Vancouver for international students with family

This post will introduce the benefits of taking a MBA in Vancouver, especially for international students with family, at various perspectives based on my experience with my wife and two-year old daughter.

First of all, Vancouver is a very safe place for family to live. Except a certain area, there are very less crime. In particular, on-campus housing like Acadia Park Residence (I lived there) is very safe and good for children to play a lot of play equipment at beautiful parks. In addition, there were several family-related community activities in the residential area. In fact, in the first three months, so-called Integrated Foundation, it was so hard and sometimes difficult to spend time for my family. Under this situation, these family-friendly environments were helpful and quite important. (The following picture is the Acadia Park Residence)

Acadia Park Residence

Second, Vancouver has good points of both downtown and nature. We can easily access a lot of beautiful national parks and nature. Just drive 10 minutes by car. For example, we went to Grouse Mountain and Lynn Canyon and enjoyed beautiful nature. (Lynn Canyon provides free hiking courses.) Furthermore, there are a lot of good car sharing systems in Vancouver. (I used to be a member of Modo.) It’s easy for international students to get a car. (The following is Lynn Canyon)

Lynn Canyon

Lastly, multinational food culture in Vancouver is suitable for multinational students. There are a variety of restaurants and supermarkets providing multinational food such as Indian, Chinese, Korean and Japanese food in Vancouver. Of course, some students struggle with adapting to new food environment. In addition, we can go to several organic farmers markets in downtown and suburb. We went to the Krause Berry farm in Langley (1 hour drive from the downtown in Vancouver), and picked up a lot of organic blueberries. My daughter was very satisfied with its natural blueberries and couldn’t stop eating.

These are the example my family had a lot of fun in Vancouver life during my MBA study. I hope this post will help international applicants choose Vancouver to take a MBA.



まず第1に、バンクーバーは一部の地域を除き、非常に治安のよい街である。特に自分が住んでいたオンキャンパスのAcadia Park Residenceは、UBCが提供するファミリー向けの住宅地であり、非常に治安がよい。また、敷地内には多くの公園、遊具があり、2歳になる娘は、敷地内にある全ての公園、遊具を制覇して、毎日自然を楽しんでいた。また、時にはファミリー向けのコミュニティ活動もあり、Internationalでやってきたファミリーにとっては、非常に溶け込みやすい環境が整っている。UBCでのMBAの最初の3か月は、Integrated Foundationという、非常にハードな生活であり、時には家族との時間をゆっくり取れない時もあり、その時には、周りのコミュニティの支えは非常に助けとなった。

第2に、都会と自然の両方の生活を満喫できることである。バンクーバーはダウンタウンを持ちつつ、10分車で走れば、すぐに多くの自然を味わうことができる。例えば、Grouse MountainやLynne Canyonといったハイキングコースはダウンタウンから10分程度で行くことができる。殆どのNational Parkはフリーである。また、カーシェアリングのシステムも充実しており、Internationalのメンバーにとって、車を容易に利用することができる。ほぼ毎日が晴天、気温もベスト、また朝5時ごろから夕方9時ごろまで明るい夏のシーズンは、バンクーバーが世界一住みやすいと言われる所以であると思う。



The 11th Annual UBC Net Impact Conference

VCC In just under two weeks, the 11th Annual UBC Net Impact Conference will be coming to the Vancouver Convention Centre, bringing together approximately 200 professionals and students from the sustainable business community to engage in a dialogue on topics such as Corporate Social Responsibility, Energy, Social Entrepreneurship, and Diversity in Business. It’s already been a whirlwind experience for me – a guy who had never even heard of Net Impact before September – and it’s only going to get crazier.

I stepped into this role with UBC Net Impact mostly on a whim. I wanted to get involved with a club or program during my MBA and I wanted the time to be well spent. While sustainability has always been a part of my life, it has typically occupied the subconscious part of my brain. That is, I recycled more than the average bear and chose to live as “locally” as possible – whether it be food or clothing. However, I never really sat down and thought: “Let’s save the world!” I always believed environmental protest participants to be ignorant, short-sighted, and uninformed. They struck me as being in denial of their own impact. Where did their food and clothes come from? What about heating and lighting? Did they avoid all forms of pollution and energy use? Obviously not.

Joining UBC Net Impact has changed my perspective. I’m beginning to see that everyone has a different role to play. Using business to “do well by doing good” is one of the core principles of Net Impact. However, not everyone has had the opportunities that I have had to wield the tool of business in order to further the cause of sustainability. Thus, those individuals marching on TV are doing what they can to be heard. And that is what the UBC Net Impact Conference is really about: communication.

Not all men and women in power suits are Wall Street villains and not all environmental activists are “disturbers of the peace”. However, there exists a significant degree of mistrust between the two groups despite the fact that unity is the best way to facilitate change. The conference on April 19th will provide a forum for problem identification, communication, and inspiration where everyone will have a voice: Business, Government, and Community. The focus will be on understanding the challenges facing the province, the nation, and the planet and then encouraging an active discourse in order to define potential solutions. Ultimately, we want the attendees to be inspired by the shared stories and experiences.

We have Coro Strandberg, a recognized sustainability and CSR strategist, as the opening keynote speaker and the Deputy Manager of the City of Vancouver’s Greenest City Action Plan, Sadhu Johnston, acting as the closing keynote. Business and Government working together to achieve everyone’s goals. The voice of the Community will provide the heart of the sustainability dialogue. Whether the topic is Social Entrepreneurship or CSR, representatives from NPO’s, institutions of higher education, and the community-involvement branches of various companies will balance the debate, enabling a solution to be reached that benefits everyone involved.

There remains a lot of work to be done before the conference becomes a reality. However, the team of volunteers at UBC Net Impact will be there every step of the way. See you in two weeks!


“The Pants”


While in Singapore I learned that my sense of fashion is shared with very few people. As this picture displays my trousers, you can judge them for yourself.  But while in Singapore I didn’t hear a pause in the flow of insults these slacks received.  “Jon are you going sailing? Because those pleats could catch enough wind to drive a yacht!”  “Could you wear your pants any higher?”  “Pleats?  Where did you get those from, your Grandfather?”  Clearly with those types of “compliments” I was wearing the wrong pants.

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MBA Snowcase 2013


Welcome sign at UBC Lodge (ignore the year…)

On March 8th and 9th, forty MBA students from UBC, SFU, and UW travelled up to Whistler for the first annual MBA Snowcase.

The weekend kicked off Friday, with a group driving up to hit the slopes early before the festivities began. After slaying some pow, many students enjoyed the après scene down in the village before heading to the UBC Lodge. The students of Snowcase were the sole occupants of the lodge – making for an awesome slumber party. The hot tub was soon overflowing, as everyone trickled in Friday afternoon. After some quality tub time, the students made their way to a Creekside pub (some of them taking a romantic moonlight stroll there) to play some darts and enjoy some fine Canadian beer.

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IIIM-B & Sauder Unite To Brainstorm Solutions To India’s Child Malnutrition Problems.

IIM-B School of Business, Bangalore, India.

What better way is there to get a truly global immersive experience than by brainstorming with students from one of the top business schools in India, and better yet while in India too!  In the second week of our trip we had the pleasure of teaming up with students from IIM-Bangalore, to tackle a case competition on childhood malnutrition in India. Even though we didn’t have much time to prepare, 48 hours, we knew we had the desire to do as best as we could.

Right from our first meeting with our IIM-B team counterparts I realized that we were approaching the issue at hand in different ways.  ”Why might this be?”, Continue reading

“Is the world really flat”?

In Thomas Friedman’s book, “The World Is Flat”, Friedman proposes that the global commerce environment is essentially accessible to anybody  that has the desire and vision to create an organization or company that spans globally.  It is my view that Friedman’s hypothesis is true, as it has been proven time and time again by companies that have started from humble origins, e.g Infosys (fitting, considering the title of the book was derived from a statement by the CEO of Infosys), IKEA, and Aurolab.  All of these companies and many more have been able to overcome the barriers of internationalizing and continue to create global impact in their respective industries.  However, I believe it is more valuable to understand the conditions and drivers that have affirmed Friedman’s hypothesis; in particular, what are the drivers that have allowed companies like Infosys and Aurolab to successfully compete globally? One driver that comes to mind is technology.

Aurolab, Madurai, India. Our full time Sauder MBA class trip to Aurolab’s manufacturing facilities.

Technology has played a key role in driving globalization.  In particular, technological advances such as the Internet, coupled with the decreasing costs and reach of hardware and software, is making technology more ubiquitous than ever before, the rate of this change is only accelerating.  The Internet has introduced mass interconnectivity between people at such a large scale that humanity has never experienced and has yet to fully realize the impacts of it.  This in itself has allowed organizations and businesses from all around the world to connect and participate in commerce in such a way that would have been impossible just a few decades ago.   Continue reading