BBA (Hons), 2012
A desire to improve the quality of his education, and an interest in international experiences were the driving forces behind Beedie School of Business alumnus Carlos Leal’s decision to travel north to study business. The Colombian native now calls British Columbia his home – and has reaped the benefits of a Beedie education ever since arriving on these shores.
As a student, Carlos was immediately drawn to the experiential learning ethos at Beedie, becoming involved with several student organizations. He eventually used his experience to found Simon Fraser Consulting, which connected SFU students with leading consulting firms.
“During my time at Simon Fraser Consulting I ran the successful Consulting with the Stars event, which brought together 150 students and over 20 firms to network,” says Carlos. “This gave me a platform to network and meet business professionals in my area of interest.”
For Carlos, the opportunity to gain work experience through the business co-op program was one of the most valuable things he would gain from his Beedie education. He leveraged the program to land co-op placements at internationally renowned organizations Blackberry and HSBC.
“My unique international background helped me stand out in co-op interviews,” he says. “My co-op at Blackberry was difficult at first because I had no experience in the role, but by being proactive I was able to make a lasting impression and prove my value to managers.”
Carlos undertook two exchanges in Finland and Singapore during his studies. Through these he was able to ascertain that the education he was receiving in Canada compared favourably with that on offer in other countries.
“Being able to understand other cultures while excelling in international Masters-level courses confirmed that my education was transferable across the globe,” he says. “It was an obvious choice to go on exchange because of the scholarships available. I was able to easily connect with employers interested in my international experiences.”
Determined to enter the consulting industry, Carlos partnered with the Burnaby Board of Trade to create a case interview preparation program that helped mentor students interested in consulting – an initiative that ultimately led to him obtaining his current role at EY.
Carlos was also one of the first students to obtain the Business Technology Management (BTM) Certificate, a program with which he continues to engage as an alumnus as a member of the Advisory Board. As Chair of the Board’s Engagement Committee, he supports student organizations such as the SFU Management of Information Systems Association, CaseIT, and InTech.
He also helped coordinate the 2015 BC BTM TalentMash, an annual networking event that connects employers with BTM students. His continued commitment to supporting the BTM program resulted in his appointment to the Talent National Steering Committee for the Information Technology Association of Canada.
He is now an Advisory Committee Member on the Vancouver Board of Trade’s Small Business Council, helping small business owners and entrepreneurs build a learning network to further develop their businesses. As Chair of the Outreach Sub-Committee, he lends his expertise in entrepreneurship to develop partnerships with schools to bring business problems to the classroom for students to tackle.
“Not all students are able to participate in co-op, either due to capacity or GPA,” he says. “This partnership allows every student to be able to develop practical skills you only get from working in a real business.”
His student engagement also impacts on the Beedie community where he has participated both as a judge and as coach for the InTech case competition and for the SFU JDC West team.
“My one regret as a student was not being able to get involved in case competitions,” he says. “Communicating effectively is a difficulty many organizations face. Case competitions address this problem by forcing students to be creative and resourceful to create actionable solutions and develop presentation skills in a short amount of time.”
Carlos states that his passion for mentorship was developed through participation in the School’s Business Mentorship Program. Since graduating he has further indulged this passion through the Beedie Protégé program, Mentors in Business, and the Vancouver Board of Trade – Leaders of Tomorrow program.
This dedication to mentorship has not gone unnoticed – he has been the recipient of both the EY Youth Mentor award and Outstanding Mentor in the summer 2015 cohort of Mentors in Business.
“I did not participate in mentorship programs during my time in school, which would have guided me on where to direct my focus,” he says. “Mentoring current students is my way of supporting the development of tomorrow’s leaders.”
-Written by the Beedie School of Business
Published in May 2016