Management Co-op Student of the Year: Vanshika Agarwal

Vanshika Agarwal

“I’ve become extremely passionate about increasing diversity in business and STEM.”

– Vanshika Agarwal, Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) Co-op Specialist in Finance 2022, University of Toronto Scarborough
 
 
As an international student from India pursuing her Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) degree from U of T’s renowned Management Co-op program, Vanshika lives and breathes a commitment to education and mentorship that values equity, diversity, inclusion—and empathy—alongside innovation and analytical business judgment. She is laser focused on advancing access to opportunities in fields that are traditionally underrepresented by women and people of colour, and she works diligently to connect members of our community with the resources and services that will make a positive difference in the lives of those around them.
 
“Vanshika shines not only academically and professionally but she also possesses one of the most voluminous co-curricular Work-Integrated Learning (WIL) portfolios we have ever encountered among undergraduate candidates. The University of Toronto couldn’t be prouder of Vanshika,” said Christine Arsenault, Managing Director of the Department of Management.
 
A credit to her numerous accomplishments in the workplace, stellar academic achievements, and ardent support of co-operative education, Vanshika also received an Honourable Mention from Co-operative Education and Work-Integrated Learning (CEWIL) Canada among dozens of outstanding students nominated for CEWIL’s national Student of the Year Awards.
 

Vanshika’s Podcast Interview: Everyone’s a LeaderP.S. Talks podcast cover art

 

WIL (Co-op) Experience

Play videoAcross 12 months of co-op employment, Vanshika was recruited into highly competitive finance and sales consulting roles in the banking sector (Tangerine Bank; Business Savings Account Associate) as well as the rapidly accelerating FinTech industry (Canalyst; Product Management – Equity Research Co-op). With operations based in Vancouver and New York, Vanshika joined Canalyst remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic as the organization was navigating unprecedented growth and demand for its product: clean–data modeling and workflow technology leveraged by investment managers and corporations worldwide.
 
Embedded in the product division—“the heart of the organization, enabling me to comprehend the gravity of the engine running the company,” says Vanshika—she worked directly with the head of her business unit and was quickly delegated client-facing responsibilities, including aggressive targets for increasing Canalyst’s prospects within Ivy League institutions. Vanshika was given only high-level direction which she translated into efficient, low-cost acquisition strategies that increased membership to more than 300 participants among 13 top MBA programs while also sparking multiple revenue-generating opportunities. Vanshika established a system to retain and grow client engagement through automated outreach tactics, to the continued benefit of Canalyst’s business development team.
 
As Vanshika’s manager, Canalyst VP of Sales Stuart Ryan, put it, “It’s hard to overstate the impact Vanshika has had on the organization. She single-handedly developed our student program.... it became clear that she could handle anything we gave her! Vanshika didn’t just get into the culture, she added to the culture.”
 

Community Impact & Leadership

Vanshika credits co-op with inspiring her to think multilaterally in her approach to collaboration, and to push beyond her comfort zone. Harnessing the equity research concepts—and confidence—that she gleaned in the workplace, Vanshika competed as U of T Scarborough’s Team Captain in the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Research Challenge 2021, leading a diverse group of peers who presented research and insights to multiple financial institutions.
 
An ardent promoter of equity, diversity, and inclusion, Vanshika’s co-curricular WIL and volunteer portfolio overflows with initiatives to uplift underrepresented students and community members, including:
  • Member of the Women in Capital Markets Toronto Chapter, organizing regional initiatives to promote gender diversity within the financial services industry;
  • Delegate to the National Bank Women’s Symposium, where Vanshika was selected among 30 high-potential female mentees across Canada to receive intensive training and coaching from senior finance executives. She continues to leverage the key learnings and connections in her own capacity as a mentor; and,
  • Special Initiatives Intern and Advisory Board Member with the Accelerate Her Future program, supporting strategic initiatives and national outreach to connect self-identifying Black, Indigenous, and women of colour to launch their careers in business and STEM while building networks of solidarity and action.
Vanshika also served as a Management Co-op Career Coach, providing mentorship to junior U of T Scarborough Management students and empowering them with strategies and tactics for work-term success. By supporting junior students with their application packages and interviewing skills—while also connecting them with recruiters, alumni, and professionals in her own network—Vanshika’s empathetic approach to mentorship has helped dozens of students build their confidence when pursuing co-op and WIL experiences (particularly in the financial services industry).
 

Next Steps

After graduating with her Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) Co-op Specialist in Finance degree from U of T Scarborough Management, Vanshika plans to work in the male-dominated global financial sector and continue advocating for women and people of colour to pursue careers in finance.
 
“Navigating my journey as a young woman of colour in the world of finance—where no one looks like you—I’ve become extremely passionate about increasing diversity in business and STEM,” she says.