By: Joe Ip

Applying for Positions in Pairs: The Emergence of “Co-” Presidents;

If You Can’t Beat ‘Em, Join ‘Em!

 Sauder is a microcosm made up of talented undergraduate students. As with all human civilizations, evolution is constant and omnipresent, even if we are not aware of it. The concept of working or leading with a partner is certainly not foreign or new. Yet, Sauderites have, by and large, competed and strived to be the sole undertaker of the roles they applied to. With great power comes great responsibility, and Sauder students have generally craved both. Somewhere along the line however, a shrewd student thought to himself: Why should I risk getting rejected by competing against this other applicant, when we can BOTH collude and be guaranteed the position? Thus, the dawning of a new era, when two students take on a single role while also effectively cutting the workload in half.

While proponents of this rising trend may point out the value of task sharing and increased teamwork at the upper echelon of school clubs, one has to question the validity of such claims. For many, club executive positions are merely titles to be used for resume building.

As an old friend once said, “A lot of people are just going to put ‘President’ and leave out the ‘Co’ on their resumes anyway” (Ironic, this friend is a “Co” himself). Whether this actually occurs frequently is a matter of debate. Nonetheless, one cannot help but notice the sudden surge in the number of “Co” titles for 2013 to 2014.  In case you think I am exaggerating the magnitude of this trend, let me just rattle off the top of my head some of these clubs: the IB Club, Enterprize Canada, UBCMA, UBC Consulting Club, BizzComm, ExCo and UBC FLY (considered to be “Sauder” if both presidents are from Sauder) are all led by “Co” presidents (directors). As a matter of fact, I dare say there are currently more “Co” Presidents than Presidents!

“How many Sauderites does it take to screw in a light bulb? Two. One to form the ‘Lightbulb Club’, and another Sauder friend to join as ‘Co-founder and president’.” Although it is unlikely that Sauder will eventually evolve to having Co-co-co-co-co-co-co-Presidents as a norm (regardless of how poor economic conditions are), it is worth keeping in mind that no company will ever hire two employees for a role that can be fulfilled (with equal results) by one person. Furthermore, research has shown numerous complications for an organization led by two leaders: lower productivity (Ex. Joe thinks Amy is going to change the light bulb, Amy thinks Joe is, the room remains dark), decreased communication efficiency, conflicts, hierarchical confusion, point-of-contact confusion, undefined roles, hot-potato responsibilities, and many more.

As disconcerting as this trend appears to be, I encourage all students to apply in pairs; after all, as an avid finance student, reducing “unnecessary” risk (when investing time to apply for a position) at no cost is always a good idea. Besides, maybe one day this trend will permeate throughout society. When my son tells me he wants to be the Co – Prime Minister of Canada, I can tell him that his odds (Note to self: explain concept of probability to son) have actually doubled from the time when I was a toddler.

Joe Ip
The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the original author. These views and opinions are not representative of the CUS or the Cavalier Team.