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Inspiring pathways explored: Spurthi's remarkable journey

Spurthi Kommajosula, BCom ‘18
Spurthi Kommajosula, BCom ‘18

Join us as we trace Spurthi Kommajosula’s evolution from her time at Rotman Commerce to her present roles, which combine several of her passions. Her learnings at the crossroads of academia and industry offer an insightful exploration of personal growth and professional success.

Setting the stage for development

Spurthi Kommajosula graduated from RC in 2018 with a Bachelor of Commerce, specializing in public accounting, and started a full-time job. Always eager for challenges that push her beyond her comfort zone, several years later, while still working, she obtained her Master of Management Analytics from the Smith School of Business at Queen’s University.

Her professional path has been influenced by learnings from both inside and outside the classroom at Rotman Commerce. Not only did she participate in Rotman Commerce Women in Business (RCWIB), but she also worked on case competitions. She gained confidence in her ability to handle a demanding slate of activities and work with a variety of people: skills which have proven valuable in the working world.

“I look back fondly at my time with Rotman Commerce Women in Business. Having a community that advocates for your presence in a room has been crucial in cultivating confidence and helping you feel like you belong.”

Spurthi Kommajosula, BCom ‘18

As well, Spurthi cherishes the memories of her case competition experiences during her time at Rotman Commerce. “Those case competitions gave me and my team a stage to showcase our ideas and navigate challenges effectively, which aided the refinement of our communication and problem-solving skills. These skills now act as a base in my previous and current roles.”

In addition to her co-curricular activities, Spurthi obtained important career guidance through RC’s mentorship program. Events and coffee talks with a leading mentor positioned her for her professional ascent. The relationship demonstrated to her the powerful influence of mentoring on young business minds, inspiring her to continue mentoring new grads. As a result, she regularly engages in university activities, recruitment campaigns, and organizational programmes that match mentors with mentees.

Proving her skills

Following her undergraduate experience, where she clearly set a high bar for herself, Spurthi’s first job after graduation was at a world-leading multinational corporation. At IBM, she worked as a financial analyst and then as a consultant. Here also, the skills she developed at RC stood her in good stead.

“Through the way that the curriculum was designed, group work was always a staple for all our courses. The prioritization of team-based work helped prepare me for my career wherein I’d interact with global teams and various stakeholder groups.”

Spurthi Kommajosula, BCom ‘18

When she became a senior consultant at IBM, she encountered a critical point in her career. Her exposure to thought-provoking initiatives within a tech-driven environment, as well as immersion in the realm of product development, were the catalysts that led her to connect her enthusiasms in her undergraduate years to her passions in the workplace.

“I have always been passionate about technology and how it can propel us into exploring exciting outcomes. The curriculum at Rotman Commerce focused heavily on teamwork, problem solving, communication, and leadership. This ignited a passion for problem solving and made me look for careers wherein problem solving is a key component of the day-to-day activities.”

Spurthi Kommajosula, BCom ‘18

Spurthi has now been a product manager at IBM for almost two years. This role has provided the perfect opportunity for her to integrate her business education, financial acumen, and consulting background, resulting in a seamless alignment of her interests and skills.

woman smiling
Spurthi Kommajosula, BCom ’18

Giving back

For some people, this would have been more than enough. But for Spurthi, standing still was not an option. For a long time, she had been wanting to give back through more than just her mentoring activities.

Her initial inspiration for teaching came from her mother, a dedicated high school teacher. This translated into Spurthi teaching students at various levels, from middle school to university. Her teaching journey began during her undergraduate degree with part-time roles at a tutoring centre, where she helped elementary and middle school students. Later, while working full-time at IBM, she shifted to tutoring high school students. The pandemic prompted her to virtually tutor first and second-year university/college students in subjects such as statistics, economics, math, and accounting. Teaching at this level brought her enjoyment and ignited her interest in pursuing a formal role in education.

Building on this foundation, Spurthi decided to formalize her commitment to education by becoming an adjunct faculty member at Conestoga College.

“With the fast-paced world that we live in now, a key challenge faced by educators is ensuring that the material taught in class translates into the real world for students. As new and exciting technologies emerge, students should feel enabled to succeed when they enter their professional lives. Being an educator who works in industry helps me bring true and realistic business cases and problem-solving methods used by SMEs in our field to class, thereby ensuring that students have all the tools they need to apply the learnings from my class to the real world.”

Spurthi Kommajosula, BCom ‘18

Educators such as Spurthi, whose backgrounds combine academia and industry, can provide customized examples that adapt to a variety of learning needs.

What Spurthi would like to share

These varied experiences, coupled with her immersive product management role at IBM, have collectively shaped Spurthi’s unique and exciting career trajectory. Her own history informs her tips to students:

“A key piece of advice that I would pass on is to be open to new experiences. Through new experiences, your growth is exponentiated as you push yourself to new boundaries. With the number of opportunities provided at RC and UofT, you’re learning can truly be boundless. Be it through events or post-curricular activities, be sure to try to broaden your horizons to find your true potential.”

Spurthi Kommajosula, BCom ‘18

Active involvement in student groups, within and beyond RC, is also recommended by Spurthi. This not only strengthens a sense of belonging but also empowers the exploration of strengths and opportunities. Through U of T’s student groups, Spurthi was able to immerse herself in her interests while forging lifelong friendships.

By Azkka Noor | August 23, 2023

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