By: Lucy Morrissey

A former international student, after winning a national prize for a research proposal, is diving straight into the working world the program has prepared him to tackle.

Abhay Tiwari, from small-town Panipat in India, won the MRIA (Marketing Research and Intelligence Association) A.B. Blankenship Award for his proposal World War III: Google vs. Facebook. Since then, he’s been offered two jobs and has accepted one, working as an associate consultant at Harris/Decima in Toronto.

“I would say this is pretty close to what I wanted to do, coming to Canada,” he said.

As an associate consultant, he works on virtually all parts of a project, allowing him to explore interests and specialize further.

“My program [MBIR] is highly customized to the needs of the Canadian market research industry,” said Tiwari, who plans on taking the MRIA exam to become a certified marketing and research professional. This exam was a prime reason for choosing Algonquin: by graduating this November and with two year’s work experience, he’ll be qualified to take it.

Students carry out real-world projects and analysis research, said Martin Taller, program co-ordinator, who sits on MRIA’s board of directors in Ottawa. Abhay followed all steps required building a proposal.

“We go to great lengths to make sure they succeed,” said Taller, on the importance of readying students for work in the field. MBIR is a focused study and the first choice for many students, being a graduate studies program, he added.

“He understood how to bring the problem to its simplest solution and raise the bar in his case analysis,” said Taller, who described Tiwari as “inquisitive.”
It’s the first time a student from the program, fresh in its fourth year, has won the award. One student from each competing school submitted a proposal. Tiwari was short-listed.

From there, he presented it online and then to a panel of 10 judges, answered their questions, and prevailed over the competition. He was in contact with interested industry professionals soon after.

Tiwari was a peer-tutor, worked at the bookstore and suggests students get involved at the school but also step outside.“MRIA Ottawa’s chapter is very active,” he said, encouraging students to sit in on a keynote speaker. “Get your questions ready and make an impression.”

Tiwari completed his Bachelor’s in electrical engineering and an MBA in India. He worked at a bank and taught marketing-related university courses, before searching for U.S. and Canadian programs that would allow him to specialize in market research and data analysis.

“He made me and my entire family [in India] very proud,” said wife Richa Singh, on Tiwari’s grades, the award and the job prospects to follow.

Tiwari said he was “dubious” how well he would do, adjusting to life and studying in Canada. However, student support at the college and family members accommodating him in Ottawa have been helpful throughout the transition, he said, and the program has prepared him to move forward.

“His story can motivate all kinds of students,” said Antonio Aragon, assistant manager of international marketing and recruitment for Algonquin. “It’s inspiring Canadian students to seek international experience [and demonstrates for international students] as long as you’re dedicated and show you have the skills and capacity to succeed in Canada, you will.”