SP's Guide to Cracking the UBC MBA Core (Special Edition)

I should have put together something like this a long time ago, like right after last year's core. The reason that I am writing this is to help you understand that Core is really not that bad. Even if all of your buddies and classmates are worrying about the Core, I found it breezed by pretty fast without a lot of stress.

1. Cold Calling:
A lot of people have asked me about cold calling. The professor that does it the most would be Steve in his accounting class(Gosh, I love Steve but he hates me because I always MSN during class while answering all of his questions), where he cold calls every class. If you are a talkative person who like to engage in conversation, you will have no problem with this. On the other hand, if you are a quiet person and would like to sit and listen in class, this could be a problem for you. The following is what you could do,

a) Anticipate the questions that you are able to answer, then raise your hand to answer that question.

b) If you can't find any questions that you are able to answer, then ask a question back to the professor. This shows that you are actually listening to his/her lecture.

c) If you don't have any questions for the professors and you got call on one of the questions, just answer the question appropriately. Remember, there is no wrong answer in business, just one answer might be better than the other.

Weekly Cases:
These cases worth a lot of marks. If my memory serves me correctly, I believe each case account for 2% of your core grade. This is where you can really boost your grade. The strategy that I used was,

a) Always use some big words which is brought up in class in your case write up, Porter 5, SWOT and ....
You should probably have a list of BIG WORDS that you should be using in all of your cases.

b) Check your grammar. If the markers can't understand what you wrote, then they will probably give you a low grade which is still 7.5 out of 10.

c) The mark for each cases looks fairly random but if you are able to be very consistent with your writing and give great analysis/recommendation, the chance of you getting 9+ on all the cases is quite high.

d) Watch out for turnitin.com, the system can pick up any plagiarism immediately. Therefore, don't try to copy last year's case write up. This could get you in trouble.

e) The format that most students used would be, Introduction, External Analysis, Internal Analysis and Recommendation/Conclusion.

Group Projects:
This is where majority of your mark is assigned. The two projects are highly critical to the outcome of your final grade. For the first project, majority of the people left it until very end. It would be wise for you to keep track the progress of the group every week. This is to ensure that the group will not leave everything until the end.

Majority of the assignment worth very little compare to cases and projects, therefore don't spend hours on one little assignment and miss a lot of opportunity to perfect your cases and projects. (Core Professors does this on purpose to help you prioritize your schedule. Don't fall into this trap. I saw too many people spent hours on one little assignment and lost a lot of sleep over it)

The Corporation:
Just treat this like another case. Don't spend majority of you time on this since it is just another paper that you have to turn in. The mark for this paper is highly random. Even if you think you turn in a great paper, the chance of you not getting a 9 is still very high.

I will update more stuff later on. This information should get you through first half of the core without any problem. I would like to thank my special editor for proofreading this entry.


  1. thanks buddy~
    i suffer from the whole bunch projectssssss now...and overwelming coolcold in lecture..

    thank your advice!

  2. No problem. Please forward this blog to all or some of your classmates so they can have an idea on how to beat the Core without losing all of their sleep over it. That's the major reason why I decided to write something like this. It is to help future UBC MBA students to understand that Core is really just an introductory course to business.