Suraj was just three years old when his parents enrolled him in BG3, so he is a lifelong Glenner. “Looking back, there were two aspects of Bayview Glen that helped to define me,” says Suraj. “One was the DECA Business Club in Grade 10 and the other was Round Square, in Grade 12.”
Actually, his interest in business and investing pre-dates his DECA days – it began with a stock market project in Grade 7. Just days after Suraj and his classmates invested their $1 million in play money, the 9/11 terrorist attacks occurred. “It was interesting to see the effect of world events on stocks,” recalls Suraj. Despite the selloff, he ended up doing well and one of his stocks appreciated threefold. He subsequently began investing through his father’s brokerage account.
By the time he entered Grade 10, Suraj had heard about the Distributive Education Clubs of America, known as the DECA Business Club, which is an international association of students and teachers of marketing, management and entrepreneurship. Suraj introduced the DECA chapter at Bayview Glen and was the founding President. He went on to present a case study at the provincial DECA competition and won a place at the International Career Development Conference in Orlando, Florida, where he competed with several thousand students from all over the world.
In Grade 12, Suraj was selected to represent Bayview Glen and Canada at the international Round Square Conference. Round Square is a worldwide association of more than 90 schools on five continents. Each shares ambitious goals built around six principles, the I.D.E.A.L.S. of Round Square – Internationalism, Democracy, Environment, Adventure, Leadership, Service. The curriculum at Bayview Glen is rooted in the Round Square IDEALS and therefore it was a particular honour for Suraj to be chosen as a delegate to the prestigious Conference.
“The Conference took place in Scotland, at Gordonstoun, the 17th century school where educators founded Round Square in 1966, basing the organization on the teaching philosophy of Kurt Hahn, “ says Suraj. “It was my first time travelling outside of North America, and it really opened my eyes. I met students from all over the world. We were split into groups that were designed to encourage us to interact with people we didn’t know and each group had representatives from different countries. We discussed topics like global warming, child poverty – and it was fascinating to realize how much impact these issues have in countries around the world, and how people can have such a different perspective, depending on where they live. The whole experience made me become more interested in community service.”
The Round Square Conference was a wonderful way to complete his time at Bayview Glen and Suraj was ready to begin his university studies at the Schulich School of Business at York University.
“Having been at Bayview Glen all my life, the quality of education there was something I took for granted until first-year at university,” Suraj remembers. “While friends from other high schools struggled, my rigorous Bayview Glen education put me ahead of the curve. I had already studied Economics as an AP course, and I was very strong in Business and Mathematics. I was able to spend more time on extra-curricular activities, including the Investment Club, which led me to my career in Finance.”
During his university years, Suraj became the President of York DECA and President of the York Investment Club. He also started a charity group to garner support for Free the Children, raising $10,000 in the first year. Inspired by his trip to Scotland, he travelled to Switzerland and completed a summer internship at HSBC in Geneva, learning about Swiss investment banking and trading. Following this experience, Suraj spent a semester abroad at HEC Paris, Europe’s top business school. During his four months there, Suraj managed to visit seventeen cities, spanning ten countries and three continents.
Upon completion of his Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance and Marketing degree, Suraj was offered a position at RBC in Toronto, working first on the trading floor in Capital Markets and now in Commercial Finance. He is considering starting his own business in the next few years and plans to incorporate a global aspect to whatever path he takes in life.
“My Bayview Glen experience really opened my mind to life’s possibilities and prepared me so well for my university years,” says Suraj. “I particularly remember Mr. Whelan, a fantastic teacher who always found a way to make coursework more challenging and made us look at what we were learning from a different perspective. He was more than a teacher – he was a mentor who pushed us to reach our full potential.”
“To this day, my closest friends are Glenners, even though all of us split up and went to different universities,” Suraj reveals. “Everyone knew one another, because the classes were so small. Classmates became more like family than friends. My friend Dimitri Bury, for example, is like my brother even now. That is because we developed more of a bond with our friends in small classes and we were not lost in an ocean of students.”
Upon graduating from Bayview Glen in 2007, Suraj was voted “most likely to be Prime Minister of Canada” by his classmates. Given all that he has achieved at such a young age, this prediction may come true sooner rather than later!
Bayview Glen is proud to include Suraj Kumar Gupta amongst our Notable Alumni.