I’m a problem solver. What kinds of problems? Short answer: all kinds. I greatly enjoy the process of dissecting a problem, looking at it from different angles, and tackling it with creative approaches. Business problems involving efficiency, operations, and finance are particularly interesting to me.
When I was a young child, my grandfather often poured matchsticks on the coffee table and puzzled me with all sorts of brain teaser questions. Usually it would involve moving matchsticks around to form varying numbers of squares or triangles. I was adamant about solving each puzzle he put in front of me, mostly because he would take me to the park and buy me a Popsicle if I figured out the puzzle. This later developed into an interest in solving puzzles such as Sudoku, playing board games such as Chinese chess, and participating in my elementary school’s math Olympiads.
My interests for problem solving never faded; but for some odd reason, I thought that I could never make a career solving puzzles. Instead, I aspired to become a CPA and (ac)count things for other people. At age 16, I started my first degree in Commerce at the Sauder School of Business, UBC. Academically, my courses pushed me out of my comfort zone and introduced business case studies at the speed of light. There were many nights I spent highlighting articles from Harvard Business Review, pulling out key information about companies that I’ve never heard of before. Despite the workload, I enjoyed everything about business school. I loved the material taught in lecture, the outstanding professors and their humor, as well as the general competitive vibe.
Fairly sure about my career path, I pursued internships in audit, tax, and corporate finance. For the first two and half years of my BCom, I worked tirelessly toward a full-time position with PwC, one of the big 4 public practice firms. I took on two internships with PwC to try things out. My first internship was in an audit and assurance position, ensuring that my clients were in compliance with financial reporting standards. My second internship was in a tax position, ensuring that my clients were in compliance with the US, Canadian, and UK tax regulations.
In between these internships, I worked as an accountant at a mid-size technology company in the cloud computing sector to fund my college tuition. While I was there, I first learned about how cloud computing could change the world.
In 2015, I decided to try something new. I moved across the globe to be a Business Analyst at Adidas in Germany. The people I met and worked with were fantastic. I reported to 6 managers across Germany and the United States, and learned an abundance under their leadership. In a way, they introduced me to the world of software development. As part of an efficiency improvement effort, I developed a tool to automatically pull data from different ERP systems and generate financial reports for all operating business units using VBA. This tool saved an estimated 35 hours of work per month, landed me a follow-up internship in Portland, OR, as well as two return offers to Adidas in full-time positions. Although I would have loved to join as a full-time hire with Adidas, my tool-development experience rekindled my love for tackling complex problems, and I set sail for a new adventure.
I found my passion through my internship with Adidas, because I woke up everyday knowing that my tool made other people’s work easier to do. I also realized that I needed to go back to school to gain skills that would allow me to employ technology effectively. My goal at the end of this accelerated program is to be able to design processes that use technology to simplify our lives, and also solve business problems. After all, technology isn’t about cool gadgets; it’s about using tools to make life easier.
I truly believe that the intersection of my Commerce background and newly gained Computer Science knowledge is the launchpad for my long journey into self-improvement space (pun-intended), and I’m extremely excited and grateful for all the experiences that have led me on this path.