As a teenager studying in the evenings, Akshay Gupta would look out his window in India and see jetliners taking off from a nearby airport. He would read the airlines’ names, consider where they were going, and wonder if he too might see the world one day.
Perhaps it’s that wanderlust that has brought the 26-year-old to Halifax where he has started a banking career.
“Education was valued at home,” says Akshay, who grew up in a middle-class family. He earned his Bachelor in Business Economics at Delhi University and then worked as an analyst in a US company. He was also active in a small family-owned construction company. “I would do everything. Why pay someone else when you can do it yourself?”
Akshay wasn’t content, however. “I had a mindset of going abroad and enhancing my experience. I wanted to travel and experience everything.”
He moved to Toronto to study for his Master’s in International Business Management, a field he chose because of the availability of opportunities in the import/export business. He had been accepted at a Scottish university as well, but felt drawn to Canada. “I believe in destiny and karma,” says Akshay, who describes himself as very spiritual. He arrived in Toronto in the middle of a January snowstorm. “I remember telling everyone: ‘It’s snowing!’” A cousin had just moved to Toronto from Chicago providing him with family support and he made friends quickly, feeling comfortable within two weeks. “You meet everyone from all over the world when you’re in Canada.”
Looking back to my journey, Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia played an important role to help me reach where I am.
After completing an internship with a US-based company, he moved to Halifax in January 2011 at the encouragement of a friend. “I was so excited as I like the ocean. It fascinates me.” Akshay chuckles at the contrast with Delhi, a city of 28 million people. “And people here are so friendly. A friend from Toronto was shocked people were holding doors open and greeting you. There’s a lot of good energy here.”
Akshay soon found work in a contact centre but he came to Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia for help to find more suitable employment. He worked with an Employment Counsellor, took part in the Mentorship program and did practice interviews in Pre-Employment Workshops. As part of the Work Placement Program, Akshay worked for six weeks at ScotiaBank as a teller and then as a personal banking officer. It turned into a full-time job.
“Looking back to my journey, Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia played an important role to help me reach where I am. Your hard work, motivation and attitude are important, but Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia has done a lot.” Akshay says the organization provides him with moral support, resources and, most importantly, mentorship. “To get feedback from experienced people is invaluable.”
Although he misses his parents and younger brother, Akshay loves what he’s doing. And because of that inspiration from his teen years, he looks forward to travelling around the world even more.