When Sharon Shamuyarira was determining what she wanted to study in university, business was barely on her radar.
Most of her high school studies focused on science and math, with the exception of one business management course she took in her International Baccalaureate program in Zimbabwe.
“I found it very intuitive,” she said. “I could see how I could apply what I was learning to my day-to-day life.”
Still, when she was applying to universities in the United States and Canada, she applied almost exclusively for their science programs. With one exception: UBC Sauder, where, inspired by the business management course she took in high school, Sharon applied to study business in the Bachelor of Commerce (BCom) program.
Her grades and her experience proved so notable, she was awarded a prestigious full-ride scholarship through the UBC MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program. But that wasn’t the deciding factor for her; Sharon considered two other significant elements as well.
“I was drawn to Canada because it’s very multicultural,” she says. “Plus it has a growing economy so when I thought about where I wanted to work when I graduated, I wanted it to be somewhere where I could build a career.
"Canada was an ideal fit."
Rising to the challenge
When Sharon arrived at UBC, she partook in Jump Start, an orientation program for first-year students, which proved especially valuable to her as an international student.
“To this day my best friends are the ones I met during Jump Start,” she says. Later, Sharon would go on to address 4,000 incoming students as the closing speaker at a subsequent Jump Start.
Sharon doesn’t shy away from difficulty – whether that’s public speaking or bringing up challenging topics in her business classes.
“Especially in my organizational behaviour and HR classes, I felt like I could ask difficult questions and the professors would unpack them for us,” she says.
“It was great to have professors who would walk us through our emotions surrounding a topic and balance that out with logic and reason.”
In addition to partaking in countless extracurricular activities, including serving as co-president for the UBC Africa Business Club, Sharon has also been a teaching assistant for several courses, including Quantitative Decision Making.
“It’s a really hard course,” she says. “So not only are you helping students get through it, you’re providing them with emotional support because they don’t always believe in themselves to make it through the course.”
I was drawn to Canada because it’s very multicultural. It also has a growing economy so when I thought about where I wanted to work when I graduated, I wanted it to be somewhere where I could build a career. Canada was an ideal fit.
Planning a globe-spanning career
Today, Sharon is looking to combine her two specializations in Organizational Behaviour & Human Resources and Business Technology Management, and hoping to land an internship in consulting.
“Consulting would be a good stepping stone for me because it will give me the problem-solving skills, the work ethic and the network to eventually be able to say ‘Okay, I have the real-world experience, now I can start my own business,’” she says.
Though Sharon doesn’t yet know what that business will ultimately be, she knows where she wants it to be.
“I want to return home and make an impact in my community there,” she says.
"That’s what I’m doing all this for."