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30 UNDER 30: Akaash Bali, student
High School: Matthew McNair
Akaash Bali has received many opportunities over the years, two of the most significant coming courtesy his father.
Currently in his third year at the Sauder School of Business at the University of B.C., the opportunity to pursue a university education was the result of the sacrifices his dad made.
Bali’s father moved to Canada from India in the late 1980s, along with Bali’s uncle and grandparents.
That’s when Bali’s father began to work as a janitor 16 hours per day, seven days per week, for some 16 years.
Bali recalls only seeing his dad in the mornings, as he was brought to elementary and then high school, and being robbed of the opportunity to spend more time with him.
While his mother was a fixture at his soccer and cricket practices and games, his dad attended only one cricket tourney.
“He told me when he first came to Canada, he wanted to save up money so his kids can go to university and so he can buy a house,” Bali said. “For me, he’s made all these sacrifices, just so we could have a better life in Canada.”
His father’s work ethic, Bali said, has been passed down to both him and his older brother Rohit, who is also studying at the Sauder School of Business.
So they’re paying their way through school by working full-time stocking the shelves at Costco when the school year is over, something they’ve been doing for the past three years.
This year, both he and his brother have been hired as summer interns by KPMG, one of the largest professional services companies in the world.
Among his goals is to become a partner at KPMG, open a janitorial business that his father could operate, and start an Indian restaurant in Richmond where his “amazing cook” mother can share her talents.
Akaash’s father currently works as a front desk concierge at the Shaw Tower in Downtown Vancouver, where his hard work caught the eye of billionaire Jim Pattison.
Akaash and his brother Rohit eventually met with Pattison who shared a piece of advice.
Any career you get into, don’t chase the money, just do what you’re passionate about, and the money will follow.
Who is your inspiration? “My inspiration is my father. Since moving to Canada in 1986, he has been working two full-time jobs. My father told me that if you are honest and hardworking, the opportunities will come.”
What are you most proud of? “I am most proud of the three-month financial literacy program that my brother, Rohit and I co-founded called The Young Investor Program. We have always believed that learning about financial literacy is important at a young age because it will give students the foundation they need to make informed financial decisions in the future. The response we received for our program was amazing, and we are excited about the possibility of expanding the program to multiple cities in 2014.”
What is your advice for others? “My advice for others is the same advice that my dad gave me when I was little: always be honest and be hardworking.”