Commerce Scholars Program
Program update (January 26, 2024)
The Commerce Scholars Program has been discontinued and will not be accepting additional students. Current participants will continue in the program as planned until completion of their requirements.
Learn how to conduct leading research under the mentorship of a distinguished faculty member.
The Commerce Scholars Program (CSP) encourages you to draw upon the UBC Sauder School of Business's reputation as Canada’s leading research business school. Under the mentorship of a distinguished faculty member, you’ll work as a research assistant, learn all about the research process and sharpen your critical thinking skills.
As a Commerce Scholar, you must stay in regular contact with your Mentor who will introduce you to their research and to the research process in general. In addition, you and your fellow scholars are expected to attend all the program events including departmental academic conferences and research seminars with presentations by faculty.
Margaret graduated from UBC with a B.Com (Finance specialization) with a minor in Mathematics. During her time at UBC, she participated in the Commerce Scholars Program under the mentorship of Professor Dale Griffin, who, along with many other professors including Professors Tim Huh and Harish Krishnan, guided her to and through the PhD application process. Margaret received her MSc and PhD degrees in Business Administration at the University of California, Berkeley. She is currently an Assistant Professor in Accounting Studies at HEC Montréal. She has also worked for the IT Fund of BDC Capital and is an avid consumer of classical music.
“The Commerce Scholars Program helped me discover my interest in academic research and connected me with invaluable mentors who guided me to where I am now. As a Commerce Scholar, I honed communication and critical thinking skills that I still apply to all aspects of my work.”
Bruno works with the TELUS Pollinator Fund for Good, a venture capital fund that invests in start-ups focusing on solutions in the climate, agriculture, health, and education sectors. Bruno sources, analyzes and executes on investment opportunities
He was previously a Research Manager at SauderS3i, where he helped create impact investment strategies for financial institutions, family offices, and corporations. Bruno is part of the founding team at the Social Innovation Academy, a national nonprofit that aims to develop the next generation of social impact leaders.
"The Commerce Scholars Program set me up with the necessary skills to approach challenging, ambiguous, but nonetheless interesting problems with confidence and excitement."
Laura Lam is a PhD student in Industrial Relations and Human Resources at the University of Toronto in Fall 2020. She completed her Master of Arts in Immigration and Settlement Studies at Ryerson University, and her research interest is at the nexus of migration, employment and gender inequality. She completed her Bachelor of Commerce from the University of British Columbia with a specialization in marketing and sustainability. She has previously worked in a marketing capacity with various startups and technology accelerators. On the side, she is a social entrepreneur and active in supporting anti-human trafficking initiatives in Canada.
“CSP fostered in me an inquisitive mindset and fresh approach to tackle tough problems through data and evidence - instilling in me a lingering pursuit to find answers to problems that I see in my community today.”
Florence is currently a User Experience Architect at ITHAKA, working primarily on the JSTOR platform. She got to UX through design, marketing, and business. After graduating from UBC Sauder with a specialization in Marketing, she worked at a web development company in Vancouver doing digital marketing for several years before moving to the US to complete her Masters in Information Science at the University of Michigan. She now lives and works in Ann Arbor.
“The Scholars Program helped me learn how to do and evaluate research, and gave me a framework and grounding with which to pursue problems I am trying to solve. It's given me a lot of insight into how researchers and scholars do their work, which definitely gave me a leg up in my current role.”
Jack is a management consultant at AlixPartners. He works with investors and management teams to deliver rapid step-change improvement in EBITDA and cash performance, often in M&A and time-constrained contexts. His industry expertise spans across industrial and consumer services, healthcare, and financial services. Jack holds a Master of Laws at the London School of Economics, and a Bachelor of Commerce at the University of British Columbia.
“Early in my university studies, I knew that I was keenly interested in the infrastructure sector. The Commerce Scholars Program matched me with an incredible research mentor who empowered me to ask questions and seek answers about investments in public infrastructure - a topic that is often taken for granted and ignored.”
Dennis is a current PhD student in the OBHR division at the UBC Sauder School of Business, where he also completed his B.Com in 2009. During that time he realized a passion for research through the Commerce Scholars Program and has been involved in research work with organizations like the University of British Columbia, Simon Fraser University, the University of Saskatchewan, Statistics Canada, and even a biotech startup!
"Before the CSP, I never expected to set foot on a research-focused career path. Because of the program, I gained firsthand research experience and have since had the pleasure of collaborating with incredible people on intellectually stimulating and rewarding projects. The CSP was the best and most impactful part of my B.Com experience. I would not have the gratifying career that I do without it."
Stefanus obtained a BCom degree with a double option in Transportation and Logistics and International Business in 2016, and was the recipient of the Dan Muzyka Head of the Class Award in Commerce for earning the top marks and standing at the head of his graduating class. He subsequently attended the University of Toronto and completed the Master of Industrial Relations and Human Resources (MIRHR) degree program in 2017. In his final two years at the UBC Sauder School of Business, under the guidance of Dr. Adam Saunders, he participated in the Commerce Scholars Program, conducting an original research project on how the course registration policy at UBC affects student selection of sections within a course and how it impacts the course’s grades distribution. While he was an undergraduate student, he was also actively involved in the complete redesign of a core course in Management Information Systems (COMM 205/391), and contributed to the redesign of a mandatory course in Human Resources Management (COMM 203/392) and an introductory course in Organizational Behaviour (COMM 292). Stefanus currently works as a Workplace Management and Occupational Health Analyst for Coast Mountain Bus Company, TransLink’s largest subsidiary.
“The Commerce Scholars Program is more than just an opportunity to conduct research; it’s all about embracing my passion, building a lifetime relationship, and challenging my own beliefs. It’s where I could focus on a niche subject matter that I truly care about, where I met talented and amazing individuals along the way with whom I could freely share my thoughts, and where I was motivated to constantly question my own ideas and improve upon them.”
Tenant Support Worker at Lookout Society
Jessica graduated from Sauder with a specialization in Marketing. Since transferring from UBC’s Psychology department, Jessica has always been interested in how individuals make decisions. Her passion for Psychology has pushed her to pursue different career paths in behavioural sciences. Jessica is currently a tenant support worker in the downtown eastside and is in the process of applying to Occupational Therapy school in Canada. She is excited to apply what she has learned from Sauder and her previous CSP mentor, Joey Hoegg. Previously, she worked at TELUS Health as a marketing specialist focused on channel strategy and e-commerce. In her free time, Jessica enjoys playing hockey, skiing and hanging out with her dog.
Justin graduated from the UBC BCom program with a double option in Finance and Accounting and was a 2017 Commerce Scholar. Within the Commerce Scholars Program, Justin studied under the mentorship of Dr. James Vercammen and performed a survival analysis of products within the US breakfast cereal industry as his final research project. Justin is now a senior consultant with KPMG in their Vancouver Enterprise practice, which is dedicated to helping entrepreneurs and private companies improve their businesses. He has worked for and with companies in a variety of industries including distribution, hospitality, and real estate.
"The CSP truly enriched my experience at UBC by encouraging me to be inquisitive about my everyday observations of the world around me. The research seminars and conversations with my mentor and cohort provided invaluable opportunities to share my ideas and develop different approaches to solving complex problems."
Ph.D. Student, International Business, Ivey Business School at Western University
Haishan is a current Ph.D. student at Ivey Business School. He obtained his Master of Business Analytics and B.Com in Finance from Sauder and was a 2019 Commerce Scholar. Under the supervision of Professor Ilan Vertinsky, Haishan developed his CSP project investigating the relationship between intellectual property rights protection and innovation. Through the Commerce Scholar Program Haishan realized his passion for research in international business and decided to pursue an academic career. His current research focuses on institutional differences, the digital economy, and emerging markets.
“The CSP provides a fantastic environment for exploring, learning, and sharing ideas with distinguished faculty and with motivated peers. The mentorship and training I received throughout the program greatly support my current research work. I strongly recommend this program to students who are interested in a career in academia.”
Research Theory for Commerce Scholars
Report and research presentation at a student research conference
The six credits will count toward the BCom Commerce electives requirement.
You will work as a research assistant to your mentor over the period of January to August, typically between Years 3 and 4 (based on a mutual agreement) and be paid a $5,000 stipend for your efforts. (Note: the work for research assistantship must be completed when Scholars are in Canada.) All scholars will present their research work at a student research conference in March/April of Year 4.
Upon graduation, you will receive a 'Commerce Scholar' designation on your transcript confirming your participation and completion of this specialized program.