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BComm Spotlight

Connect with actuarial mathematics major Darbara Kaushal

February 22, 2024 — 

A BComm student, Darbara Kaushal’s Asper story so far is defined by connection.

He has been involved in Asper case competitions and the University of Manitoba Actuarial Club (UMAC) since he started his BComm in 2022, right as UM students were returning to in-person learning full-time for the first time since 2020.

What advice would you offer to incoming BComm students on their first day at Asper?

DK: “I would say talk to as many people as you possibly can. People at Asper are really friendly, so make connections—with people from the CSA [Commerce Students’ Association], the CDC [Career Development Centre]—but also, with students in your classes. They are all at the same stage as you, and you’ll be learning with them for the next four or five years. One of the courses I took in my first year was GMGT 1010 with many other first-year students. I think I met four of my future case competition teammates that day!”

Kaushal’s participation in case competitions began when an opportunity became unexpectedly available to first-year students.

Tell me a bit about how you got involved with case competitions at Asper.

DK: “In September 2022, when I first started at Asper, there was this workshop, Case 101. I went to the workshop and Howard Harmatz announced that case rookies could apply to participate in ICBC [Inter-Collegiate Business Competition] that year even though it’s an international competition.

“I got selected, and I did the accounting prelims on my own and then competed with my teammate Ben Swistun in the finals. I actually met Ben in GMGT 1010 as well, and I think I’ve done ten competitions with him on my team so far.”

In a twist of fate, Kaushal’s time in the Case 101 workshop became a launchpad for an impressively competitive entry into one of Canada’s oldest international undergraduate competitions of its kind. He recalls a similar experience during his first days at Asper that helped him decide on a major.

Why did you pursue business, and what made actuarial mathematics a good fit for your major?


“I’ve always been passionate about mathematics, but I wanted to do something where I could travel, use my interpersonal skills, attend networking events and connect with others. I thought a business degree from Asper could give me all this.

“I didn’t know anything about actuarial math when I came to Asper. I thought accounting was the only way to engage my passion for math in business school. But I attended a UMAC presentation about actuarial studies called “Do You Like Math?” and that opened this path for me.”

Offered by the Warren Centre for Actuarial Studies, the actuarial major at Asper is unique in that it gives students a chance to complete their actuarial specialty while receiving the broad business education of the BComm.

Kaushal, recognizing the impact of this UMAC presentation early in his Asper career, is now part of the same student group and is working to develop presentations for high school students, introducing them to the actuarial profession. He even met fellow Asper student Rutik Patel, who was at the same presentation and who became Kaushal’s mentor via UMAC’s mentorship program.

Who do you look up to and who has supported your journey so far?

DK: “I have had so many amazing people in my life, especially in the past two years. If I started naming them all, it would take too long, but of course, my parents. They’ve supported me through good times and bad.

“And at Asper, there’s my case teammates, like Ben, and my mentor from UMAC, Rutik, of course Howard, who has coached me in so many competitions, as well as Liea Madariaga, a close friend of mine and a fellow Asper student, who has been an essential part of my journey and has always been there for me.”

Kaushal’s advice to first years (“talk to as many people as you can!”) is ultimately a reminder that those first day connections matter, not just because of what they offer in the moment, but because of what they can grow into in weeks, months and even years down the line, something he has learned (and hopes to continue learning) by experience.

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