Hometown: North Delta
Beedie undergraduate student Manraj Litt’s student experience epitomizes the Beedie School of Business’ ethos of experiential learning. The litany of co-curricular activities he experienced during his BBA degree ensured Manraj would ultimately find his true calling.
Manraj completed two co-op placements during his studies, first as an Audit and Advisory Intern at KPMG. The position used a rotational program, touching on both corporate finance and accounting. Through this, Manraj learned that accounting wasn’t the right path for him, and that he would prefer a role that involves more discretion in making business decisions.
He followed this placement with a role as a Finance Analyst at Procter & Gamble in Toronto. His performance was so impressive that he secured a permanent position in 2016 after graduation.
“P&G is a very results-oriented company where you make your own decisions and are held accountable for them,” he says. “The job was exactly how they had pitched it to me: as a mini CFO. I worked as the core financial analyst for the CoverGirl brand, setting some of the targets the brand has for the upcoming fiscal year, in addition to conducting an investment analysis for the Pantene and Head & Shoulders brands. I never expected to have so much responsibility as a co-op student.”
Through participation in BEAM as an analyst in the materials sector Manraj already had a head start in his pursuit of a career in finance. The program exposed him to the investment industry, allowing him to analyze real companies in which to invest the School’s portfolio. He describes the experience as one of the most fulfilling and practical ones he has ever had, and though he opted not to pursue a career in investment management, Manraj credits his time with BEAM as helping him realize the industry was not for him.
Manraj also exercised his talent for leadership on numerous occasions throughout his undergraduate experience. Starting out as a project manager for the SFU Finance Club’s signature annual event, he decided he wanted to make more of an impact, and successfully ran for President the following year.
In addition to hiring five different Vice-President roles and managing the club’s annual budget, Manraj also decided to focus on increasing the networking opportunities for members during what turned out to be a challenging time for the club.
“SFU Finance Club was my first experience of running an organization, and though it was a very collaborative process in the end most of the decisions were in my hands,” he says. “We were unexpectedly faced with a setback when the funding the club received was cut, so we had to find ways to make up for that shortfall. We came up with creative sponsorship opportunities, securing more funding from CGA and successfully pitching a bank for sponsorship.”
He compounded his stint as SFU Finance Club President with leadership roles in the SFU Punjabi Student Association and as a leader in BASS Frosh. Manraj credits both these experiences in helping him appreciate the value of student engagement, as opposed to solely focusing on academics.
One particular student engagement activity that Manraj is passionate about is his participation on the SFU JDC West team. Competing in the Finance category, he was exposed to case competitions for the first time, an experience he says was invaluable in a number of different ways.
“JDC West taught me how to work efficiently in a group and honed my business acumen and problem solving skills,” he says. “There is also a great camaraderie aspect to the competition. You prep for six months with the same people two or three times a week. It builds a tremendous team spirit, and I have never been so close to any teammates before.”
Having experienced so many of the opportunities firsthand for himself, Manraj was a perfect candidate to become a Beedie Ambassador, a group of top students who represent the Beedie School of Business at high profile events and speaking engagements.
While representing the school at prestigious events, Manraj was lucky enough to hear some of the world’s top leaders offering leadership advice, including Hillary Clinton, Justin Trudeau, and Rudy Giuliani. He also rubbed shoulders with recruiters from some of the nation’s most prestigious organizations, and was even headhunted on several occasions as a result of these encounters.
“There are so many opportunities at the Beedie School of Business that go beyond just furthering your education,” he says. “I wanted to better myself as a student and as a professional, and Beedie offered me exactly what I needed to further my career aspirations.”
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