition at Paper Excellence. In November 2023, she attended the MEL Career Fair, recognizing it as a “good opportunity for Paper Excellence to connect with engineering professionals and let them know about our company, its locations and our growth opportunities.”
She says she appreciated being able to connect with students and learn more about their professional work experience and the knowledge and skills they’ve gained in the MEL.
We are a sustainable company with a lot of projects under development, so we need people with technical experience in sustainability who have the leadership background and skills in data analysis to contribute to the growth of our organization.
This isn’t Paper Excellence’s first time at the career fair. When Leah attended in 2022, she met Gabriela Valles, who was then just finishing up her MEL in Sustainable Process Engineering. Leah was impressed with Gabriela’s professional experience in the pulp and paper industry in Mexico, and although there wasn’t an immediate opening at that time, Leah encouraged Gabriela to connect with her on LinkedIn. A few months later, a job position was posted and Gabriela was hired to work as a Business Analyst at Paper Excellence, focusing on continuous improvement projects.
Practising the skills that lead to job offers
Students are also supported to succeed when applying for jobs. Throughout the year, MEL/MHLP Career Strategist Jessi Guercio offers professional development workshops and can meet with students one-on-one to help them develop targeted cover letters, write powerful resumes and confidently answer interview questions.
“I want to help students understand the power of stories and narrative, and to learn how to answer interview questions to highlight the value they have brought – and can bring – to organizations,” he says.
I hope that with all the self-reflection pieces students work on over the year that they are able to weave those connecting threads and feel confident sharing examples in interviews and conversations with potential employers of their past professional experience, the reason they chose to do a professional master’s degree at UBC and what new skills they bring as a result of their MEL or MHLP experience.
Connections that set students up for success
A common theme emerges from talking with students, alumni, career strategists and employers: persistence is key when it comes to landing the job you want.
“Students need to be proactive at networking, by reaching out to former alumni as well as potential employers,” says Zain.
UBC provides support through career fairs, networking events and workshops, but ultimately it is up to each student to do the work to find employment.
The students who take advantage of the career fairs and networking opportunities are more likely to make the connections that lead to interesting jobs, rewarding friendships and connections with MEL/MHLP classmates and mentors that last for years to come.