News & Events

Spotlight: Program Series with Dr. Tamara Etmannski

February 13, 2019
UBC MEL and MHLP Program Spotlight Series

Technical skills and business knowledge: A powerful combination

By Dr. Tamara Etmannski, former Academic Director of UBC’s MEL and MHLP Professional Leadership Master Degrees

Technical experts are often promoted into leadership and management positions – but that doesn’t mean they always have the skills they’ll need for their new roles.

The professional master’s degree programs from UBC Faculty of Applied Science were designed to meet this need. Many of our students have reached that point in their careers where they are being promoted into management positions. They’ve been identified within their organizations as leaders, and they are on a career trajectory that will see them move into higher-level roles. Other students have realized that they won’t get those promotions without additional training.

Whatever their motivation, our students recognize that if they want to accelerate their careers, they need to return to school to acquire new skills and credentials. They already have a specialized degree and several years of relevant industry experience, and so the decision-making process for many is whether they should pursue a master’s degree in their area of specialization or an MBA.

Our interdisciplinary master’s program enables students to deepen their technical knowledge while learning fundamental business skills.

About half of the courses are in their specific technical area and the other half are business classes offered through UBC Sauder’s Robert H. Lee Graduate School.

Through their technical classes, MEL and MHLP students expand their skills in their area of specialization – whether that be advanced materials manufacturing or seniors care. They graduate with a high-level understanding of issues across the entire industry value chain. Learning from renowned experts in the field, students also get many opportunities to connect with industry partners through capstones, industry-led projects and networking opportunities.

Students from all MEL and MHLP programs come together for the business courses. That’s been an overwhelmingly positive experience, as students connect with other motivated professionals across many different industries. Our students bond as one large cohort, and they clearly learn so much from each other.

They may also take some of their business classes alongside MBA students, creating further opportunities for personal and professional connections. We organize a yearly event for MBAs, MELs and MHLPs, bringing in a keynote speaker to discuss leadership issues.

Our students tell us is that they get the best of both worlds: a foot in both camps and a network in each.

And their career paths after graduating attest to the value of the MEL and MHLP. By integrating business and technical knowledge, the programs equip our graduates with the skills to contribute their technical know-how, motivate teams, lead change, communicate with colleagues from all areas of their organization and achieve their professional goals.

Learn more about how the MEL or MHLP can help you lead change in your industry, giving you the technical knowledge, foundational business skills and leadership confidence to excel in your career. UBC also offers the MEL in sector-specific programs, including Clean Energy Engineering, Dependable Software Systems, High Performance Buildings, Integrated Water Management, Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering, Sustainable Process Engineering and Urban Systems. The MHLP is offered in sector-specific programs, including Clinical Education and Seniors Care. 

Featured Faculty and Staff


"Being part of a larger cohort is an excellent opportunity for students to build their professional network with people from different backgrounds and industries. "

Read More