Dhillon School of Business, Bachelor of Management graduate Kyra Engang (BMgt '22) wasn't planning on staying at ULethbridge after her first year. What made the finance major and marketing minor change her mind? Find out the answer to that, how Kyra dealt with uncomfortable experiences and what became her inspiring motto, below.
What experiential or work-integrated learning did you participate in as a student? What were your three biggest takeaways from those experiences?
In my third year, I decided to join the Integrated Management Experience (IME) offered by the Dhillon School of Business. It's a two-semester, integrated learning program where a group of students work alongside a non-profit organization in the Lethbridge area. We spent a few weeks diagnosing the problem(s) that were interfering with one of their key business objectives and then worked in groups to propose and implement various solutions; all whilst planning and executing a fundraising event on their behalf. It was the most difficult of all my years of university but also by far the most rewarding. I have never experienced so much personal growth in such a short period of time.
It taught me a variety of lessons. The first one is that the greatest progression occurs in the face of discomfort. Through what seemed like a never-ending chain of uneasiness and unfamiliarity, I realized just how much personal and professional growth I was achieving. "Do uncomfortable things until they become comfortable" became my motto and eventually it became second nature. The second lesson I learned is that hard-work is 100% rewarded. It was actually incredibly satisfying because, in IME, I found that the more effort I put into the experience, the more worthwhile it became. In trying to go above and beyond I found myself gaining more and more material to put on my resume, which truly gave me a competitive advantage when entering the workforce because employers could see that I had more real-world experience than most students. Lastly, I learned how important it is to surround yourself with the type of people you want to be– the type of people who push you to better and force you to compete at your highest level.
What is your most memorable ULethbridge experience?
I am grateful to have had plenty of memorable experiences throughout my university career but the most notable was when I decided to formally reject my offer of admission into the U of A's bachelor of commerce program. It was always my plan when I started at ULethbridge to only be there for a year. I only intended to take the prerequisite courses required for U of A's finance program in Lethbridge and then transfer for my second year. I had this misconception that U of A's business program would be more competitive and therefore, look 'better' on my resume. After I completed my first year, I fell in love with the school! The campus, the professors, the class sizes, my friends– all of it! I'm glad that I trusted my gut and decided to stay. I can't imagine how my life would have turned out if I did it differently.
What is the most important lesson you learned during your time at ULethbridge?
When I committed to forgoing my acceptance into U of A, I made a promise to myself that I would take every single opportunity I could to make myself a more competitive candidate for any employer. In doing so I realized that opportunities exist everywhere but you can't see them unless you are looking for them. Had I decided to switch schools, I never would have sought any extracurriculars, strived for competitive grades, nor pursued any accolades. Yet because I made the decision to actively strive for continuous improvement, opportunities became more and more plentiful.
I think what people often fail to realize is that success is an ongoing process and not a milestone that one achieves. It becomes addicting! You get on the dean's list once and then you don't want to come off it, so you subconsciously continue to work harder to stay on it. You enter into one case competition and you realize how incredible it would feel to win, so you enter into more. You win one scholarship and suddenly the once tedious one-page essay for your application becomes easier to write. So the most important lesson I learned is that opportunities only come to those who look.
Did you receive scholarships and awards? If so, please tell us a bit about how they helped you throughout your studies.
Yes, I am both grateful and proud to have earned multiple scholarships in each year of my university career. These scholarships and awards obviously helped me financially as I didn't have to struggle to maintain a part-time job which allowed me to put more focus on my studies. The more effort I put into my schooling, the better my grades became and the more extracurriculars I added to my resume, which then qualified me for more scholarships! My confidence improved greatly because I truly felt like I was being rewarded for all the hard work I was putting in.
What are your hopes/plans for the future?
I was extremely fortunate to have secured a full-time job with the Government of Canada that commenced immediately after I graduated. My title is Financial Officer, which is a pretty accurate summary of my roles and responsibilities. I am responsible for overseeing the financial activity of a portfolio of clients within Indigenous Services Canada (ISC) in the Alberta Region. Essentially, I work directly with programs to ensure their monthly expenditure is properly budgeted, documented, and forecasted. I provide insight into budget capacities, pull reports, relay current financial situations to headquarters monthly and oversee millions of dollars worth of fund transfers. I can honestly say that I wake up every day thankful for the experience I am gaining in my role and I definitely plan to continue in my role for at least a few years. In five years, I hope to have earned either a CFA or CPA designation or even a master's degree. Any which way I'm sure I'll find myself back in the classroom at some point.
What advice would you like to give those who are about to begin their journey at ULethbridge?
Personal progression and advancement occur most frequently in uncomfortable situations, so do uncomfortable things until they become comfortable.
- Integrate yourself into extracurriculars and find your people.
- Opportunities are everywhere but they only present themselves to those who are looking.
- Most importantly, you can do both. You can get good grades AND still have fun, it doesn't have to be one or the other. University is still the greatest place to make memories, so study hard and party harder.
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