If Mohammad Ahmad has his way, he’ll soon be counting a lot more than his blessings.
The 18-year-old Maple High School student received an award plaque and a $500 prize this summer from the York District Chartered Accountants for an essay he wrote about the relationship between banking and accounting.
While Ahmad has been on the honour roll and won various subject awards at his high school, it was the first time he had been recognized out of the classroom.
“It felt different,” Ahmad said in a phone interview. “It was an experience.”
He said when he first told his mother he wants to pursue accounting, she had mixed feelings. But when he told her that he was one of three York Region students selected as a winner of the York Chartered Accountants award, she was decidedly more supportive.
“My mom was ecstatic,” he said.
The son of a taxi driver and homemaker who immigrated from Pakistan, Ahmad says there was family pressure to go into science, but he figured finance would be “a safer route”. He plans on attending York University’s Schulich School of Business for his bachelor of business administration next year.
“Ever since taking business classes, it’s been a different feel,” he said. “Managing money, dealing with those situations and applying yourself, it seemed interesting.”
Ahmad said he was approached by a teacher and encouraged to enter the contest, which is open to all full-time graduating high school students in York Region.
Although he initially forgot about it, he decided to enter when an email message reminded him.
“I actually wrote the essay like two days before,” he said. “It all worked out.”
His essay focused on how banking skills are transferable into accounting. He said while he does plan on starting as an accountant, he hopes to move up into corporate finance and investment banking.
He said he would put his $500 award directly towards tuition.
And his mother was even more surprised than Ahmad when she heard that he won.
But she was just as pleased.
“She had no idea I had written an essay,” he said, holding back a chuckle. “For a while she thought I couldn’t even write.
“I guess I proved her wrong!”