Fourth-year Commerce student Abdullah Baaishrah, from Saudi Arabia, has won the Commerce Society Involvement Award. This is a new annual award developed to recognize a student who demonstrates outstanding volunteerism for and involvement in the Ron Joyce Centre for Business Studies and Commerce Society events. His fellow students, members of the 2015-16 Commerce Society executive, selected Baaishrah for the award.
Commerce alumnus Jonathan Cormier says, “Not only did Abdullah attend every single Commerce Society event last year, he also made significant effort to contribute and volunteer whenever possible. Abdullah assisted in such ways as the organization and the set-up of last year’s awards banquet and also generously organized group fund raising efforts for the Toronto trip.”
The prize was a complete surprise to Baaishrah.
“I was not planning to attend the awards night because I had a team presentation and the team was meeting to prepare that night. But Danica, who is on the Commerce Society executive, said, 'You have to come you are winning a prize.' I was shocked when I got it,” he says.
Baaishrah says the best part of joining the Commerce Society was not the prize, but the friends he has made.
“Part of the reason I joined the Society was to meet people in Commerce,” he says. “I was shy and I didn’t like to go and talk to people. I am really glad I did because I made a lot of new friends. They give me advice on choosing my classes and on the classes I am taking. It is a different experience for me.”
It was Baaishrah’s father who suggested he study abroad.
“He had a vision for me. He sent me here so I could get a good education,” Baaishrah says.
His father also suggested he might like to study human resources (HR), the management area of Commerce, but said it was up to him. Once at Mount Allison, Baaishrah tried courses in different areas.
“I really loved English, especially poetry, and sociology,” he says.
Baaishrah did eventually decide on Commerce as well as English and credits his Commerce professor Dr. Jane Mullen for helping him decide.
“She sat down and talked to me and gave me advice on a number of things and helped me realize that the HR field was for me," he says. "Profs here, like Dr. Mullen, are passionate about what they are teaching.”
Baaishrah also found two courses very helpful — one was the Sociology of Leadership, where the class was required to organize the Walk for Alzheimer's.
“It really helped me see the other side of the wall. I never thought about what people go through. It also helped me with people skills, such as taking the lead when needed,” he says.
The other class that had a big impact was People Skills in Organizations.
“(Dr.) Sandy (MacIver)’s class changed my life to be honest,” he says. “I loved that course. It really opened my eyes to what I had been missing. When I look back on the time I arrived until now, I think what a great experience it has been and what I have accomplished. I couldn’t have imagined it.”