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Why I Chose To Transfer My Life From The Toronto Area To The Telfer School In Ottawa

3 young friends discussing

Bobby Wong

by Bobby Wong

Third-Year BCom, Specializations in Marketing & Business Technology Management

After high school in the Greater Toronto Area, I chose to attend the Telfer School of Management here in Ottawa. Now, I am a third-year Bachelor of Commerce student specializing in Business Technology Management and Marketing. As a student in the Greater Toronto Area, in Markham, there were plenty of schools to pick from in central Ontario.

At the Telfer School, one of the things I value most is the sense of community, and, I didn't realize just how strong it would be. The community here recognizes high-achieving students and supports them by continuing to engage them, whereas friends from other schools feel like a number in a system. 

I am so glad with the choice I made, but how did I end up at uOttawa studying business?

Simply, three reasons contributed to why I chose to leave the comfort of my home and venture off to our nation’s capital:

1. Experiencing a New City

Initially, when applying to programs and schools, my heart was set on a science program, and ideally somewhere far from home, like schools in the U.K. or in British Columbia. After more research, I realized that science programs outside of Ontario were too expensive to be feasible, so I pivoted my focus to more cost-effective options for schooling in Ontario.

So then the question became, where exactly in Ontario should I go, knowing that I didn’t want to stay at home?

2. Recommendations from Friends, Teachers, and Coaches

One of my friends who was my role model, was accepted to Ivy league schools like Stanford and Wharton, but he ended up choosing to attend the Telfer School. He told me about Telfer’s BCom program, and that the school was located in a medium-sized city with plenty of employment opportunities, and he very much vouched for the affordable cost.

At this point, Telfer was on my radar.

After asking a few friends, family members, and teachers for their opinion in this pivotal moment in my life, the key takeaway I received from those whom I asked, was that business was more suited for my personality. Business also felt like a safer option for me, since in science, academic performance is everything. Only the top 3% would actually surpass the bottleneck and make it into medical school. 

Although I was confident in my academic performance with a strong average, I learned that business takes into consideration more of the values I had to offer. In business, it's never just marks, it's your network as a business individual, it's your extra-curricular involvement that demonstrates leadership skills, and it's your motivation to achieve more.

At the time being, I had already taken two accounting courses and a course on financial securities. In addition, I was an executive on several community organizations and president for an in-house organization at my school. 

From all of these experiences, I had refined skills in marketing, relationship management, photography, videography, graphic design, and entrepreneurship. Taking all of these into consideration, going into science would mean I would receive no return on these investments, but if I went into business, at least half of these commitments would be deemed fruitful. At this point, I was sure I wanted to go into business, and uOttawa’s Telfer School of Management was one of the top choices.

3. Affordability and Benefits

To find a school that was in a different city, yet affordable was not easy. I sat through a few podcasts and read a few articles, and realized it's not the school that makes your career, but what you, as an individual, choose to do to make your career. 

The University of Ottawa was affordable and the program was competitive. I was sold at this point, until my friend also brought up the bilingualism presence in Ottawa. He explained how I could be learning business in the next four years, but I could also be learning a new language just based on the environment alone.

When it finally came to the choice, uOttawa was my pick because it was in a different city, it was affordable, I could learn French, and because someone I respected vouched for it.

When I started looking into Ottawa more, I looked at the student life and that was a key selling point. I knew the Enactus team was very good, and that I had access to case competitions because of the school’s participation in events by both RÉFAEC and CABS.

At the end of the day, I believe I made the best choice, and interestingly enough, it was not one that I had initially seen coming. Business ended up being the best program for me, Ottawa is an incredible city with such a personality, and the relationships I’ve built within Telfer have made my university experience more grand. After many reflections with my hometown friends, I am glad to call uOttawa my team.

Throughout my studies, I have improved on my resume through workshops with the Telfer Career Centre, I have sparked an interest in consulting from the Profession of Management Consulting Program, and more importantly, the Telfer clubs have allowed me to make some of  my closest friends I have today. I am fortunate enough to be studying at, working with, and working for a community where everyone is communal striving.

If you are reading this right now, and you are like me, indecisive, multi-faceted, and have no clue what to do in the next 5 years, I would say business is a good place to start. If you want to have all of the experience I have had, the first step is to click accept on your OUAC uOttawa acceptance to Telfer for the BCom program.