September 26, 2021 5 min read

Never one for lying low, Jash Kalyani seeks new challenges to develop his marketing knowledge and fuel his passion. Learn how his international student career has pushed his professional development further.

International Student Life: All About Community

Being an international student and moving to Canada alone in my late teen years, I would say I am passionate about culture, community and integrating equity, diversity, and inclusion-based work with business functions. Given that I have always worked to support myself, having been employed from my second day in the country, this is what drives me throughout my career.

As I complete my undergraduate and transition disciplines, political science to business, my key goal has been to shift D&I work from the periphery to the core of business decision-making. I am a fourth-year student at the Ivey Business School and am heavily involved in the student community.

A Marketer’s Versatility & Resolve

Smiling Jash with arms crossed at campus.

At the onset of the pandemic, being deprived of my community was certainly a challenging time for me so far in this country. With only four years living in Canada under my belt, my life was my community and the sudden pause in March 2020 shook me. I had what felt like all the time in the world and nothing to do with it, all while being in isolation. This type of challenge puts you in a circle of anxiety, overthinking and grief. My way out of it was reconciling and using my core strength of bringing people together to create a meaningful change in our lives.

Yes, I could not organize events or meet in person, but that did not stop me from creating and pursuing a passion project. With grants from Huron University, I was able to generate employment for three other students and develop a Governance, Leadership and Ethics Catalogue of Innovation.

This catalogue of case studies is a first-of-its-kind student insight on how our cities are helping solve the world’s grand challenges. It strategically improves the outreach and accessibility of intellectual concepts. It is now used by the university to boost social science enrollment. As the Research Team Leader, I helped my peers break down ideas into simpler and interactive concepts for larger student consumption and presented the material in three classrooms spanning 400+ students.

During this two-to-three-month period of pandemic life, living without friends or family in a small apartment in London, Ontario, I came to terms with an important realization. This passion project taught me there is always something I can build and create from scratch regardless of my living situation changing or getting derailed.

A Fresh Perspective to Make Waves of Change

Something I find very exciting right now is the overarching and c-suite level focus on D&I goals across the business world. The scale at which it is happening is new and unprecedented. This especially became prominent following the Black Lives Matter movement in 2020 and the systemic disproportionalities of our society unmasked by the pandemic recently.

Every organization I have been networking and interview with is keen to listen to the new ideas and concepts I have around D&I. As an international student, my challenge is to translate this passion into a robust job description and proof of concept within the marketing world.

Jash standing in park and smiling.

Why marketing interests me greatly is because it is a function that enables the implementation of purpose-driven, impactful and empowerment-based campaigns with the potential to enhance the lives of consumers. My ideal role would be where I can tie purpose-integrated campaigns and concepts to a product, service or consumer segment and use marketing and outreach as a tool to empower my clients.

I want to make purpose-integrated marketing mainstream and commonplace. Taking marketing beyond selling products to creating a better world. Specific areas where I think this aligns are cultural marketing, recruitment marketing, brand marketing and segmented marketing. I am confident that my passion will be a greater fit with my job function, that “Aha!” moment for any new grad like me. 

Seeing Leadership, Being A Leader

Dr. Bradford, is a seasoned professor of political science and the Chair of the Governance, Leadership and Ethics department at Huron University. He carved out this department by recognizing the need for a new liberal arts education that is well in touch with the government, business, and non-for-profit. GLE is an intersection of political science, business management and philosophy. I see his journey scaling this department at Huron as a success story because he was able to use his thought leadership to create a lasting impact on the lives of students, both academically and professionally.

I strive to do the same by creating a community of students, friends, and faculty around me. A community united in purpose, passion, and culture. When I first came to Huron, the Indian/Indian-origin population was small. To break the ice between domestic/international and BIPOC/white students, I wanted to celebrate culture together.

Smiling Jash standing in front of Ivey School sign.

That’s why I established an outward-looking club to share culture instead of an inward student society: the Huron Indian Cultural Association (HICA). As the founder-president, I organized an executive team that included non-Indian leaders. As of today, HICA has driven diverse enrollment by 250%. We started a tradition of celebrating Diwali at the Chapel. We hosted SITARA, a social, and the largest Huron on-campus student event with 150+ students. Today, HICA leaders are featured in Huron’s global communication and continue to build community in new ways post-COVID. HICA’s recent fundraiser for COVID relief in India was able to gather upwards of $3,000 internally from the staff and faculty at the institution.

Then there was the Huron Cares Case Competition (HC3) I entered upon experiencing racism at a café. I took the story back to Huron where I wanted to increase EDI efforts. I used Ivey’s Case Method to write a case on Huron+EDI inviting students to make action plans. I turned student consultation into an exciting competition and secured funding from the administration for awards. I invited BIPOC alumni as judges and partnered with the RBC who promised interviews to winners. The competition had 20 teams and redefined the scope of EDI and student collaboration at Huron. Through this competition, I gave my community a sense of empowerment, safety, and togetherness.

Further, for my commitment to the community, I was awarded the Ontario Remembrance Scholarship by the Government of Ontario. I was one of four international students to be receiving this award at Western University in memory of the exceptional students who lost their lives in the crash of Flight 752.

This year at Ivey, I am working to build an Equity, Diversity and Inclusion based mandatory curriculum component that all 600+ third year students will complete as a capstone exercise in April. Not to mention I will be joining RBC as a Coordinator, Inclusive Recruitment Marketing intern and of course, as CMA NXT's Brand Ambassador. 

Why Networking Is Vital

CMA NXT focuses on soft-skill development which is an asset in the marketing and professional world. And networking is a big one. Being able to hone and cultivate relationships with professionals across different industries was my biggest takeaway in my third year. In fact, it is how I landed at RBC as a Flex and Healthcare Marketing Coordinator.

I was networking with a guest speaker at school from EY and we had a heartfelt hour-long conversation regarding D&I. Later when I needed their help in judging the HC3 case competition that I was hosting, they referred me to someone at RBC. So began the referral train: that RBC contact referred me to someone else, which led to someone else who then offered me an interview with someone else and I ended up working in a position with someone else.

Networking is all about building that best relationship and bringing your true self into a conversation with every ‘someone else’ because the exponential effects it triggers can only be explained in hindsight. I am confident when I say that with networking, there is always a happy ending to a story whether that be a few months, a year or even two years later.

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