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How a UofGH alumnus scored his dream job

Aditaya Sharma tosses a soccer ball in the air

When Aditaya Sharma was a Business student at the University of Guelph-Humber, he envisioned himself one day working on Bay Street – but he could never have imagined marching down Bay Street as part of a triumphant championship parade.

So it felt suitably surreal when the UofGH alumnus, who is Manager of Finance with Toronto FC, found himself celebrating winning the 2017 MLS Cup alongside the players, management and staff of the Major League Soccer franchise.

“The thing that nobody can ever take away from me is participating in that parade. Going down Bay Street was an unreal experience,” Aditaya recalled recently.

“For someone who works in finance, you would never think you’d get the opportunity to be part of a parade like that, to see tons of people in Toronto cheering your team, and to just be a part of it. It was unreal, from the parade to being on stage with the rest of the team at City Hall.

“Everybody in this organization is one family, so we all participated in that championship.”

The celebration was just another encouraging chapter in Aditaya’s exciting young career.

His post-secondary education did not begin at UofGH, but at a much bigger institution. After two years, he came to the realization that the university, with a sprawling campus and big class sizes, was not a good fit for him.

Having grown up in Toronto only a 15-minute walk from UofGH, he was familiar with what the campus and program had to offer. After further speaking with many students and faculty staff at UofGH, it was an easy decision to transfer here.

Prospective students who are considering a similar path are encouraged to register for the Transfer Applicant Webinar on April 25, where admissions staff will present a live webinar covering admission requirements, potential transfer credits and scholarships.

A close-up of Sharma's Toronto FC pin

In Aditaya’s case, he knew immediately upon starting at UofGH that he had made the right decision.

“Going from a big university where you have a couple hundred students in a classroom and you can’t really bond with anybody, to a small classroom where it’s almost like a family, that was ideal for me,” he said.

“You really get to know your professors, and that truly makes a difference because you get to learn from them. If an assignment goes wrong, you can fall back and say: ‘Hey, what happened here?’ That was the biggest thing I noticed early on.”

Immediately after graduating, Aditaya began working at an accounting firm in Guelph. He enjoyed the work, but found the commute difficult. During his time at the firm, he was playing pickup basketball every week in downtown Toronto. It was through a connection made on the basketball court that his resume wound up with someone at KPMG – one of the Big Four audit firms – who called Aditaya for an interview, and soon he would secure a job there.

During three years working in KPMG’s Technology, Media and Telecommunications audit group, Aditaya obtained his Chartered Accountant designation and ascended to the role of Senior Accountant. When the opportunity of joining a prestigious sports organization in Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment (MLSE) presented itself, Aditaya jumped at the opportunity to have his passion for sports and his business acumen come together.

Entering MLSE to work for Toronto FC as a Senior Accountant, his portfolio has gradually expanded since being promoted to Manager of Finance. His responsibilities revolve around Toronto FC, Toronto FC II and Toronto FC Academy. Aditaya performs many tasks including financial planning and analysis, budgeting, daily accounting, and league reporting. Not only does he maintain the financials for team operations, he is also responsible for maintaining the business side of Toronto FC including ticketing, global partnerships, and marketing.

Aditaya Sharma relaxes on a couch in the Toronto FC lounge

“This role was something I was really ambitious about,” Aditaya said.

“My portfolio is pretty robust, but it’s all soccer related. MLS in general is rapidly growing in North America which makes me feel that there was a lot of opportunity here. I felt there was a lot to learn, but also a lot to give back through my finance knowledge, and being able to put my mark on something and make a difference.”

Looking back, Aditaya sees a link between the networking skills he developed as a student at UofGH and his ability to make those valuable professional connections.

“What differentiated me and what I got out of Guelph-Humber that I wouldn’t have got out of another school are the soft skills – the skills to be able to give a presentation, to be able to converse with individuals and overall being able to adapt to different personalities,” he reflected.

“At other universities, there are so many students in the classes, you really don’t want to talk to the person beside you because you’re probably never going to sit beside them ever again. At Guelph-Humber, you’re going to sit beside these people every day and even do group assignments together. You’re going to need to get to know them.

 “I think gaining and developing those soft skills was key.”