Hometown: Sakhalin, Russia
Concentration: Management Information Systems and Entrepreneurship & Innovation
Natasha Tsoy came to the Beedie School of Business all the way from Sakhalin, an island off the east coast of Russia. Having travelled from afar, she opted to focus her student experience around internationalization – and through global case competitions, mentoring new international students, and helping immigrant women through social innovation, Natasha infused her Beedie experience with a global theme.
Natasha set her sights on attending the Beedie School after hearing from a friend about the School’s focus on experiential learning. Two years later – and after countless hours perfecting her English – Natasha found herself on these shores.
Early in her studies Natasha joined Enactus SFU, a global student organization that focuses on social entrepreneurship to promote positive change in their community. In 2012 she became the external coordinator for the SFU Entrepreneur of the Year program , which helps student entrepreneurs expand their network and secure funding to further their business. The program inspired Natasha to become more involved in student entrepreneurial initiatives.
“It was exciting to see how we were shaping the entrepreneurial community at SFU by creating a support network for people who didn’t just want to go to classes, but wanted to leverage their knowledge to solve real-life problems,” says Natasha.
Natasha then joined Fusion Kitchen, a social venture co-founded by Beedie student Chantelle Buffie to support recently landed immigrant women in obtaining jobs by training them to teach cultural cooking. As operations lead, she worked with the women to help plan and execute a cooking class.
“As an international student, I knew how important it was for these women to gain transferrable skills and relevant work experience in Canada,” says Natasha. “The connections that they created in each class helped them gain more confidence, share their passion for cooking, and learn about Canadian culture."
Having transferred to the Beedie School of Business through Fraser International College (FIC), Natasha knows first hand the importance of having programs and mentors to guide international students through their first year of university in Canada: from navigating BC’s medical insurance system, to learning the differences between the Russian method of education – where testing and memorization is heavily emphasised – and even adjusting to Canada’s experiential learning approach.
She became a volunteer at the student-led Peer Education Program at FIC with the aim to reshape the program to better serve students. The program now serves 800 students per year and won the BC Council for International Education’s Outstanding Program in International Education award in 2015.
In her fourth year at Beedie Natasha involved herself in case competitions, placing third in three international competitions: the Apex Global Business-IT case competition in Singapore, the Inter-Collegiate Business Competition in Ontario, and the University of Navarra International Case Competition in Spain.
“I vividly remember having anxiety during classroom presentations in my first year, so I thought I could never compete on an international level,” says Natasha. “My coach, Kamal Masri, put a massive amount of time and effort into coaching the team. His dedication inspired us to challenge ourselves and helped us reach goals that once seemed impossible.”
Always looking for real life experience, Natasha landed an eight-month co-op placement at the BC Liquor Distribution Branch at a time when it was undergoing a major industry-wide system shift, switching record keeping methods from paper to digital.
“The project gave me exposure to many areas of management information systems, which was anything from system development, to change management, training employees, to working with human resources,” says Natasha. “It made me realize how much I wanted to pursue a career in technology.”
A recent graduate, Natasha moves on from Beedie knowing she accomplished her goal of seizing every learning opportunity possible.
“Beedie gave me an opportunity to shape my professional goals and define my core values,” says Natasha. “I discovered that I am passionate about community-building, learning, and making a difference through social entrepreneurship.”
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