Beedie Talks: MBAs learning over lunch

Apr 23, 2014

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By Tako Young.

On a typical weekday lunchtime, one can expect waves of MBA students at the Beedie School of Business to flood out of the lecture room to take a well-deserved lunch break. Recently, however, scores of eager students have stayed put in the classroom to continue their learning experience – this time to glean knowledge from their own classmates.

MBA students at the Beedie School of Business have introduced a series of lunchtime lectures to learn about their peers' personal work experience in a wide range of industries.

MBA students at the Beedie School of Business have introduced a series of lunchtime lectures to learn about their peers’ personal work experience in a wide range of industries.

Inspired by the popular TED conference, which this year made Vancouver its new home, the Beedie MBA students have introduced a series of lunchtime lectures, delivered by the students about a range of industries in which they have personal experience.

The series of organized, interactive sessions has been taking place every Thursday at the Segal Graduate School since March 2014, and is the brainchild of current MBA student Anil Patel.

Patel realized that he had been learning about different industries from his classmates since the MBA cohort first gathered in September 2013. With each student possessing an average of over five years’ of professional experience prior to starting their MBA, he decided he wanted to formalize the learning procedure, providing the opportunity for everyone to learn from their peers’ experience.

“After gaining bits and pieces of knowledge from my classmates, an idea of sharing applicable knowledge with a bigger crowd burst forth in my mind,” says Patel. “My peers from school have extremely diverse backgrounds – from automotive industry to working as a librarian to being a travel insider.”

These “Lunch ‘n’ Learn” lectures were initially intended solely for the current MBA cohort. Word soon spread, however, and the lectures now welcome a mixture of students from both the MBA and the MOT MBA programs, with even some Beedie faculty in attendance.

“These TED-style entertaining and informative talks take place during lunch breaks, so they aren’t extracurricular burdens on top of our already-intensive schedule,” says Patel. “Even though you might not be necessarily interested in a certain topic beforehand, you still learn something by listening to the speakers.”

One of the speakers, Saleem Husain, whose background in structural engineering provided the basis for his talk, opted to focus on how project management is applied to the engineering industry.

Starting his session with an intriguing video about an airplane crash that occurred in 1988, Husain grabbed the class’ attention by revealing that the cause of the accident was a tiny hairline crack in the plane’s fuselage. This revelation consequently resulted in an engaging session with a multitude of questions from the audience.

“It was this very video that helped me discover my passion for engineering, and it was very refreshing to go through it again,” says Husain. “Sharing our professional backgrounds and life experiences in this intimate setting helps strengthen the bond of friendship amongst the cohort, and provides a lot of inside industry advice that we would never otherwise have the chance to learn.”

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