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Opportunities for learning

August 9, 2021
UBC MEL MHLP - Opportunities for Learning

The courses you’ll take as an MEL or MHLP student will give you the knowledge and skills to advance your career and make a difference in your industry. To really make the most of your experience, you’ll want to take advantage of the many additional opportunities that make these professional postgraduate degrees stand out.

Some of these opportunities are offered to all UBC students. For instance, MEL and MHLP students are eligible to apply for and participate in the Sustainability Scholars Program, Creative Destruction Lab and Lean Launchpad. Other opportunities are offered exclusively to MEL and MHLP students, including an impressive lineup of workshops where you can meet industry leaders and fine-tune your professional skills.

Here are just a few of the ways you can deepen your knowledge, expand your network, explore new ideas and grow your skills as an MEL or MHLP student.

Sustainability Scholars

The Sustainability Scholars Program is a UBC initiative that matches graduate students with partner organizations (both on and off campus) to work on sustainability projects. All UBC graduate students are eligible to apply for these paid intern positions, which are excellent opportunities to gain relevant professional experience and grow your network.

Many MEL students have landed coveted Sustainability Scholar positions.

In 2020, Madhur Motwani, an MEL student in Advanced Materials Manufacturing, worked for the Township of Langley to advise the municipality on how to implement the BC Energy Step Code for commercial buildings.

Sean Mercer, an MEL student in Integrated Water Management, worked for Metro Vancouver in the summer of 2020 to identify industrial companies that were potentially discharging into the sewer system without the permits to do so.

And in 2019, Mohammed Abdelaziz, an MEL student in High Performance Buildings, researched best practices for remediating building envelopes.

Creative Destruction Lab

While MEL and MHLP students must take specific business and leadership classes as part of their degree, most programs enable students to take a UBC Sauder business course of their choosing.

A popular choice is the Creative Destruction Lab, a three-credit course in entrepreneurship that is run in association with an international accelerator program for science, technology and health companies.

Students must apply for admission, and, if accepted, they work to support venture companies with market analysis, strategy development and other initiatives to move these startups to the next stage of their evolution.

Sohum Joshi, an MEL student in Dependable Software Systems, says the Creative Destruction Lab offered “amazing insight into entrepreneurship and startup culture.” Through the course’s networking opportunities, he learned about a job opportunity and was hired before graduating.

Anna Swanson, a 2019 student in Clean Energy Engineering, had a similarly positive experience.

She contributed business insights to two companies, including one developing virtual reality tools to support individuals recovering from a stroke. “The company wanted to move into the Canadian market, and I provided a detailed analysis on market entry strategy,” she says.

Lean Launchpad

The Lean Launchpad Accelerator Program is an extracurricular offering open to UBC students who want to pursue an innovative business idea.

Daniel Eden, a 2019 MEL student in High Performance Buildings, participated in the extracurricular program along with a few other MEL students to validate the idea of using 3D printing technology to make buildings using recycled materials. The students developed their idea and then pitched it to potential mentors and investors.

While they ultimately decided not to further their concept, Daniel says it “was a great experience as it allowed us to apply what we were learning in the business classes and tap into the entrepreneurial world at UBC.”

Three other MEL students also participated in the Lean Launchpad program in 2019, with Douglas Davila, Warren Boyle and Derek Oppedisano coming together to develop a business case for their idea to develop plug-in solar energy panels. (You can listen to a podcast of the three of them talking about their plug-in solar idea on Spotify.)

Exclusive learning and networking events for MEL and MHLP students

The MEL and MHLP host dozens of events each semester, bringing in industry professionals to offer their insights on current issues facing their sector.

Government ministers, entrepreneurs, heads of organizations and past alumni are invited to share their expertise and answer questions. These professional development events are an exceptional opportunity to meet leaders in your field, learn about the latest topics and explore new career directions. (You can read a summary of the most recent guest speaker series and other events.)

Within individual programs, students also have opportunities to attend local and national industry conferences – building their professional networks and connections with influential leaders.

Professional development sessions

Much of your success as a leader will come down to your goal-setting, communication and interpersonal skills.

To help MEL and MHLP students develop these essential skills, we offer sessions throughout the year on everything from career planning and goal setting to tips on how to be a more successful negotiator and deliver memorable presentations.

Abhijeet Singh, an alumni from 2020, encourages students to take advantage of these professional development skills-building workshops. “These are usually hour-long sessions on topics like communication, presentation skills and resumé development,” he says. “I found the material to be very helpful and offer a lot of benefits.”

The MEL and MHLP offer a transformative educational experience. Much of this comes from learning new sector-specific technical skills and foundational business knowledge from world-leading UBC faculty.

The life-changing potential of these degrees also comes by taking advantage of all the opportunities available in addition to your program’s core courses – opportunities that enable you to enhance your experience by gaining new skills and expanding your professional and personal networks.