Kwantlen Polytechnic University accounting instructor Sabrina Rai was awarded with BCBusiness Magazine’s 30 under 30 title last month. Rai has a master’s degree from the University of Saskatchewan and is also a part of the seasonal faculty at the University of British Columbia’s Sauder School of Business. Rai says the honourable title was unexpected and made her feel proud.
Rai has created a data analytics course for accounting students at KPU to keep up with changes in the accounting world. She wanted to be ahead of the curve in comparison to other universities and prepare students to be equipped for changes in the future.
When did you join the KPU community and why?
I joined the KPU community in 2020. The reason why I joined was I was coming in as an accounting instructor. I had a couple of friends who had worked at KPU before. One of my friends is actually Taryn Greig, a faculty member in the accounting department at KPU. So, Taryn and I went for coffee together, and she introduced me to the KPU culture, what she likes about teaching, and what she enjoys about working at KPU. That’s how I kind of got on board through Taryn and her experiences.
I got the idea for the data analytics course before I came to KPU. A lot of things were changing in the accounting world. So I thought, ‘Okay, what is it that we can provide our students to put them ahead of the curve in comparison to other universities.’ At that time, the Chartered Professional Accounting program was changing and they were introducing all of these new requirements for their students. And so I thought, ‘Why not be ahead of the curve and implement this course so that we have a leg up on other universities and our students will be well equipped for future technology or software changes?’
What is your favourite story of your time at KPU?
My favorite memory would be witnessing students grow. I used to teach a couple courses in the introductory accounting level all the way up to intermediate accounting. I’ve been able to see those students grow up to the intermediate and advanced accounting level and then see them land on jobs. What has been my most memorable experience is just getting those emails or those phone calls and students telling me, ‘I’ve landed a full-time job at PwC, or I’ve landed a full-time job at KPMG.’ That has been very special.
I also flew out to India and I spent about two weeks teaching 150 female MBA graduates from Sri Padmavati Mahila Visvavidyalayam, a women’s university. The experience was very eye opening and humbling at the same time because a lot of these females I was teaching didn’t have access to all the resources that we would have access to here in Canada. It was quite challenging to start off with because I was teaching them data and analytics, and a lot of them didn’t have laptops or access to computers. We were trying to create group projects so that everyone could equally have access to the same content that I was teaching. That was very difficult, but it was very cool to see the different experiences you wouldn’t see in Canada and to be able to bond with the females and have that connection with them even on an international level.
Having that opportunity to travel to India through KPU and KPU being able to support me through that, I think that was one of the highlights I have this past summer. I hope to have more opportunities like that where I can travel abroad.
What is something that you’d like to say to people new to KPU?
To new students at KPU, I think the biggest thing is to just keep aiming your goals towards your passions and keep working hard towards your passion. I think the biggest thing is that a lot of students come in with a mindset that they need to complete this program because their parents have told them to go through this. I think a lot of it is more related to your passion. So just continue to work towards your passion. I think a lot of it doesn’t come right away. There’s a lot of ups and downs and a lot of steps that you have to take back in order to get forward. So, I think the biggest piece of advice is when you hear these stories of the top 30 under 30, there is a lot of success behind it, but there’s a lot of failure behind it as well. So just realizing that it’s not easy for everyone to get to that same spot so you just might have your own unique journey to get there.
What are you working on right now?
I am still trying to create a strong relationship with the university that I taught at in India to see if we can have some sort of sponsorship opportunities or other opportunities to collaborate. So that’s what I’m working on right now.
What is something that you would like people to know about you?
This is very random but I teach spin classes part time. I also love traveling and have traveled to over 21 countries so far.