Michelle Ly, Pharmacy Disciple and Healthy Living Devotee

We’re excited to feature our National Young Leader, Michelle Ly, in our August 2016 Leader in the Spotlight.

Having developed an initial interest in pharmacy, Michelle has worked as a volunteer and as a pharmacy assistant in various pharmacies. She is entering her first year of the PharmD program at UBC. Aside from academics, Michelle is a proponent of living a healthy lifestyle. She has previously been on basketball, volleyball and track teams. Michelle also practices yoga and is an accomplished contemporary dancer, who has achieved a certificate in performing arts.

In our interview, Michelle shares details about the B+MM program at UBC, offers advice for aspiring PharmD students and discusses life lessons that dance has imparted upon her.


1. You were previously enrolled in the B+MM program at UBC. What is this program and what are the benefits of pursuing this dual degree program? 

The B+MM program at UBC is a unique program that allows you to combine your undergrad degree with a Masters in Management in a total of 4.5 years. In this program, you will be exposed to numerous courses from finance, accounting, marketing to strategic management. As a graduate of this program, you will understand a business from many different standpoints as well as how to provide value for your company.  Through the B+MM program, you would be working towards your undergrad degree, and simultaneously pursue your Masters!

The benefits of this program are that you save time and attain a degree that fulfills postgraduate qualifications. Additionally, the program helps you develop your personal and professional skills and helps you form valuable networks through creative methods. You will have access to many of their networking events and club activities. Some of these activities are optional while others are mandatory. You will also be collaborating with your classmates on many projects. This wide exposure gives you several opportunities to meet classmates, business owners, special guests from events and much more. Moreover, you enhance your own degree with business basics, which provides you with a competitive edge and opens more work opportunities. While the program is intense and challenging, you are supported by a diverse group of high achieving students and staff.


At a B+MM Networking Event

2. What interests you about pharmacy?

Over the years, my interest in pharmacy has grown as I realized my passion was to help others feel better and live healthier lives. Having worked in various pharmacies, I was able to solidify my passion through hands-on experience and learning. From working in a pharmacy that dealt mainly with the under-served population to working in more “common” retail pharmacies, I saw how a pharmacist’s role and presence can greatly influence patients. Health is an integral part in living happy lives and lifestyle is something that can help patients reach that. To be able to influence their lifestyle for the better and make patients feel better after sickness or disease is a rewarding and meaningful experience. I think it is truly rewarding as a pharmacist to be able to be the front line of contact in any given community and form lasting relationships with patients.

As a member of the PharmD Class of 2020, I am beyond excited to start my journey this fall.

3. Do you have any advice for aspiring PharmD students?

Looking back on my journey of trying to get into the PharmD program, there are a few of criteria that really stood out for me. I think it is critical to stay on top of school and maintain a solid GPA, given the program’s competitiveness. Without a firm set of grades, you may be looking at the rejection letter wondering where you went wrong.

In addition, extracurricular and various experiences are important. Being yourself and showing that your passion for pharmacy are also main components of becoming a pharmacist.

4. You’re a contemporary dancer and earned a certificate in performing arts. What sorts of lessons have you learned from dance, that you have been able to apply to other areas of your life?

Dancing has taught me many life lessons. Through dance, I learned how to better express myself- I learned how to creatively express myself using the body and movements. I learned to feel more confident and comfortable in my own skin; there are always people who are more flexible, who could do more pirouettes, who are stronger than you, but you learn to appreciate the journey of self-development. There is no reason to constantly compare yourself to others.

One of the most important things that dance has shown me is that practice makes perfect. This was a phrase that everybody said and used, but actually putting it into action was one the most important realizations. To this day, whenever I encounter a challenging, scary task, I practice until I am no longer afraid. Some of the other things I have learned through dancing are determination and perseverance. Overall, dance has impacted my life in many positive ways.

Michelle Ly Dance performance

Performing a contemporary dance routine.

5. What has been the best experience of your university career thus far?

There have been so many incredible experiences that I’ve had. Some of the best experiences I’ve had are meeting new people who are going to be lifelong friends. I’ve also strengthened old friendships; we’ve made more memories staying up late to study for exams.

Aside from all the studying, university has brought a lot of new experiences to me. I have grown personally, emotionally and academically. From all the team building exercises gained from clubs and activities like Storm the Wall, to wanting to establish my own club and working through problems that arose along the way, I have not only learned what it takes to work in a team, but I have discovered my own passions.

The past couple years have been challenging, but it has also been some of the most exciting years of my life. With the support I’ve had and the knowledge I’ve gained, I am closer to knowing what I want and to achieving my goals. My university experience has been empowering and I am blessed to have the opportunity to continue learning about myself, others and the world.


Want to ask Michelle a question about the undergrad UBC experience or PharmD admissions? Schedule a chat with her today! Michelle is happy to provide mentorship through our free National Young Leader mentorship program.


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