“It was a big game changer.”
That’s how Allan Ho describes his decision to enroll in Niagara College’s Bachelor of Applied Business in International Commerce and Global Development program.
“And I enjoyed obtaining every second of it,” he says.
The 24-year-old who graduated from Niagara College in 2013 now lives life in the fast lane, dividing time between the Niagara region and Toronto. Fuelled by ambition, he works two jobs; as a financial analyst for the Canadian Armed Forces Lincoln and Welland Regiment, as well as an equity derivatives analyst for PB Investments Ltd. in Toronto.
He recalls how he was a vehicle technician in the Canadian Forces with no business experience or business knowledge when he first enrolled in the four-year bachelor’s degree program at Niagara College.
What sparked his interested in the field? Ho explains that as the first generation in his family to have immigrated to Canada from Vietnam, he witnessed the challenges of poor investments, which led him to become interested in the value of money. “I really took this to heart as I would watch my family suffer through some difficult times,” he says. “I wanted to help but did not have any experience or the proper education.”
Ho became interested in the program at NC due to its focus on the economy on an international scale, and he aimed to learn more about industries highly impacted by the continued growth of globalization.
“With the experiences and education involved with Niagara College, I’ve grown to understand the risk involvement within investments and the impact on industries based on world events,” says Ho.
At the College, Ho grew his knowledge about business fundamentals. “The international factor stood out the most because I was able to communicate with peers around the world and learn about the way business is conducted from different perspectives,” he says.
Ho excelled academically as a President’ Honor Roll, Niagara Scholar and Honours Standing student, and was awarded the Niagara University Scholarship. He was actively engaged in college life as the executive vice-president of the Student Administrative Council, and was involved with the College’s Athletics department as a front desk assistant.
Through a co-op experience at WG McKay Customs Broker, Ho was able to jump-start his future goals, learning about the requirements involved with importing goods and services from around the world.
Ho particularly valued networking opportunities he encountered at the College, through his professors as well as his peers.
“What stands out the most about my experience at Niagara College was the networking and experience,” he said. “College life allows you to experience a little bit of everything.”
After graduating from the College, Ho continued to build on his education with a Master of Business Administration from the Goodman School of Business at Brock University as well as a Master of Finance from the Schulich School of Business at York University. He notes how the connection between Niagara College and Brock University proved to be beneficial to him, making the transition into university cost-effective and less time consuming.
Despite his jam-packed schedule, Ho plans to continue to explore opportunities to acquire as many certifications as he can to further his career in the industry.
His drive to succeed also leads him to take time to reflect on his progress as part of his schedule, cued by an alarm he sets daily for 7 p.m. to do just that.
“I keep pushing for more and better things for the next day,” he says. “I want to ensure that my productivity level is always at a high state and nothing will slow me down.”