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The University of British Columbia has been named number three in the world in a new global university ranking from Times Higher Education that aims to measure success in delivering the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. UBC is also number three in the world and number one in North America for creating safe, sustainable cities. UBC Sauder School of Business is connected to these inspiring achievements.

UBC Sauder Dean Robert HelsleySupplied

UBC Sauder Dean Robert Helsley believes not only that business can be a force for positive social change, but that the business community’s contributions are essential. “If you look at climate change, environmental protection and inequality – the enormous challenges facing us today – it’s clear governments are not going to be able to solve these problems alone,” he says. “We need courageous leaders who are prepared to transform the way we do business.”

The school’s focus is on a triple bottom line that includes people, planet and profits. It sees sustainability as a key driver of business development and responsible business as a guiding principle. “Our unique west coast location enables students to have a pioneering perspective: undeniably connected to the landscape, yet globally minded,” he adds.

For example, Dean Helsley points out, UBC Sauder is the only Canadian school in the Yale-led Global Network of Advanced Management (GNAM), a partnership of leading global business schools dedicated to integrating international experience into graduate management education. GNAM offers students unprecedented access to study and collaborate with MBA peers around the globe, from Lagos to London, Singapore to São Paulo and Bangalore to Beijing.

UBC Sauder’s research and outreach centres include the Centre for Social Innovation and Impact Investing, the Peter P. Dhillon Centre for Business Ethics, the Centre for Urban Economics and Real Estate, and the KPMG Research Bureau. These centres serve as resource hubs in which faculty and students can collaborate with leading international companies, ensuring that students receive leading-edge and relevant education.

Katherine White, the academic director of UBC Sauder’s Peter P. Dhillon Centre for Business Ethics, adds that this kind of impact happens only when ethics and social responsibility are incorporated into every aspect of education. “Getting students to think about social purpose and social and environmental impact is good from a moral standpoint, but it also makes them more strategic in their decision-making,” she notes.

Innovative thinkers and entrepreneurs thrive at UBC Sauder, says Dean Helsley. “Vancouver’s stature as a tech-entrepreneurship hub enables our students to get support, build strong networks and incubate their business in a dynamic, supportive environment. They benefit from access to resources across the UBC campus and beyond.”

The resources include mentorship at on-campus incubators such as HATCH, UBC’s technology incubator and entrepreneurship@UBC, the school’s venture accelerator. In addition, Creative Destruction Lab at UBC Sauder is a seed-stage program designed to help science-based technology companies maximize their commercial impact and benefit to society. Over nine months, a collective of leading mentors with experience building and scaling technology companies set targets for ventures to hit every eight weeks, with the goal of maximizing their equity value.

As international Indigenous reconciliation efforts impact almost every aspect of business, another critically important resource is Ch’nook, the Centre for Indigenous Education. Ch’nook offers a range of programs for Indigenous students, including the Community Entrepreneurship Course (CEC) now blossoming in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. The initial CEC program piloted by Ch’nook in 2017 was taught by UBC MBA graduates Vanja (VJ) Terzic and Ben McDonald. “We’ve had the opportunity to explore the versatility of our education in furthering the business aspirations of others,” says Mr. McDonald. Ch’nook helps weave Indigenous business awareness throughout UBC Sauder’s programs, equipping students with the knowledge and skills they need to bring their ventures to life within their own communities.

“For all future global business leaders, the school provides a strong foundation,” says Dean Helsley. Students can expect close-knit cohorts and a welcoming environment defined by a respectful, inclusive culture. Experiential learning in a world-class city enables UBC Sauder to attract faculty who are world-renowned and yet approachable. “With personalized career coaching and support and an active network of 40,000 alumni around the world, our students’ experience at UBC Sauder is just the beginning – for them and for the future they will create.”


Produced by Randall Anthony Communications. The Globe’s Editorial Department was not involved in its creation.