Grad profile: Finding her path as a leader

Sophika Dmytryshyn, Management

- June 2, 2023

This article is part of a series focusing on the grads of the Dalhousie Class of 2023. Spring Convocation runs from May 29 to June 7 in Halifax and Truro. Read all our profiles here as they are published, and for more information visit the Convocation website.

When Sophika Dmytryshyn (BMgmt’23) looked at universities in her home province of Ontario, nothing grabbed her attention. Then she thought of Nova Scotia, where she had vacationed as a child, and decided to visit Dalhousie University.

She smiles as she remembers her trip to Halifax in January 2019. She says “something felt right. So, I thought, let's try this out.” Creative and a good problem-solver, Sophika says she was drawn to the Bachelor of Management program.

But first year was a struggle academically. “At the end of the first semester, I felt so lost and defeated,” she says, adding she felt she was putting in the effort but still wasn’t seeing results. Then, due to the pandemic, Sophika needed to return home to Toronto. She remembers thinking, “I don't want to leave because I love being here. I don’t want this to end.”

Sophika says that feeling motivated her to face her challenges. She decided to develop study habits that would work for her and be proactive and reach out to professors teaching difficult courses. She turned to the resources provided by the Faculty of Management.

Margie Muise, Program Administrator for Management, supported her through that challenging period. She was impressed by Sophika’s willingness to be vulnerable. “She's a ray of sunshine, she’s so full of energy. She found her footing, focused, and it just went up from there,” says Muise.

Becoming a leader in her program

Sophika not only found her way, she excelled to become a leader in the Faculty of Management.

In her second year, she joined the Management Society, and then stepped up to become its president a year later. She thought it was important to improve the experience for fellow Management students by hosting events and building a culture within the program.

Working in this role, Sophika felt growing confidence in her leadership abilities; she was someone who could dive into new projects and inspire a team. She says, “I realized how much more capable I am than I originally thought.”

Leaving behind a legacy

Sophika took that confidence and put it back into the Faculty. In conjunction with Prof. Binod Sundararajan, the Interim Director of the Rowe School of Business, she created the first ever ‘Beyond Business’ case competition in the Management program (team pictured below).

This annual competition gives students a chance to take what they’ve learned in the classroom and apply it to real-life scenarios. The teams comprise students from all years of the program, which Prof. Sundararajan says has created a team spirit among Management students.

He was thrilled to have Sophika take ownership of this project. “You want the leader not just to have a vision, but also have the ability to go do this stuff, to be the first one with the spade to dig in,” says Sundararajan. “She's leaving behind a legacy she can be very proud of.”

“I squeezed everything out of this experience”

Sophika feels she has become comfortable with her own style of leadership — someone who is brave enough to suggest new ideas and determined to deliver on them. “The core of who I am has stayed the same, but the way I handle everything else has changed,” she says.

As she gets ready to graduate and leave Halifax, Sophika is still deciding on next steps. She says leaving Dalhousie will be ‘bittersweet’ but is grateful for every moment she’s had.

“If this is like a washcloth, I really squeezed everything out of this experience,” she says. “I really wrung it out."


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