Capilano University introduced its new brand and visual identity to the world this January with an ad campaign on billboards, transit shelters and buses throughout the Lower Mainland. This week, we’re launching a series that introduces the faces behind the campaign, starting with Claire Tallman, who appears in the Discover Here ad above. 

Persistence and self-discipline can be learned in many ways. For Claire Tallman, a graduate of Capilano University’s Bachelor of Business Administration degree, it started at age 5 when she fell in love with Apples, but not the fruity kind.

Apples was a pony she rode at an equestrian camp in Scotland near her grandparents’ house. The camp led to regular riding lessons here in North Vancouver, buying a horse and eventually competing in horse shows across B.C. and the U.S. in hunter, jumper and equitation competitions.

“For years I spent every day, year-round at the barn, and 12-14 hours a day in the summer,” says Tallman. “For many days in the summer I’d be at horse shows. I’d usually be up quite early, sometimes 2 or 3 a.m., to feed and ride the horses before 7 a.m. when the rings opened and the show day began.”

While she jokes that her love of horses was a “black hole of money” for her parents, she says the benefits clearly outweighed the disadvantages. “I learned so much from competing, how to work under pressure, how to manage failure, how to support my friends. Plus, how to strategize, what it takes to be successful and how to work as an effective team.”

Real-world experience

While a student in Cap’s BBA program, Tallman worked at Starbucks, eventually becoming assistant manager. The combination of work and school was a good one. “In district meetings, I was able to understand the profit and loss statements, sales forecasting, inventory. My classes gave me insight into what I was doing at work, and vice versa.”

A highlight of her studies was competing on Cap’s senior team in the Western Canada Business Competition in 2016 and winning, beating out undergraduate and graduate teams from other universities.

“The biggest skills I’ve taken away from my degree are strategic thinking, communication, and being able to present and plan a presentation—a lot of practical things,” says Tallman. “We learned a lot of models in school, but what I truly remember are the skills I’ve practiced.”

Switching gears

Now she’s set her sights on a medical degree, something she dreamed of in high school but never thought she could achieve, and is preparing for the MCAT by taking foundational courses in CapU’s School of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.

“I really enjoy the labs because it shows the numerous variables involved in understanding a problem that a textbook really can’t express,” says Tallman. “It’s not just about the material, but how to conduct each experiment, what to do if something goes wrong, and then looking at the data to understand what it means. There’s so much to explore and learn.”

She dreams of becoming a chief medical officer for a country and believes her degree in finance will come in handy.

“Going through the BBA degree gave me the confidence to realize that I can do it. I want to be a doctor because I love working with people and strategy and decision-making, and while you can do that in business, I really like the idea of doing that in a health care setting. It’s a job you can go anywhere with.”

Tallman’s advice for future students? “Just try things. Sometimes they work, and sometimes they don’t. I’ve had spectacular failures. I remember one riding competition where I was having a perfect round. I was coming up to the last jump and I completely blew it. Sometimes it’s frustrating, but you have to keep trying.”

Submitted by Communications & Marketing
Written by Shannon Colin

 *   *   *

Related links: