By: Iugene Ma

A.E. Buchanan

Event planning and execution are one of the most important skills a successful Sauder student will exhibit. This month, we recognize the service of Alison Buchanan as Sauderite of the Month. She has worked tirelessly as an ambassador at the Undergraduate Office. Usually the student body thinks of the UGO as institutional and lacking satisfactory answers to academic advising questions, but Alison believes there are far too many misconceptions.

Alison has served as a Commerce Peer Advisor for as long as I can remember. She selflessly offers her time and expertise to students, as she has had opportunities to try out more exotic adventures in Southeast Asia and study abroad. While she discovered her interest for Business, Technology, and Management (BTM) studying in Vancouver, this Calgarian is very keen on landing a Co-Op position while researching and interviewing from Thailand!

Crosby’s Golden Goal is a historic moment for Canadians, but fewer remember Iginla’s critical assist. In much the same way, Alison is the ultimate playmaker. She works behind the scenes as an event planner for Sauder orientation events, including Jumpstart for international students. Alison leads by example, taking on extraordinary risks and endlessly trying to find the perfect fit. After organizing student government in high school, she participated in Sauder’s First Year Committee to further understand how she could make the most out of her BCom degree. She became a crucial element in developing the UGO into a user-friendly environment by communicating feedback between administration and students.

The Sauder faculty has its share of students who experience the spotlight every day, representing us in the undergraduate society or by constantly marketing their organizations. Alison does not need to be in the spotlight. Her academic honours speak for themselves. Alison’s greatest asset is the fact that she is simply genuine with her peers. “Employers select you for an interview because they are genuinely interested in you. Take a moment to absorb their questions – jot down their point – and then proceed to give a concise answer which focuses on how you achieve a result, be it situational or behavioural.”

Alison is not just a results-driven individual; she does relax and recently picked up squash over the winter break. Maybe this skill might come handy in Thailand. She was also considering studying in Australia, as her main focus was to try something new and to meet more people. She has made it a lifelong goal to experience new cultures – and she has definitely gotten a head start through Jumpstart as the first point of contact for prospective and new students to our world-class business school, and now continues her goal in her experiences on exchange.

“If something is both amazing and terrifying, it is definitely worth trying,” she says. From leaving the cold suburbs of Calgary for UBC to embarking on exchange studies, Alison is living up to her motto. Did we mention she had been contemplating a career as an English teacher before seeing an even more exciting future in the business technology industry? For now, she will settle for an amalgamation. After reducing involvement with the UGO, she wants to teach the Introduction to Management Information System course. Her experiences handling large audiences of professionals have sparked an interest to be a leader for Sauder’s innovative Business Fundamentals course.

If the students are looking up to Alison as an exemplary faculty staff, who are her role models? Alison believes that her mother’s wisdom and love are keys to getting the support that she needs in order to pursue unique life experiences – which, let’s face it, are what employers are looking for. Alison also follows closely in the footsteps of Darriel Dawne, “the head honcho of marketing at SAP,” who has made a deep impression with her. Alison reminds us that it is imperative to give credit when credit is due, simply because you still will not be selling yourself short.

While Sauder students may feel privileged to be a select few of their applicant class, Alison easily brushes off past success. She believes that picking yourself up after a hiccup – be it large or small – demonstrates how strong you really can be. She remembers more about how she has improved, rather than dwelling on static moments of accomplishments, as she will leave that for others to comment. Alison leaves the students with some wise words about their next visit to the UGO: “In order to maximize the utility of your appointments, which are set aside specifically for you, make sure you are asking the right questions. Some information is readily available online. Be careful not to confuse the UGO’s services with the BCC – thoughtful research never hurts.” We thank Alison for sharing her experiences and goals.