Lesley So credits the thorough briefing of her Sauder professors in helping her land her dream job - photo by Darin Dueck
UBC Reports | Vol. 53 | No. 5 | May 3, 2007
This BCom comes with a Rolls Royce
By Sarah Walker
Lesley So loves to travel. She also loves numbers, logistics and the creativity involved in problem-solving.
This September, So will combine these passions as a management trainee in Rolls Royce’s leadership development program in the company’s offices in England. With a new placement within the organization every six months over the next two years, her skills will be put to work.
This opportunity presented itself while So was on a five-month student exchange in Manchester this winter. Following the advice of her professors and career counselors at the Sauder School of Business, So did what she has been drilled to do: network, look out for opportunities, and then prepare until you can prepare no more. This put her above the field of 4,000 applicants, and landed her the job.
However, So does not see herself as out of the ordinary. “I think I was more prepared than anyone else. That’s because of Sauder and how they tell you to prepare. I just listened to what I’m supposed to do and it really paid off.”
So followed her heart to UBC, too. Growing up in Vancouver, her home since leaving Hong Kong at the age of eight, she thought she would study medicine. However, her first-year economics elective opened her eyes to the possibility of business as a better fit. In her second year of commerce, a problem-solving class introduced her to the challenges of logistics. To her delight, UBC offers a rare commerce option in transportation and logistics (TLog), focusing on the flow of goods, information and money throughout an organization.
With this new focus, So chose to enter the commerce co-operative program, which offers four four-month work terms. She speaks enthusiastically about her time with companies such as LuluLemon and General Motors (Ontario), gaining direct experience in areas like logistics management and forecasting product demand. This Spring, with her résumé filled to the brim, she will receive her Bachelor of Commerce degree with a double focus in marketing and TLog.
Although excited about the future, So says she is sorry to leave. Her Manchester exchange was an intense learning experience, academically and culturally. Living with seven roommates, she quickly learned cultural cues. “Unlike UBC, no one wears sweat pants to class,” she laughs. “The culture is very fashion-forward.”
Being away also taught her to see UBC with new eyes. She appreciates the beauty of the campus and the wide variety of activities, and she tells new students to look around and take advantage of their time here. “Things are so accessible here,” she notes, “even study space. I wouldn’t have been able to appreciate UBC as much as I do now if I hadn’t been on exchange. What you make of your time at UBC is up to you.”