What are your main responsibilities or activities in your current position?
I support the delivery of end-to-end procurement services to a group of faculties by liaising between these faculties and UBC central financial operations department. I perform dedicated service management, delivering solutions for short and mid-term tactical procurement issues, and longer term operational and strategic procurement initiatives.
How does your current work relate to your graduate degree?
There isn't a direct relationship save for that I work in a public institution and apply policies that guide the functions and spending accordingly. The best practice for stakeholder engagement, and the science of analyzing/selecting alternatives are crucial pillars of the public policy formulation. These two skills are found were transferable to my supply management career; when problems arise, as they always do in procurement, I find that the critical success factors depend on how well I identify and engage with all stakeholders involved, and picking out the the best option of a number of alternatives. My extracurricular experience in graduate school was in student union government, where I presided over the UBCV graduate student union. This experience has been invaluable for my current role due the the need to navigate the senior leadership of the faculties that I support.
What do you like and what do you find challenging about your current position?
What I like most, is also the challenging thing about procurement and supply management: supply operations bring up new and different problems as it progresses and force innovation and dexterity in how they are solved. I like that volatility and uncertainty about what to expect; keeps me sharp and I keep learning.
Is your current career path as you originally intended?
Not by a long stretch; I'd worked in the private sector for over a decade - in the banking and supply management sectors. I'd always wanted to serve in public service or run for public office, which is why I veered off to undertake the MPPGA and hoped to launch a public service career thereby. But like any business executive knows, I had to adjust my plans based on the prevailing socioeconomic atmosphere after my graduation.
What motivated you to pursue graduate work at UBC?
UBC ranked 2nd overall best in Canada at the time I made the decision for my graduate study, and is situated in the warmest-winter part of Canada. Additionally, I had had searched extensively for a program that would deliver the type of training I knew I needed for a career change and UBC's MPPGA came up tops. It was a no-brainer
What did you enjoy the most about your time as a graduate student at UBC?
As an immigrant student with a young family you have a lot of boxes to check off before you can settle down comfortably. The student family housing is easily what I found most crucial. I enjoyed that there was available subsidized day care service for our child and that my wife and I were able to work throughout my student days.
What key things did you do, or what attitudes or approaches did you have, that contributed to your success?
Being nice and kind is my MO. It is a personal view that I hold but I understand that most people want the same things that I want and are probably going through their own kind of struggle and for this reason, conflicts are to be managed with kindness and not aggression. This attitude has won me kindness in return - and connections that are vital for career success.
What is your best piece of advice for current graduate students preparing for their future careers?
Learn as much as you can, across as many disciplines as possible and from all sources available to you. Keep an open mind and be prepared to take detours from your original plan - take up opportunities as they come and keep your eyes on your end goal. It is often the case that the path to the north would veer east or west longer than it is heading north.
Did you have any breaks in your education?
No I did not. Funding was a huge burden to bear since I paid my tuition out of pocket with no scholarship, so there was a time that a break from my education was considered for financial reasons.
How did you find out about/obtain your current position?
A few months before I graduated from UBC, I began checking the websites of key organizations where my skills could fit. Top among them was UBC - for my supply management experience, and BC Public Service - for my public policy training. I'd applied for numerous positions with both institutions and had a number of unsuccessful tests and interviews, except for one.
What challenges did you face in your graduate degree, or in launching your career?
I didn't face unique challenges in either case; I am blessed that hard work, planning, a winning attitude and some luck have brought me where I am. the only thing I'd do differently is to apply myself more to these things.
How are jobs normally posted and filled in your organization or industry?
UBC has a website that is open to the public where open positions are posted and updated very regularly. Indeed and LinkedIn also publish a good umber of open positions for supply management and public policy experts.