There are endless reasons why someone might want to go to business school. Some go to make connections and build their professional network. Others might enroll in order to learn new skills. Most see this path in higher education as one that will lead them to their dream job.
For Lydia Yoon, it was all of the above. She enrolled in the Bachelor of Commerce program at UBC Sauder School of Business in pursuit of a career that would challenge her while also aligning with her unique skills and interests. Five years later, Yoon is now settling in Toronto as a newly recruited Associate Product Marketing Manager (APMM) Intern for one of the most recognized companies in the world: Google.
So how did she go from UBC Sauder student to Toronto techie? Despite being named Top Female Student in her class, Yoon doesn’t credit her success to academics alone. Rather, she says emotional intelligence (EQ) — the ability to understand, use, and manage your emotions in positive ways — is what helped her stand out and thrive.
UBC Sauder places a unique emphasis on EQ in its curriculum. The school appeals to individuals who want to build (or who care about) a better future and can help solve today’s biggest challenges, including climate change, social and racial inequality, and societal inequity issues. Doing so requires more than good business sense, it requires kindness, compassion, social awareness, and the ability to connect with people around you.
To help other students make the most of their experience and discover their own strengths, we asked Yoon to share her best (and most unexpected) advice from her time in business school.
Tip #1: be open to new opportunities
When you attend a school like UBC Sauder, you have a ton of resources available at your fingertips. So where do you begin, and how do you make the most out of all the opportunities available to you? Just thinking about it can make your head spin.
Yoon’s answer was to seek out communities beyond the academic spaces, such as the UBC Sauder JDC West Team and the UBC Marketing Association. “JDC West is known as the largest business competition in Western Canada. Each year, 12 schools send out teams to compete in academic, debate, athletics, and social challenges,” she explains. Captaining the team to first place gave her experience under pressure — something that’s hard to know how to deal with until you’ve actually experienced it.
Through the UBC Marketing Association (UBCMA), Yoon collaborated on events, planned conferences, and launched a mentorship program. “UBCMA is actually where I met Dave Carsley, Head of Industry at Google. He is someone I look up to a lot — he’s passionate about EQ, shares practical advice, and also helped me land my internship,” she says.
Yoon suggests students make the most of these networks and communities, and it all starts with a first step. “At UBC Sauder in particular, there are so many people who WANT to help you — professors, the Business Career Centre (BCC), faculty, staff, teaching assistants, classmates, etc. — you just have to reach out,” she says.
Tip #2: be comfortable with being uncomfortable
When you’re in school alongside other ambitious individuals, it’s normal to feel a little out of sorts as you get started. You might even feel some imposter syndrome. But that’s ok. You can’t begin to grow without feeling a little uncomfortable, which is something Yoon experienced first-hand.
“There will be many times when you’re in an unfamiliar environment, but try to learn how to embrace change and ambiguity. For me, stepping outside my comfort zone and joining clubs, taking up various jobs, and talking to people I didn’t know taught me so much about myself and the world,” she says.
Tip #3: be self-aware, kind, and empathetic
Above all else, Yoon’s advice for aspiring students and entrepreneurs is to remember the importance of emotional intelligence alongside the other skills students learn at UBC Sauder.
“Especially in academic settings, like school, one may often measure ‘intelligence’ as how well you do in a course, an exam, or an assignment,” she tells Daily Hive. “However, I believe emotional intelligence is just as important, if not, even more.”
EQ has been a proven tool when it comes to building her network, and eventually landing her dream job at Google. You never know who will connect you to the right opportunity that changes your life, or who you can help in return. “So be kind and empathetic to the people around you,” she says.
During her studies, EQ helped Yoon with relationship building, leading teams, and adapting to changing environments (such as a pandemic). “Heading into my career, I think EQ will play a similar role — it will help me navigate ambiguous situations, improve decision-making, and work towards professional and personal goals.”
Yoon’s time at UBC Sauder set her up for the next exciting chapter of her life. “Product marketing at Google is my dream career, so I’m excited to embark on this next chapter of my life,” she says.
To learn more about the programs available at UBC Sauder and get started on your own journey, visit sauder.ubc.ca/programs.