Normally the torch is passed down through generations. But for the Heydari family, the experience at UBC’s Okanagan campus has inspired a mother to follow her daughter’s footsteps.
Bahar Heydari, 22, walked across the stage to receive her Bachelor of Applied Science in electrical engineering last week, joining her father and cousins in the field of engineering. She chose the Okanagan campus of UBC because she wanted the experience of leaving home, but never thought it would inspire her mother, Mandana, to consider making the move as well.
“When my mom told me she got into UBC, I thought it was pretty funny. Just as I was leaving, she was coming in,” Bahar says. “One hundred percent I will be going to her graduation. I’ll take any excuse to come out to Kelowna.”
Bahar confirmed her interest in engineering through a summer internship with a research and development group in Kawasaki, Japan. Assigned to the defect detection group, Bahar developed programs to test weld points on curved steel pipe. “The pipe we were using was supposed to be used on the Trans-Canada Pipeline. I went all the way to Japan to work on a Canadian project,” Bahar laughs. “But it was great, because the outcome of the research I did resulted in a $7 million investment, so it’s being used elsewhere.”
“My daughter liked UBC. She’s had a really good experience,” Mandana says. “While I was searching for master’s programs, I came across UBC Okanagan's Master of Management program. Going through the curriculum, I felt the program is innovative and new. I cannot wait to start exploring and learning.”
Mandana is part of the Master of Management (MM) program, designed for working professionals around the globe to learn as a community of leaders from each other’s varied experiences while immersed in experiential learning. The 25-month, part-time graduate program launches this July, and will engage students in a rigorous conversation across topics relevant to leading and managing fast-changing organizations in a globally connected world.
She has worked for 13 years at LifeLabs, performing laboratory tests to help healthcare providers diagnose, treat, monitor and prevent disease in patients. She progressed to become a BC Cardiac Manager, before a transfer to Toronto to be closer to family. Although her title changed to Cardiac Technical Specialist, Mandana continues to provide leadership expertise in a variety of areas like quality assurance, training, procedure writing, statistical and billing reports, and safety measures. She saw the need to formalize her knowledge with additional education that would challenge her to develop and uncover unique views about the future of management practice.
“To me, managers and leaders are different. Leaders have a long-term vision with the capability to see small details. Leaders can truly encourage others by positive reinforcement and other techniques. I would like to become a leader who makes a difference by inspiring others, and I feel the MM program will give me the skill set I need to become an effective leader who can make wise decisions and solve complicated problems,” Mandana says.
The MM blends online learning with summer intensives. Students connect, discuss and collaborate using technology through the year, and then augment relationships with peers and professors during the two-week sessions at the Okanagan campus. Mandana says the flexible schedule was a critical part of her decision.
“I have done all my education by distance, and I love it. It gives me the freedom to work and study at the same time. A lot of times you have to still put food on the table,” she says.
And the last twist of generational fate will see Mandana going to her daughter for advice about the Kelowna experience during intensives.
“It’s going to be a learning process. My daughter is my resource for what I need to know, that that will make things easier,” she laughs.