Featured Grad: Aadil Maan
(2010, BCom ITEC Specialized Honours, Business System Analysis stream)
In his own words...
My experience at York was true to its moto, Tentanda Via: The Way Must Be Tried. I strived for an experience both academic and social, outside the bounds of my academic curriculum which allowed me the opportunity to leave the halls of this institution ready to find my own way in the world.
My most memorable moment was the first week of my undergraduate degree. To see the vast and abundant student groups and organizations displayed throughout YorkU campus welcoming new students made me feel as if I had arrived at a true bastion of diversity not just of academics but of thought and ideals. That scene of the sprawling student group booths like many single communities coming together to paint a mosaic of diversity were a perfect reflection of the diaspora that inhabits the city of Toronto.
The interdisciplinary curriculum exposed a fresh mind, such as mine, not just to the vigour of computers but to logic, humanities, and reasoning: that is, perhaps, what was the best part about my program. The humanities courses were a welcomed respite from the 1’s and 0’s of the technological world. Another thing that stands out for me and something I owe my entire career trajectory to was the Technology Internship Program with LA&PS. It showed me that even though I may not have a Comp Sci or Eng degree, I can work in Software Engineering and do amazing things.
My life after graduation....
After graduating in August 2010, I spent one and a half years at BlackBerry as an Operating Systems Project Specialist working on Silicon Prototypes. In Feb 2012, I had the privilege of joining Apple Inc in Cupertino, California as an iOS Engineering Project Manager within the Software Engineering Program Office. Over the next 5 and half years, I was Lead Project Manager for some of Apple’s most crucial features like iCloud Keychain support for 3rd party apps, Two Factor Authentication, Apple Pay on the Web, and Apple Pencil integration with iPad Pro in iOS 11. Just recently, in Dec 2017, I left Apple, arguable my best career years, to join Google as a Program Manager in the Android Things team where we are working on revolutionizing the IoT world.
My degree taught me the ins and outs of Systems Engineering and Design. It gave me the capabilities to approach technical challenges with a very holistic approach and find opportunities and weaknesses to fix or improve so the engineering teams are functioning at full throttle.
My advice for students....
Fret not for what the future might or might not hold. Be bold, take risks, and enjoy these years but keep an eye on the future for traveling a path with a goal is not always ideal. I did a 16-month internship as a Project Coordinator with BlackBerry. It was the biggest risk and something my parents couldn't comprehend that I am leaving university to go do this. That internship landed me my first full-time job with BlackBerry and I knew I wanted to dedicate my career to Project Management in Software Engineering. Expose yourself to the humanities. Learn the art of critical reasoning and logic. As a Project Manager, most of the work you do is troubleshooting at various scales of complexity. These non-technical skills will set you apart from your peers for you can breakdown things into smaller bits and put the puzzle back together correctly.
More Inspiring Alumni
As Senior Director, Digital Analytics and Insights at CBC Digital, Rahim Moosa (BCom ’00 Commerce) needed to have an unusual and forward looking approach. On what provided a fresh perspective, he says "one course that really stood out to me was related to how technology impacts business. It was an eye opener for me and lead to me to discovering what I wanted to do with my life."
Learning to focus, but developing an broad overview made a significant difference. "There were 2 areas that helped me. One was how the courses shaped my perspective," says Mr. Moosa. "It was a perfect model for critical thinking and brought all the pieces of information together especially the course on technology impacting business. The second area was the practical experience that was what enabled me to work. The experience I received from school, meeting people, interfacing and also being employed at York while studying really gave me the practical experience."
David Biskey (BA ’10 Sociology) has had an unusual journey from university to high-flying Porter Airlines pilot. Biskey says that "an education in liberal arts is important because, among other things, it develops your ability to think critically. It develops skills of analysis and articulation, which prove to be incredibly important skills in both your personal life and in the professional sphere. Be sure to think outside of the box and consider careers you've never considered before. Your career path after graduation doesn't necessarily have to fall into the confines of what you think your degree might be directly related to. I initially wanted to go into law in some capacity (i.e. lawyer, police officer), but inadvertently discovered my love of flying later on. Even though you could argue that a sociology degree is totally unrelated to flying airplanes, the skills and knowledge I acquired throughout the course of my degree have benefited me in ways that I would never have foreseen."
Nicole Phillips (BA ’06, MA ’14) is helping work towards an end to violence against women. Using the skills she gained in the Social Work program, she is raising awareness and lending her expertise to victims of sexual abuse. Phillips worked at Athena's Sexual Assault Counselling and Advocacy Centre. She completed her fourth-year practicum at the centre and secured a job as a crisis counsellor a few months later. "I love how I [could] continue to work full-time while earning a master's degree," Phillips says. "I also really appreciate that I [could] pursue additional studies in the area that I am interested in, while gaining new skills that I can apply immediately to my current position."
David Peck (BA ’02 Philosophy) is an innovative social entrepreneur heading up SoChange — a groundbreaking organization that works alongside members of the non-governmental community in areas such as fundraising, activism and capacity building. Peck believes strongly in the Socratic notion that the unexamined life is not worth living. "We need to remain open, to embrace, to include, to challenge our current assumptions and to think about the way we treat others and the environment," he says. David hosts a new online podcast called Face2Face and his first book Real Change Is Incremental was published in 2014.
Derek Lett (BA ’91 Public Policy & Administration) has held a variety of leadership positions in policy development and program delivery in a number of provincial ministries, including the Ministry of Transportation, the Ministry of the Attorney General and the Ministry of Public Infrastructure Renewal. Currently, he is the Executive Director, Conflict of Interest Commissioner of Ontario, Treasury Board Secretariat. He is a past president of York's Organization of Public Policy & Administration Alumni. He has helped to increase the profile of York graduates within government and been a mentor to students through their internship courses.
What's the similarity between captaining a merchant marine ship and managing a high school class? "More than one would imagine," says Religious Studies graduate Daraius M. Bharucha (BA ’05). "In both cases you get to navigate new and sometimes uncharted waters, as well as experience stimulating challenges and exciting adventures." Teaching has always been a passion for Bharucha who, in his mid-30s, decided to leave his full-time job and pursue his life-long dream. He graduated from York, having won several prestigious awards, including a Governor General of Canada's Silver Medal and a Millennium Scholarship.
Marion Howell (BAS ’96) is a Leadership Development Coach and Organization Development Consultant with The Iris Group. She specializes in applying Complex Adaptive Systems Theory to personal and organizational growth and adaption. “It is gratifying to support people who are making a difference in complex systems. All too often very capable professionals confuse the role of leadership and management and struggle with their inability to have the impact they desire. It is exciting to watch people thrive as they apply new learning and insight, and optimize their ability to meet their objectives. ” says Howell.
"To live a life of service, learning, creativity and courageous choices," is Dolores Montavez-Ruz’s (BA ’97) personal mission statement. A sociology graduate and a graduate of the Certificate in Refugee Studies and Certificate in Anti-Racist Research and Practice, Montavez-Ruz carries out her mission by teaching, mentoring and creating opportunities for personal and professional growth for women and underprivileged social groups. She currently works in Training and Professional Development at the YWCA Toronto.
Anees Tobaccowala (BA ’08 Information Technology) worked in IT Strategy/Project Management for a real estate company in Houston, Texas, for several years after his graduation. He completed his MBA in 2013 and is currently working at Accenture as a Management Consultant in the Change Management area. He focuses in the Energy industry in Houston, Tx. He credits his experience at York in helping him to succeed in his career: “York is on the cutting edge of excellence in innovative education. Students are given all the tools necessary to excel in the real world. When I graduated, I felt confident and thoroughly prepared to succeed in my career and in life."
Rabya Mya Imtiaz graduated with a BAS (’08) in Marketing and a Certificate in Human Resources Management. She is currently a Retail Business Manager at Suncor Energy. "What a combination: Marketing and HR, Employers were floored when they heard I was able to pursue both fields through my degree," notes Imtiaz. "I appreciate that students are given the opportunity to build expertise in diverse areas at York, giving them the competitive advantage to truly succeed in today's job market."
"Studying at York was one of the most challenging and fruitful endeavors of my life," says
Arijit Bhattacharya (BA ’08 Economics). "The professors were engaging and really involved in educating and training us for the real world. The courses were designed to bring out the best in us. After graduating, I found that a multitude of opportunities and a wide array of doors have opened. I find comfort in knowing that my education at York has prepared me for what lies ahead." Bhattacharya is currently working at Metrolinx as a Procurement Instructor.
Fausto Natarelli (BA ’84) was the first ever recipient of the School of Public Policy & Administration's Alumni Recognition Award. The award recognized him for the contributions he has made to public policy and for his role as a mentor to students and new professionals. Following his studies at York in 1984, Natarelli joined the Ontario Ministry of Transportation where he has held a variety of positions, including leadership roles in policy, strategic and business planning, communications and issues management. Fausto is a 2014 recipient of the Amethyst Award, the highest honour granted in the Ontario Public Service for leadership, innovation and public service. Natarelli is currently the Director of the Hurontario-Main LRT Project for Metrolinx.