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Shahrukh Shah (BBA ’05) and Koush Banik (BBA ’05)

Two Laurier friends for life. They're supporting each other and the next generation.

Shahrukh Shah (BBA ’05) is a chartered professional accountant who worked at PwC for 15 years before leaving to start his own independent consulting practice, Shah Advisory Services. Shah has also recently launched a mental health awareness brand, Bipolar Empath, focusing on sharing his story of being diagnosed with bipolar disorder and the impacts this diagnosis has had on his life and career.

Meanwhile, Koush Banik (BBA ’05) has worked in technology sales for just over 13 years. He’s an enterprise sales executive with Dynatrace, selling application performance software to named enterprise customers in the Greater Toronto Area.

The two Laurier alum met in third year and their friendship remains steadfast. In fact, they even pooled their financial donations to create a student award. We caught up with these two grads recently to ask them about their Laurier years and about the inspiration behind the Banik Shah ’05 BBA Academic Award they established in 2014.

How did your friendship start? How do you keep it strong?

Shah: Koush and I met in third year and realized we had many things in common. Although Koush was a Marketing major and I was an Accounting one, we shared a love of sports, friendships and the occasional party.

Now, we both live in Toronto and have been great at keeping in touch. Koush was a tremendous support when I was first diagnosed with bipolar in helping me get through my recovery process.

Why did you decide to support Laurier? And why did you decide to do that together?

Shah: Laurier gave me a lot in terms of building my social network, gaining confidence through my academic and volunteer skills developed and allowing me to put my best foot forward as I entered the workforce back in 2005 at PwC. I wanted to give back in a meaningful way to the school that has given me so much.

Koush and I shared this desire and came up with the idea of setting up an award together. We targeted third-year regular stream BBA students because that is the year we met at university and we both didn’t do the co-op program. We have been fortunate to meet many of the talented award recipients and look forward to continuing to support this award.

What’s the best part of knowing you support an academic award?

Banik: What's been personally very rewarding for me has been the opportunity to meet a number of award recipients. They were able to share their stories in person and describe their great experience at Laurier and their professional aspirations. I've also read and kept a number of recipient letters. It's nice to know that we are able to make a difference.

Shah: I learned that giving back to your community can be very fulfilling. Laurier has a great culture for giving back and volunteerism. Today I apply the same in many of my mental health advocacy efforts.

What is something you learned at Laurier that you still hold dear now?

Banik: My favourite years at Laurier were my third and fourth. I pursued a Marketing major and my professors that year were all fantastic. Gord McDougall, who passed away a few years ago, was a fantastic and charismatic Marketing professor. He used to always say, "What gets measured, gets done." As a technology solution seller, it's a statement that's always resonated with me all these years later.

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