Doing face-to-face oral history research may not seem like it has a direct correlation to business studies, but Ishpreet Anand (BBA) is confident that the experience he got as an undergrad helped him secure a spot in an MBA program.
Born and raised in Chandigarh, Ishpreet Anand began his Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) degree at UFV India. Two years later, he traveled to UFV Abbotsford as an international student to continue his educational journey.
When Ishpreet arrived on campus, he immediately connected with SASI (the South Asian Studies Institute) where he was provided with an opportunity to become a research assistant to work on the Komogata Maru 100th anniversary project.
Ishpreet worked on a few smaller research projects at SASI, then joined the Punjabi Canadian Legacy Project in its second phase under the direction of Dr. Satwinder Bains and Sharanjit Sandhra. “I feel this is the cornerstone project for my career,” he says.
Focusing on a collection of stories from early 20th century immigrants from India’s Punjab region, Ishpreet was able to travel to seven cities in BC to meet, interview, and collect information from over 100 pioneer immigrants or their immediate family members.
“The goal was to encapsulate each and every detail of how life used to be back then,” he explains. “What were their struggles as they immigrated to a country where they didn’t even speak the local language? These stories are unknown and undocumented so the project’s purpose was to somehow embed the main learnings into BC school’s history curriculum.”
“With Canada being such a multicultural and diverse country, it’s important to increase awareness and acceptance.”
Ishpreet says that he connected to the project on a very personal level.
“I myself am a South Asian immigrant, and I was not aware of this part of the immigration story. We just take a 14-hour direct flight, but for them, it took more than six or seven months, sometimes getting delayed in European and Southeast Asian countries.”
SASI Director Satwinder Bains recognizes the importance of Ishpreet’s fieldwork.
“The work of updating the South Asian Canadian historical record was supported by Ishpreet’s diligence, hard work and enterprising nature.”
When asked how he was impacted by the experience of being a research assistant, Ishpreet responds confidently.
“Being an RA taught me important communication skills and helped me develop professionally as an individual. The experience definitely helped me boost my career.
“The projects had no direct correlation with my degree but through these opportunities you get exposed to different things, discover your passion, and hone your skills. Employers want you to have diverse work experiences to expand your perspectives. Professionally, these projects helped me create a unique story for myself allowing me to stand out from other candidates as I submitted my MBA application.”
Ishpreet graduated in December 2020 with an MBA from Schulich School of Business at York University. He is currently working as a Pathways Operations Manager with Amazon Canada in Calgary, Alberta.
Punjabi Canadian Legacy digitized artifacts and transcribed stories can be found at SouthAsianCanadianHeritage.ca.