UTM graduate Lavan Puvan, class of '10, discusses his full-circle journey back to his alma mater
Can you talk about your work experience since you've graduated from UTM?
In 2009 I did an internship at one of the "Big Four" professional service firms and continued with them after graduation but I soon realized public accounting wasn’t something I was interested in. That’s when I switched to a smaller accounting firm that worked more one-on-one with small businesses. I got to work with small business owners which was really cool. Shortly after I had the opportunity to work for a Fortune 100 company as a senior financial analyst.
What do you enjoy most about your latest role as curriculum support officer at the Department of Management?
I started in February so it’s going to be a year soon. I really enjoy being here because it's where I did my undergraduate studies, and I can see things from three perspectives: I see the student side of things, and I see from the perspective of a student who has graduated from here, and now I’m seeing the staff side of things and working with faculty. I almost even see the instructor side of things. It’s really good because I can bring so many different perspectives into whatever I’m working on.
What new initiatives will be introduced and when will they take place?
The Personal Finance Course initiative is a great idea. I don’t think that any university as far as I know has something like this right now. It will be our introductory personal finance course that covers the basics that anyone would need to know to be a functioning adult in terms of covering personal finance components of their life and it is open to all students at UTM. The creation of the Business Minor is already in motion thanks to Louis Florence's (Director of Undergraduate Programs) vision and determination. The opportunities that will help guide this project along and bring it to fruition are really cool. Both of them are launching in September 2017. Both of them are two new things the campus hasn’t had before and most campuses within Canada don’t have. It’s really exciting.
How did the Commerce Program prepare you for employment?
The program was good in building a sense of community. It’s really good when you have these small class sizes where people start connecting with each other a lot more.The people that I graduated with from here, I’m still very much in touch with many of them and so it created a very strong sense of community even when we all graduated. We are so many years out of university but we’re all still connected with each other. There is always someone I can talk to who’s in a certain field that I have an interest in. The network of UTM graduates has been very helpful in getting different perspectives.
What advice do you have for students graduating this year?
I’m seeing a lot of people diverge from the path that they originally set out for when they were graduating from here. Be open to different opportunities that might not necessarily be exactly in line with what you were planning for when you graduated but that might be interesting or unique. Who knows, you might discover that you really have an interest in it and you will feel a lot more fulfilled pursuing that as opposed to what you thought coming out of university.
This is the first in an occasional series in which commerce and management alums discuss their careers, offer advice for current students and recall their Business School experiences.
Story and photo of Lavan Puvan taken by Sarah Jane Silva for the Institute for Management & Innovation