Putting the “I” in iBBA: Melisa’s Story
Melisa Okanovic’s time in the iBBA program at Schulich is coming to a close after a successful, memory-packed four years! As a globally conscious world traveler, aspiring CPA and current President of York University’s Rotaract Club, Melisa fully embodies the values of the iBBA program with her mix of academic excellence, sense of global social responsibility and entrepreneurial spirit.
We asked Melisa to recall some highlights from her experience with the iBBA program and share her major accomplishments during her time here at Schulich.
Melisa Okanovic, iBBA 2016 candidate
Hi Schulich! I’m a fourth year iBBA student currently specializing in accounting, with the goal of achieving my CPA designation in the coming years. Although our accounting classes give us the expertise to handle a variety of business situations and environments, my particular interest lies in the area of small, entrepreneurial businesses. I’m grateful that through my courses I have been able to earn a technical background that I can leverage in the future to explore my entrepreneurial side.
The main reason I chose Schulich’s business program over the others I had originally applied to was the international opportunities available through the program. By applying to the iBBA, I was guaranteeing myself the opportunity to go study abroad, which was high on my bucket list.
For my exchange I went to Vienna, Austria in the Winter of 2015. Although it’s cliché to say, it really was one of the best experiences of my life, and I would recommend studying or working abroad to everyone, at least once in their lifetime! My exchange solidified the realization that I want my career, experiences, and relationships to never be rooted in one place. It allowed me to put into perspective what I choose to prioritize when making future decisions – and that’s being a global citizen.
To that end, I’ve always loved planning fundraising events! It brings out both my interest in event planning and in volunteering. Through the Rotaract Club of York University, I’ve been lucky enough to host several fundraisers. One such fundraiser was a Speed Dating event for the charity, Children of Hope Uganda. We had 40 York students come out to participate in a fun night of speed dating (quick 2-3 minute conversations with each other) while raising money for a fantastic charity! Another amazing initiative that I’m particularly proud of, is the project my club and I began with the Rotaract Club of Kumasi Polytechnic in Ghana, Africa. With help from our sponsoring Rotary clubs, my team and I were able to gather enough funds to purchase school supplies for over 300 students in a local Ghanaian elementary school. Overall, we’re hoping to contribute over $1,000 in school supplies by the end of the school year!
When asked to share one piece of advice to other young woman considering the iBBA or a career in international business, I urge you: be confident. In yourself. In your ideas. In your opinions. Trust that no matter the situation or challenge, you will find a way to overcome it successfully.