News & Events

Gain more than a degree

November 29, 2022

The value of a professional master’s degree is about much more than the credential and the letters after your name. It’s about the journey and process – acquiring new knowledge and insights as you learn from renowned experts in your industry, building connections with other future-focused students who want to make a difference, attending conferences, and pushing your comfort zone by immersing yourself in experiences very different from those you encounter as a working professional.

A solid foundation for growth

The Master of Engineering Leadership (MEL) and Master of Health Leadership & Policy (MHLP) professional master’s degrees are designed to empower professionals who have several years of industry experience to take the next step in their careers.

The curriculum for each of the nine sector-specific specializations covers both technical and business knowledge. Students graduate with an understanding of the latest issues facing their industry and with the business and leadership skills to advance in their careers and guide projects and teams.

Each course explores current industry trends, with many assignments seeing students collaborate with organizations in the private or public sector. “Most classes require students to complete group projects that are developed in partnership with external clients,” says Martino Tran, former Co-Director of the MEL in Urban Systems.

“Students work with professionals from other disciplines while gaining hands-on experience doing applied project work, with real milestones and real deliverables for stakeholders.”

No matter what the program, these projects push students to acquire new skills in new contexts. As Cheryl Segaric, Director of the MHLP Clinical Education, explains, “Much of the project work involves simulated learning approaches where students work in teams to gain skills in interprofessional collaboration and teamwork. Assignments enable students to take a practical, pragmatic approach to the types of challenges they will actually be experiencing.”

Learning beyond the classroom

The MEL and MHLP provide numerous opportunities beyond the classroom for students to learn and expand their networks. Both programs frequently invite guest speakers to share their insights with students.

These exclusive events enable students to network with industry leaders and expand their understanding of the latest issues in their field. They are also excellent opportunities to meet with other professionals in an informal setting conducive to conversation and sharing ideas.

Attending conferences

Students are encouraged to attend industry conferences, as both participants and presenters. Many students have used these conferences to create tangible connections that have led to new opportunities and even employment.

Margaret Lin, a student in the MHLP in Seniors Care, attended a conference and was interested in one of the topics under discussion. She reached out to the coordinator to inquire about research being done in this area, which led to a connection to an organization, a volunteer opportunity and a job offer months before she’d even graduated.

Building communication and business skills

As a MEL or MHLP student, you will be invited to professional development workshops covering everything from resume writing and interview skills to best practices in communication. These workshops are tailored to honing the career advancement skills of experienced professionals, and the benefits can be far-reaching.

“We support students’ growth through an educational curriculum that refines students’ technical and business skills, as well as by supporting them with professional development opportunities,” says Academic Director Justin Bull.

“We want to make sure students know how to be persuasive, how to communicate complex business cases and how to effectively build their own brand. Workshops and additional coaching support enable students to gain these essential skills, empowering them to take ownership of their professional development.”

This holistic support gives our graduates a distinct advantage when pursuing new opportunities, whether that’s a capstone project, an internship position or a job.

Lucky Garg, a MEL student in Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering, says that these workshops gave him the confidence to expand his professional network.

“Early on, I attended some MEL professional development workshops, including how to reach out to people on LinkedIn, and I took this advice to heart, connecting to literally hundreds of people to ask about the industry and see if they had any potential positions available.” The result? A summer intern position at the Port of Vancouver has the potential to turn into a full-time job when he graduates.

Connecting with like-minded peers

There are many opportunities to connect with students in other sector specializations, such as in the business courses and in the shared study spaces on campus.

Working on projects with people from outside your discipline is an enriching experience that exposes you to new ways of thinking, introduces you to issues facing other industries and creates opportunities for friendship and future collaboration.

A transformative opportunity

Reflecting on your academic and professional journey likely reveals experiences that proved to be transformative.

Whether it was a second-year elective that led you to switch majors or saying “yes” to a project at work that took your career in a new direction, there are no doubt choices you’ve made that have changed the course of your career.

Enrolling in the MEL or MHLP is one of those opportunities. The interdisciplinary education that will set you apart from others in your field, and the complementary experiences – from conferences and experiential learning to professional development support and networking opportunities – make this far more than a degree.

“When I applied to the program, the tagline was ‘one year can change your life,’” says alumni Garry Singh. “That was definitely true for me. Going to UBC and doing the MHLP in Seniors Care changed my life.”