Posted by: Steph | March 10, 2007

Mark’s Answers!

Mark Sy had the following to share:

The Questions of Truth:

1. What is your original platform idea that you are the most proud of?

My idea of establishing different ways of networking is something I am proud of. This is something refreshing and effective. Specifically, I have used the example of organizing team-based activities such as playing paintball, rock climbing, and bowling. I think these activities achieve several goals:
1) They are healthy and active
2) They allow people to be comfortable with each other as they have something in common to talk about
3) They are family-friendly events (which appeals to part timers)
4) FUN!

I am proud of this idea because it weds networking and co-operation at the same time. I think that these activities go beyond merely having chit-chats and allows individuals to show off different aspects of their personality.

2. What is it about you that would suit the position that you are running for?

Being the president of the GBC requires a combination of specific talents. The president must be a good communicator, negotiator and decision maker. He must also be well rounded: academics is one thing, but he must be social and appealing to the outside and to his own student body. A president must first understand his own students before he can successfully represent them. I believe that I possess all these talents.

3. What makes you different from your opponent(s)?

This answer connects question 2 and 3 together:

I think I am different from my opponents because I believe that I am blessed with the talent of being able to connect with people. Throughout my life, I have found it easy to talk to people.

Currently, I have relationships and networks with the second year students, part-timers, my current year and the undergrads. I believe that being sociable cannot be taught. My approach in making connections with people is simple: I talk to them as I would talk to a friend. This is why I like to smile and laugh – it puts people at ease and I think that being comfortable with another person makes things better for everyone. I don’t believe that smiling is mutually exclusive to looking professional.

4. What would your 5150 team members say about you? Name one so that
we can check.

I think that my 5150 team members would find me as hard-working, creative and cheerful. If you don’t believe me, ask Chris Bowes.

5. Have you been active in GBC events? Please elaborate.

I have been involved in the following GBC events:
– Camp Olympia
– Pub nights
– Deerhurst
– Schulich Semi-formal
– MBA games
– Schulich-Osgoode Blood Drive
– I organized “Schulich-Raptor Day” and a meet and greet luncheon with Maple Leafs Sports Entertainment CEO Richard Peddie
– Will attend the TEA Formal

My involvement in many GBC events has given me a good understanding of how things are operated and what students expect. By having given the chance to hangout with the second year students, I was able to absorb and learn about the traditions they are passing to my year. I have also been given the opportunity to meet previous GBC executives and to learn from them. By speaking to the “Schulich veterans” I have been able to get a sense of the theme they want passed down to my year, which is – to live a balanced life and to be involved with the Schulich community.
I think that by having a good grasp of what’s expected, I can take the baton and run with it.

6. What are important qualities in a GBC candidate for your position?

The president must be the symbol of what Schulich stands for. He must be a walking example of our traditions, attitude and values. Because the students voted for him, he must live up to their expectations and earn their respect. It is therefore essential that the GBC candidate has a good understanding of his student body. People often think that the relationship between the president and the students is a top-down approach. In fact, it goes both ways – without a firm understanding of what the students want, the president is useless. I believe that the GBC candidate must therefore be approachable by all levels of Schulich: from the dean to the first year student.

7. Do you have the guts to be a strong voice for the student body?
Give an example of past behaviour that demonstrates courage.

I have the guts to be a strong voice for the student body. I think that being a strong voice is not enough – a better way to be a strong voice is to empower the student body with it. An example I can cite is the work I did previous to entering Schulich: I volunteered to facilitate workshops in Scarborough that helped social workers teach social skills to new immigrants. I volunteered because I felt that I could empower these social workers, who in-turn, will empower recent immigrants. I think that this approach is adaptable in the school setting.

8. What do you think of the quality of Schulich students?

I think the quality of Schulich students is on-par with other MBA schools. We have our strong points as well as our weak points.

9. What is the biggest problem at Schulich? Is it solvable by the GBC?
If so, how?

The biggest problem facing Schulich is the chasm between three groups: full timers who will be okay, full timers who need help and the part-timers.
The problem we are facing is that nobody is pointing out the fact that there are divided groups. We call ourselves one student body but in reality, there are fragmented groups. What happens then is that we propose general solutions in an attempt to solve group specific problems. What you have is a solution that does not help anyone. What all the groups need to learn is that we are only as good as our weakest link. This school lives and dies by its reputation. For every ten “high quality” Schulich applicant, one “low quality” applicant will erase the previous ten from the recruiter’s head. We must therefore focus on helping all those that will represent us.

The part-time students have constantly faced the problem of feeling a “disconnect” with the rest of the Schulich community. It is a big problem for both parties. On the part-timer’s end: they are not benefiting from all the experiences an MBA program can offer. On the part of the school: it is missing out on so much work and life experience.

I believe that these issues solvable by the GBC – I cannot offer specific solutions at this point, but I believe that we have smart students and by working together, we can improve the lots of all the groups.

10. What is the funniest thing you have seen at Schulich so far?

I love the N100 classes – the layout is big and the acoustics are bad. What you get are two people who can’t hear each other, giving the same wrong answer one after another:

Teacher: “ABC, what’s your answer?”

ABC: “Is it Conservatism?”

Teacher: “Incorrect, XYZ, how about you?”

XYZ: “Is it Conservatism?”

Teacher: “ABC just said that”

11. Give 3 adjectives to describe yourself.

i) Witty
ii) Funny
iii) Happy

12. What was/is your favourite class so far? How about your favorite teacher?

My favorite class so far has been Brenda Zimmerman’s Introduction to the Canadian Health industry. I am learning so much from both Brenda as well as my fellow students.

13. Coke or Pepsi?

I’m from Asia – I like Sarsi cola.

14. How much time have you budgeted to your GBC duties (per week)?

I am prepared to treat this position as a full-time job (think of it as co-op) so…about 40 hours per week.

15. What else should we know about you?

If you have any questions, buy me a beer and we’ll have a chat.

16. And finally, if you were a fruit or vegetable, what would you be and why?

I would be a Starfruit. Why? Not a lot of people eat starfruit.
When someone buys you, you know they must really love you.

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