Making an investment in a smart education

By Anasuya Kesavan, Marketing and Communication

Photo by David Denofreo

Kim Banh knows the value of a dollar—and of a good education. Growing up on a tight budget with his single mom, who worked at a fast-food joint to support three children, taught him financial-planning skills. He used it to plan his education in Commerce and Business Administration and realize his dream of graduating from a university with the Douglas College-SFU degree program.

On completing high school, Kim dreamed of a university degree and a steady career. However, with more than one part-time job, he had to balance his time and resources. After doing extensive research on B.C. post-secondary institutions, Kim chose Douglas because he wanted to maximize his return on investment and chalk a straightforward path to university.

“I always wanted to study at UBC or SFU,” he says, “but, I had to balance the cost and my work hours.  I chose Douglas because the cost of tuition, class size and university transferability were very appealing.”

Kim took the Douglas College-SFU dual-degree program and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Economics from SFU. He says the one-on-one time with instructors at Douglas helped him do well in his courses.

 “Getting access to instructors is very important in the initial years. Douglas is a close community, and it’s easier to reach out for help.”

Despite a busy work-school schedule, Kim started volunteering as a Student Ambassador, which refined his skills in public speaking, event planning and marketing. One thing led to another as Kim took on the role of Marketing and Promotions Assistant for Douglas Student Life. He says it gave him the confidence to give presentations to large audiences and taught him negotiation and team-building skills. It also helped him find a part-time job as a Financial Planner.

“My education and experience at Douglas College has given me the knowledge, skills, confidence and poise to deal with all sorts of clients,” says Kim. “I really do owe a lot of my success to Douglas College, my instructors and the mentors that I’ve met here, and the friends that I’ve made.”

Today, Kim is a confident young banker, with a full-time job as a Financial Planner at RBC Financial Planning. At some point, he plans to get an MBA. He offers this advice to students who want to excel in their studies – and in life: “You can’t get anywhere without working hard. Keep your grades up. Get involved and volunteer in the community.”

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