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Why pursue an MEL or MHLP? To expand your horizons

February 18, 2020
UBC MEL MHLP Expand Horizons

Although each individual has their own unique reasons for pursuing a Master of Engineering Leadership (MEL) or Master of Health Leadership and Policy (MHLP) degree, a few common themes emerge when talking to current students and alumni. These include a desire to:

  • gain experience in a related industry
  • accelerate their career progression and take on new responsibilities
  • make an impact on society and in the world
  • move into a higher-paying position
  • deepen their expertise in a specific area
  • pursue a love of learning
  • bolster their credentials
  • live in a new city, province or country

In this series – Why pursue a postgraduate degree? – we take a closer look at some of the reasons why experienced professionals are applying to the MEL and MHLP.

Expanding your horizons

Vancouver is an exciting place to learn, live and work. The city is known for its temperate climate, outstanding recreational opportunities and laid-back West Coast lifestyle. Vancouver and BC are renowned centres of innovation in areas including sustainability, green building design, digital technology, virtual health and more.

If you live outside of Vancouver, choosing to pursue a 12-month MEL or MHLP can be a great way to experience the city for a year. You may like it so much you decide to put down roots here! If that’s the case, the professional network you build over the year-long program may make it easier to land a job in the area.

Both the MEL and MHLP also offer optional professional development workshops and events where you can gain skills in everything from resumé writing to interviewing. These can prove valuable as you look for work, no matter where the location.

Alumni who have made the move

With their unique focus on both technical and business skills, the MEL and MHLP are innovative interdisciplinary programs that attract students from across Canada and around the world.

Krupa Harthi, for example, moved from Bangalore, India, to pursue an MEL in Dependable Software Systems. “UBC has high international rankings, best-in-class professors, a diverse student population and a good support structure for international students,” she says. “Vancouver is a beautiful and diverse city, with amazing food. And life at UBC is great – it’s very vibrant.” A capstone project with a local technology company gave her Canadian industry experience and helped her continue building her teamwork and communication skills.

Syed Bukhari moved to Canada to pursue a degree in Urban Systems. The project-based curriculum enabled him to work on projects for the District of North Vancouver and the City of New Westminster. “Although I had more than a decade of experience in telecommunications, I believe the MEL played a big role in my success in getting a job here,” he says. “My work experience has been in Europe and Asia, and this degree gives me proof and legitimacy within the Canadian market.”

Regulations in the health-care sector can make it difficult for credentials in one jurisdiction to be recognized elsewhere. Many students in the MHLP come from Metro Vancouver, seeing the program as an opportunity to gain the technical, business and leadership skills they need to advance in their field.

Students from across Canada also move to Vancouver for the MEL and MHLP. Like their international counterparts, some of them find jobs in the Vancouver area and continue to live here after graduating.

Read more about our successful MEL and MHLP alumni.

Time for a change of scene?

Living in a new city for the 12 months of a postgraduate degree is a fantastic way to expand your horizons and experience a new way of life, whether you are moving here from elsewhere in BC or from the other side of the world.

The one-year program is also a great opportunity to develop your professional network – building connections that can potentially lead to a job offer. There’s no guarantee, of course, and it’s up to you to make the most of the opportunities that come your way. However, the MEL and MHLP do offer a range of opportunities – from industry networking events and conferences to capstone projects and practicums in some programs – that allow you to connect with industry leaders in your field.