The one and only Alex Nye, was voted the MA member of the month for recently helping the BCITMA Case Team with a critical element of their big case study. In this interview, we take a deeper insight into who he is as a person, how he ended up at BCIT, and why he chose the MA.
From being a Red Seal Chef, to sheer ambition and competitiveness, let’s take a dive into the makings of your BCITMA Member of the month: Alex Nye!
1) Life before BCIT?
Pretty eventful, I’m 31 so I’m a bit older than most of the people that I go to school with. I’m a Red Seal Chef and I’ve been a Chef now for almost 17 years. I started dish-washing when I was 15 before getting a culinary degree and completing my Red Seal apprenticeship. Essentially, for the five years before I came to BCIT, I was running and starting-up restaurants from the kitchen side, writing new menus, re-writing existing ones, and helping them fix their business issues.
2) What made you decide to start the Entrepreneurship program?
I was getting to the higher echelon of my career and was reaching management positions while taking on a lot of responsibility, but the financial reward was lacking. It was really long hours; like super, long, long hours and I’m not super keen on working for knowledge over reward, so I needed more compensation. With that, I decided that the next step was for me to start my own business, so I started to look into different programs in the Lower Mainland. I’m a really competitive dude, and I was trying to find the best, hardest, fastest, and also the most recognized program. BCIT ranked top in most of those categories, so it was a pretty easy decision to start the Entrepreneurship program here.
3) Why the case team?
I chose the case team for two main reasons. One, is because Ally and Olivia are good friends of mine and they asked me to help. But even before they asked, I was already considering it because as any business student learns, a lot of planning for your future and what you want to do is about contingency. It’s about making sure that even if something doesn’t seem like it’s viable or the right choice for you, that you keep that door open. You always want to have it in the back corner, lined up in case what you want to do doesn’t work out. Because life, more often than not, doesn’t work out how you wish. That was a big part of why I went with the case team. Contingency, building my resume, gaining experience, working. It’s a really good opportunity to get into that high level, high pressure environment where you talk to corporate executives. I’m also super creative and I saw an opportunity to practice that. I knew I wanted to be more active in the extracurricular sector this year, so I’m trying to contribute some of my experiences. I’m one of the older people on the case team, and I think I can help provide insight on certain issues.
4) What’s your role been within the case team? What are your thoughts on Ally nominating you for this recognition?
Ally first came to me about it when we were talking about the MA at the end of last year. Then, my computer completely died while I was in the Sunshine Coast, so I had no computer and wasn’t looking to get a new one right away and I ended up leaving the research team. In October, I felt like I wanted to be more involved and I was waiting to see how my strengths could fit into the bigger picture. It all opened up to the creative position and it made sense that this was the best route for me to take. As for getting nominated for this recognition though, I was actually a bit surprised.
5) What is the biggest challenge and the biggest reward you’ve encountered so far this year?
For the MA, the biggest challenge was around Case and brainstorming the big idea. That was definitely the biggest challenge for us, as well as the biggest accomplishment. It was so challenging because the case that we were given was very difficult. Essentially, we’re trying to get Generation Z to subscribe to the news, which is something that no one in that generation does already. There is a lot of pressure because we absolutely need to make it into the top 10.
In terms of life, my biggest challenge has been quitting smoking. I’ve smoked for about 17 years – about the same amount of time as I’ve cooked. For about a month now, I’ve been smoke-free and it’s been a tough challenge for me.
6) Hopes for the future?
I’m starting a food truck company and I really want it to succeed. I want to build an empire in the sense that I have the opportunity to give back. For me and almost everyone I know, so many people have helped us throughout our lives. I want to be in a position where I can do something like that. That’s the end goal. The more immediate goal is to start my business, make it successful, have a family, have fun, love – all that good stuff. But again, the end goal is to get to a position where I can give back. I’ve been helped throughout my life at so many different times, that would be the ultimate climax to it all.
7) Tips for first years?
Don’t try to do it alone. Use each other. You have so many resources within your network of friends and it’s a shame to see how much people go at it alone and suffer. I understand that some people don’t work that way, but if you do: study in groups, study with your friends, spend time together because it makes it easier and makes it seem less like work. Some people might argue that it’s less productive, but it becomes more productive because at least you’re doing it.
8) Who do you wish was your mentor? It can be anyone – a celebrity, an instructor, a friend, etc.)
Susur Lee. He’s a Thai-Canadian, 3 Michelin Star Chef. He’s won Iron Chef America, Master Chef America, and he has a couple restaurants across North America. When I was younger, I staged (staw-dged) for him. It’s essentially an unpaid internship in a Chef’s kitchen to learn how they do things and learn different techniques. He’s an amazing man. He came from nothing and has made it pretty well off so far. He’s an incredible entrepreneur and businessman and an overall good person.
9) Who do you want to work for someday?
Myself, I’m done working for other people.
10) Favourite song right now?
Some Kind of Drug by G-Eazy.