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Challenge to Change | Dentist-to-be uses UBC MM to cut her teeth in the tech sector

When Christina Meng decided to switch career goals from dentistry to business, her UBC MM gave her the skills to land a management role at communications platform, Slack.


thechallenge

Christina Meng originally planned to be a dentist.

“I found it fascinating,” she says. “In high school I job-shadowed a dentist for a day and he told me I was the first student he’d had who hadn’t fallen asleep while watching him work.”

Meng stayed on that path all throughout her undergraduate degree, completing a Bachelor of Science with a focus on anatomy and cell biology. But the deeper Meng got in her studies, the more it became clear to her that dentistry might not be for her.

thepersonality

During her summers off from school, Meng worked part-time at Bell Media. A musical theatre buff who’s won awards for public speaking, Meng found the media world jived well with her love of people and performing.

“That made me realize I wanted a future in marketing and business development,” she says.

But transitioning from science to business is no easy feat.

“It’s tough to make that jump successfully without the knowledge or experience,” Meng says. “That’s why I sought out the Master of Management (MM) program at UBC Sauder – it’s specifically geared towards students with no business background to gain the confidence and skills to be work-ready right after graduation.

“Plus, UBC Sauder is known to be such a great school, I wanted to be part of that community.”



theexperience

It turns out studying business wasn’t as foreign to Meng as she thought it would be.

“The MM showed me the business world is a lot more scientific than I expected,” Meng says. “In lots of our classes, from statistics to marketing research, I found there are many variables you need to consider and analyze to make the right choices.”

The focus on strategy over the nine-month program proved valuable to Meng.

“In Ann Stone’s marketing classes I got lots of real world, hands-on experience,” Meng says. “It made me realize how much deep thinking and planning go into marketing.”

With the help of UBC Sauder’s Hari B. Varshney Business Career Centre (BCC), Meng put her new skills into practice and landed a management job in the technology sector post-graduation.

“The one-on-one coaching at the BCC gave me the confidence to go after things I wouldn’t have otherwise, like informational interviews, which I’d never even heard of during my undergraduate studies in science,” she says.

thechange

The MM’s comprehensive business training changed everything for Meng. Now, she’s a Customer Success Manager at Slack, a communications platform that is generating a lot of buzz.

“We’re growing so rapidly, I’ve been involved in quite a few hires,” Meng says. “I always think back to what I learned about company culture during my MM and I look for people who are not just going to fit with the culture, but add to it.”

Meng works directly with customers online and in person, and utilizes her passion for public speaking at Slack events across North America; in New York, Chicago and San Francisco.

“It’s inspiring to come to work every day. I love what I’m doing and there’s no way I’d have found the right fit if it weren’t for the UBC MM program.”