MBA House Struggling to Fill Beds

MBA House is a residence that opened in fall 2009 located in South Campus. The idea for an MBA-only residence, “inspired by Harvard,” was touted as a big step forward for Sauder and UBC.

Originally, it was meant to be restricted only to MBA students. Now just in its second year of operation, MBA House has actively started soliciting applicants from the entire graduate student population at UBC. This arrived in the inbox just the other day:

“We are happy to invite you to live at UBC’s newest on-campus Residence starting in January.

MBA House, usually available only to those within the MBA program, is pleased to welcome you to apply for residency within our beautiful new facility…”

Sounds great, right? Everyone is always clamouring for the creation of new on-campus residence opportunities for students. Take a look at the floor plans, and prices.

What a great hotel, I mean, residence.

Welcome to the Radisson... er, MBA house.

For $850/mo, suites don’t come with any semblance of a kitchen except a bar fridge and microwave. While not having a private kitchen is certainly not uncommon for a residence, there are usually arrangements made to compensate for this. In the case of Totem and Vanier, every student has a meal plan. For Marine Drive, Gage and Fairview there are kitchens shared amongst every 4-6 rooms. At MBA House, the communal kitchen is shared amongst an entire floor, approximately 25 residents. Of course, the proximity to Save-On-Foods is one of the selling points.

Personally, MBA House seems more like a hotel with frills, suitable for short-term (2-3 months or less) accommodation and less like a place to actually live. It’s difficult to see why this would be attractive to the MBA demographic, or any other for that matter, on year-long leases. People looking for very basic accommodation might be willing to share a communal kitchen with 20+ others, but they would also expect to pay less as a result – the $850 price point is not affordable in this context.

Unlike the majority of student residences at UBC, MBA House was built and is operated by UBC Properties Trust, not UBC Student Housing. UBC portrayed the need for changes to the Land Use Plan as necessary to providing affordable housing on campus and this housing will be built by UBC Properties Trust. They have never defined what exactly “affordable” means, nor given any plans about how to ensure it happens, except to make the units tiny. Looking at what you get at MBA House for the price demanded, I can’t help but ponder another question UBC and PT need to consider: will there be places where people can actually live comfortably?


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  1. $850 a month for a 237 sq ft. unit? For UBC students? I can’t believe this is even legal…

    Posted by Ivo Ciurlizza | December 13, 2010, 7:34 pm
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