Award-winning business student finds his stride at Lakehead

June 26, 2014

In real estate circles, experts often sing the praises of a property with three key words: location, location, location.

For Ryan Provost, that same principle applied to post-secondary education. The graduate of Eastview Secondary School in Barrie who dreamed of a career in business, but was keenly aware of the bottom line, wanted to limit costs by attending university close to home.

So, after taking a year off to work and save some money, he was thrilled when he was accepted into Lakehead University’s Honours Bachelor of Commerce program.

“To be honest, the main reason I came was the location,” said Provost, who graduates this year. “I really liked the idea of being able to live at home and I was amazed at the small class sizes.”

He was also amazed when he won Lakehead Orillia’s President’s Golf Tournament Business Award – a $5,000 award funded through the University’s highly successful annual golf tournament.

“When I found out I won the scholarship, I couldn’t believe it,” said Provost, who estimates he has accumulated about $20,000 in debt over his four years at Lakehead. “I’ve worked every summer to sustain myself but haven’t been able to pay down the debt, so this will really help.” Provost also managed to maintain his presence on the Dean’s list (over 80% average) each year.

And that’s the idea behind the prestigious scholarship open to fourth-year students from Simcoe County enrolled in Lakehead’s business program.

“Our business award represents a commitment from the business community to support the business faculty at Lakehead Orillia and encourage students to pursue their education and career goals,” said Lakehead President and Vice-Chancellor Dr. Brian Stevenson.

Provost volunteered at last summer’s tournament at the Barrie Country Club and met David French, the inaugural winner of the scholarship, prompting him to apply for the annual award.

While grateful for the scholarship, he is also thankful for the breadth of experience he had at Lakehead.

“I loved the small classrooms; it’s not like other big schools where 100 people swarm the professor after the class. Here, they know your name and it’s a much more personal experience,” said Provost, who was chosen as a research assistant by professor Kunle Akingbola. and helped conduct an employee engagement survey for non-profits in Canada.

“It was a great learning experience,” said Provost, who also enjoyed his time as a teaching assistant for a business mathematics course. “It felt really good to help students … to maybe provide a different pathway than a professor. It was rewarding.”

The strong academic student who was encouraged by his parents – neither of whom attended post-secondary education – to go to university, said he found his stride at Lakehead.

“I loved the academic environment. It’s nice to always be learning, to be constructive and progressive,” said Provost, who is contemplating pursuing a securities certificate so he can work in the banking industry and is pondering becoming a Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA).

“[Associate professor of business] Herman van den Berg really sparked a lot of interest in me on the money side of things,” said Provost, who added he wants to do everything he can to build his resume and to separate himself from other potential rivals when it comes to landing a job.

“Anything you can do to get a leg up makes sense,” said Provost. “I don’t want to stop progressing. I could see myself maybe doing an MBA program some day.” 

-30 –

Ryan Provost

Ryan Provost; winner of Lakehead Orillia’s President’s Golf Tournament Business Award