Today, Parvathi Subramanyam works in a boutique consulting firm in Toronto. But when she was exploring her education options, she could have landed anywhere in the world.
Originally from Bangalore, India, Parvathi’s interest in economics – and microfinance in particular – began when she was working with several NGOs, one of which helps bridge the gap between potential investors and microfinance organizations.
Not only did the experience give her an early glimpse into the business world, it helped earn her the International Leader of Tomorrow award, which came with a full-ride scholarship to UBC Sauder’s Bachelor of Commerce (BCom) program.
“It was a huge honour to be recognized like that,” she says. “But it was just one of the reasons I decided to pursue at BCom at UBC Sauder; I liked that I could get a well-rounded education.”
A transformational experience
So Parvathi packed her bags for Vancouver.
“It was my first time moving away from home and I moved halfway around the world,” she says. “But UBC Sauder was such a warm environment, it was a very smooth transition.”
When Parvathi first arrived at UBC Sauder, she took part in an orientation program called Jump Start. Designed both for international and domestic students, it helped Parvathi with practical things like setting up a bank account and also helped her cultivate a tightknit community.
“I built an international group of friends at UBC Sauder during those first weeks,” she says. “And I’m still friends with them to this day.”
In her UBC Sauder classes, Parvathi found a similarly international makeup.
“Diversity in the classroom is invaluable,” she says. “Having students from every background who all brought their own experiences, made our project work and group discussions infinitely richer.”
While Parvathi learned a lot from her peers, she learned even more from her instructors.
“My instructors were like mentors to me,” she says. “They helped me gain a confidence in the classroom that has completely transformed me outside the classroom as well.”
In her classes she was introduced to two skills in particular that have proven invaluable in her career: business writing and business communications.
“Those classes opened my mind to a new way of doing things that have made me a far more effective communicator, which is a critical skill in my career now,” she says.
My BCom changed my life by shaping me into the person I am. The experiences I had and the people I met helped me become who I am now.
Putting her BCom into practice
When she first graduated, Parvathi worked at a consulting firm in Vancouver for a year before moving to Toronto. She started as an analyst and was quickly promoted to associate at boutique executive compensation firm Hugessen Consulting Inc.
“Every day I draw upon my BCom,” she says. “My broader knowledge of finance helps me when I’m speaking with executives and board members, and the skills I gained in my classes come in handy all the time.”
While she now works in a niche area of consulting, her understanding of the bigger picture is key.
“It helps that I understand my clients’ capital structure and the forces at play,” she says.
Ultimately, Parvathi’s UBC BCom impacted more than her career, as she had originally hoped it would.
“The UBC BCom helped shape me into the person I now am,” she says. “The experiences I had and the people I met made me who I am today.”