Director's Message


This month’s newsletter spotlights our Bachelor of International Economics program, which celebrated its fifth year of graduates in 2021. You’ll meet three young BIE grads who are pursuing paths in law, finance, and consulting, and one of our most recent graduates from last month’s convocation ceremony.


International economics has come into sharper focus and made more headlines over the last two years as the global pandemic has impacted trade, development, and supply chains. Economic decision-making is an indispensable skill that governments and organizations rely on, and our BIE students are trained to effectively navigate a world full of difficult decisions. We’re so proud of their potential to lead, their ability to adapt, and the rewarding careers that await them.


On decision-making, the approaching new year brings with it the traditional time for resolutions. People make personal or professional decisions - both big and small - that can affect their trajectory. Earlier this year, I shared some advice about decision-making with the graduating class and a snippet is included at the end of this newsletter. May it prove useful for anyone weighing a decision.


On a COVID-related note, I recognize the changing situation with the Omicron variant has brought uncertainty to the holidays for many. As a reminder, the latest updates from the university can be found at Despite this setback, it is my sincere wish that you and your families have a safe and joyful holiday.


We have a lot more exciting news to share with you in the new year, so stay tuned.


Until next time,

Dr. Patrick Francois, VSE Director


Alumni News


Ben Horovatin (BIE'21)

BIE graduate Ben Horovatin is utilizing the problem-solving skills he learned in the program as a law student at Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto.

Sylvester Mensah (BIE'21)

Sylvester Mensah (BIE’21) is a Business Technology Analyst at Deloitte, working primarily within their customer and marketing division.

Olga Unigovska (BIE'21)

Olga Unigovska graduated from UBC last spring and is now an analyst with Scotiabank’s Commercial Accelerate program, which trains recent university graduates for careers in commercial banking.





Graduation Day for a BIE Student

We followed Jacob as he received his bachelor's degree in international economics at the November 2021 graduation ceremonies at UBC's Vancouver campus.


Dr. Patrick Francois, on decision-making


Luckily, economics has a fair bit to say about making decisions. One of them I learned in economics and the other one I learned by doing economics. First, the one that you should have learned in courses: if it’s hard to choose between two options, that’s a good thing, it's called indifference. That means both of them are close to equally good and it’s hard to mess up. Just choose one of them. The only thing to do wrong is to not make a choice and to drift. So, make a choice.


Second, I didn’t learn it from textbooks but I learned by doing economics, and by being around people making a lot of decisions. It’s the following: Sometimes there are choices that are going to be really hard to make because the implied life-paths are so dramatically different, and very hard to fully imagine and assess. In that case, we have this great technology to solve these problems. It’s called a coin. You allocate one of the options as heads, one as tails, and you throw the coin in the air. The coin will go up, hit the ground and start to spin. As you’re looking at the coin, you’ll think about the two wildly different things that you might do in your life. You’ll have this little voice pop into your head and say “I hope it’s heads”. That voice has to be listened to.


Be in the next newsletter


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