When Avneet Kaur first arrived in Canada from India to attend Trinity Western University (TWU), she was shy, but eager to break out of her shell. In her first month, she was invited to participate in a student-led fashion show by two faculty members — an opportunity she now reminisces about with gratitude.
Her confidence grew. When she applied for a student leadership role—she got it. Today, she’s using her new-found courage to help others. Kaur now leads a volunteer club of 115 members. They help the community in any way they can, be it through buying groceries or keeping beaches and parks pristine.
Kaur’s story shows how a TWU education is so much more than just a university degree. After all, academic and professional success is one thing—TWU has developed competent leaders for almost 60 years—but leading a fulfilling life of contribution is another. The new TWU vision sums it up best: “Every graduate is equipped to think truthfully, act justly, and live faithfully for the good of the world and the glory of God.”
TWU president Dr. Mark Husbands brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to realise this new vision. Once an international student himself—with advanced degrees in religion, philosophical theology, and ethics—he has carried forward his passion for service throughout a long, illustrious career as an educator and leader. At TWU, his goal is to inspire every student to view their education as more than just a degree. He draws an analogy to the two mountains we climb in life. At the peak of the first, lies material success. Through a life devoted to service of others, you reach the summit of the second. This is where you’ll find gratitude, kindness, community, fulfilment and joy.
“Do we want our politicians, our financial advisors, our doctors and nurses to be people of integrity? People who will tell the truth? Do we want our urban planners and entrepreneurs to be people who will put their communities first and not themselves? Absolutely,” Dr. Husband explains. “The people who have that kind of character and integrity are people who are building and nurturing ‘eulogy virtues,’ and that’s what’s unique about studying at Trinity Western. It’s who you become as a person, and not just what skills you’re developing to do your job.”
Graduate success is recognized both externally and internally. Externally, graduates take on important leadership roles, perform their professional responsibilities with competence and achieve recognition and high compensation to match their professional contributions. Internally, graduates need to integrate their values and hunger to make a positive impact upon the world with their professional choices. They need to work well with others, build meaningful professional relationships, advance innovation and lead with compassion and integrity.
Each of TWU’s 48 undergraduate degrees and 19 graduate degrees equips students with these virtues that are interwoven throughout its signature whole-person education encompassing the academic, professional, relational and spiritual.
The MA in Leadership develops professionals into well-rounded experts, both by filling skill gaps and moving from theory to practice. It takes leaders to create leaders, which is why it is guided by Dr. Imbenzi George.
Dr. George serves as an Honorary Consul General, appointed by the Kenyan government to oversee and safeguard the welfare of nationals and corporate bodies in Canada. Success has never once stopped him from being a lifelong learner. In fact, in 2008, when he came to TWU as an MA in Leadership student himself, he was already running a business with an annual budget of US $3million.
“By the time I was done, I knew where I wanted to take my company,” he shares. “Trinity showed me that it’s not just about making money, it’s about being able to empower and uplift those working for you. What I learned is now what I pass down to my students who come from China, Korea, Iran, Pakistan, India, Nigeria, South Africa and across the globe—teaching them to take their knowledge, adapt it into an industry setting, and truly make a difference.”
Similar transformations are made in the multinational MBA, directed by Dr. Chen Liu. This 18-month programme transforms students into well-rounded business professionals with a global perspective through three specialisations: International Business, Management of the Growing Enterprise, and Non-Profit and Charitable Organisation Management. Meanwhile, the Executive MBA (EMBA) is available for mid-to-senior level leaders and executives. Upon completion, they leave with the competence, character and compassion to lead with integrity and honesty.
“All MBA programmes talk about career advancement and pay raises, but that is not our only goal,” Dr. Chen explains. “We want people to realise their personal value and find a professional route or path that is well-aligned to it. Yes, the work is rigorous, but the TWU experience is safe and trusted, first and foremost.”
Once an international student herself, Dr. Chen knows how daunting the experience can be for female international students, particularly those from Asia. Which is why she emphasises the importance of speaking up early on. An MBA gives them credibility, but the TWU experience gives them confidence.
The confidence of Trinity Western’s graduates comes from two primary sources that are identified in the TWU vision: competence and character. Competence comes from a high-quality, discipline-specific education that equips students for professional careers where they can operate at an entry level, work collaboratively with others, and then progress into management roles where their leadership skills are revealed.
Character comes from understanding who you are, what matters most to you in life, and how you make a meaningful impact on others. The development of prepared graduates at TWU is no accident. It is an intentional process of equipping students for lives of impact and integrity.
Kaur, an MBA student, is a testament to this. With an undergraduate background in medical studies, the once introverted student plans on using her MBA to lead the pharmaceutical industry as a marketer or project manager. With the exposure she’s gained in just a year and a half, there’s no stopping her.
“At other universities, it’s all about studying. An education here encompasses so much more,” she says. “From student clubs and associations to volunteering, there are many opportunities at TWU that will shape a person’s life.”