Aly Madhavji (BCom 2012)

Aly Madhavji at the top of KilimanjaroFinancial Services Analyst, PricewaterhouseCoopers

Just a month after graduating from the University of Toronto Mississauga Aly Madhavji was on a plane headed to East Africa, where his parents were born, for the adventure of a lifetime. The commerce student had spent his final weeks as a student preparing for both exams and for  the tortuous and often dangerous climb up Mount Kilimanjaro – the highest free-standing mountain in the world at 5,895 metres.

Despite his careful preparations, Madhavji wasn’t quite ready for what he experienced. “About 15 minutes from the peak there was a clear sky and the sun was shining,” Aly said. “All of a sudden it got really cloudy and there were 100-mile-per-hour winds. It was tough to walk.”

Madhavji and climbing partner (and fellow UTM student) Aleem Kassam, persevered, making it to the summit with help from their guides. “Your jaw freezes, your eyelids start to freeze,” Madhavji remembers. Luckily he had eight layers of clothing on top and seven on the bottom.

If his hike to the top of Kilimanjaro taught him any lessons he could pass on to other graduates it would be that “it’s definitely good to do something out of your comfort zone. The accomplishments are worth it. They build confidence for your future success.”

Madhavji was a member of the U of T governing council while a student, and was recognized with a Cressy Award for his fundraising efforts with the Food Bank and Student Refugee programs at UTM.

Now a senior associate with PricewaterhouseCoopers, Madhavji is also an award-winning writer, speaker and mentor on finding success in higher education. His 2013 book, Your Guide to Succeed in University, has received multiple awards in the college guide and study aid categories. Madhavji also works in a leadership role as a civilian instructor with the Canadian Armed Forces cadet corps.

Updated from a story originally published in the U of T Mississauga magazine.

Read more Boundless portraits or submit your story.