On June 14, we will celebrate the class of 2018 as our newest graduates cross the Carleton University Convocation stage to receive their degrees. To mark this very special occasion, we have asked some of our grads to reflect on their time in the Sprott School of Business.

Chongo Bwalya holding on to the railing on the patio

Chongo Bwalya is a 2018 graduate of the Bachelor of Commerce with a double concentration Accounting & Finance. She is the recipient of the 2018 University Medal for highest standing in her program.

If you could choose one word to sum up your time at Sprott, what is it and why?

The one word I would choose to sum up my time at Sprott is empowering. Up until university started, I saw myself as pretty average. However, one thing that Sprott does better than most schools (in my opinion) is recognize that each of its students is special and unique and celebrate each of our differences.

Specifically, I find that Sprott has gone out of its way to provide students with opportunities to do things they never believed they could. For example, I never thought that I would get the chance to attend a case competition in another country, but last year Sprott believed in me so much that they sent me to Finland, where I won my first big case competition. If that isn’t a school that empowers its students, then I don’t know what is.

What were your goals when you started at Sprott? Did you achieve them?

When I first started at Sprott, my biggest goal was to constantly seek out opportunities to step outside of my comfort zone, since that was something I never did in high school. I truly believe I have achieved this goal. Before university started, my biggest fear was public speaking. So naturally when I started university I took on case competitions because it was a skill I truly wanted to develop. Five years later, not only have I gotten to compete in Ottawa, Toronto, and Finland, but I’ve also met countless individuals who have changed my entire way of thinking.

What is your favourite Sprott memory?

My favourite Sprott Memory was definitely winning the NIBS Case Competition in Finland in 2017. I have been participating in case competitions ever since I was in first year, and NIBS was the last competition I ever participated in. That competition was monumental in my growth as an individual because I was experiencing so much self-doubt during that time in my life. The competition tested me and my confidence in myself in a million different ways, but being able to push through all of that and come out on top was hands down one of the biggest accomplishments I’ve had to date. It was also incredible to meet so many students from all around the world and to learn so many lessons about both business and life from them.

What was your favourite course or professor?

This may be surprising given that my degree is in accounting and finance, but my favourite course was actually Strategic Management. I am extremely passionate about business strategy and I love seeing the different areas of business collide. I love looking at the big picture and I found that Strategic Management allowed me to take everything I had learned in each of my university courses and turn it into something tangible.

What was the most important lesson you learned during your time at Sprott?

The most important lesson I learned at Sprott was how to handle criticism. I think it’s extremely important that we as individuals are able to recognize that we can always improve ourselves and change for the better. My involvement in case competitions and various clubs really taught me how to develop thick skin and take criticism as a method of self-growth rather than a personal attack, and I think that there is a large positive difference between the person I was when I first entered Sprott and the person I am now.

What will you miss the most?

I’ll miss the community. Sprott is filled with professors, students, and other faculty members who truly want the best for you and who are always there to support you in different ways. I can’t even list a favourite professor because I’ve encountered so many over the last five years who have truly changed my life and who have given me confidence in my strength as a businessperson. I’ve never been part of such a positive environment and I’ll truly miss that part of it.

What’s next for you?

After I graduate I’m going to be working at Deloitte within the Ottawa Risk Advisory practice, and I’d also really like to pursue post-graduate studies (hopefully outside of Canada!).

Is there anything else you would like to share with the Sprott community?

The last thing I’d like to share is that your university experience is truly what you make of it. Sprott is an incredible school with an endless stream of resources that can truly help you fly. If you make use of the resources available to you, I believe Sprott is honestly one of the greatest schools you can attend (although I may be a bit biased!).

Chongo

Chongo (far left) with her teammates and international students, right after she found out they won first place at the NIBS Case Competition in Finland!

Tuesday, June 12, 2018 in , , ,
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