Saint Mary’s Helps International Students Bring a Global Perspective to Local Business

“Immigration is not only about population growth or the openness of Canada's society, but is also about the creation of a talent pool that fuels our economy.”
Dr. Robert Summerby-Murray, Saint Mary's University

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Saint Mary’s University is a game changer for international students. Dubbed Canada’s International University, Saint Mary’s is a leader in Nova Scotia and across Canada in recruiting international students into its academic programs. With the highest percentage of international students of any university in the country, Saint Mary’s welcomes students from more than 119 countries around the world each year.

“Immigration is not only about population growth or the openness of Canada’s society, but is also about the creation of a talent pool that fuels our economy,” says Dr. Robert Summerby-Murray, President and Vice-Chancellor of Saint Mary’s University. “Saint Mary’s University is pursuing a deliberate strategy of globalization. We take a global approach to our curriculum, teaching, and research.”

On May 9th, more than 150 business leaders and international students and graduates gathered to discuss the benefits of attracting and retaining international students in our region at the Bringing a Global Perspective to Your Business event, jointly presented by Saint Mary’s and the Partnership. At the event, international graduates from Saint Mary’s and their employers shared their own experiences. One group to present, Naveed Ashfaq and Ashish Mahajan, are an employer-employee duo from FCV Interactive.

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Photo Caption: Left to right- Margaret Murphy, ‎Associate Vice President of External Affairs at Saint Mary's University, Naveed Ashfaq and Ashish Mahajan.


Ashish, who is a Data Science Lead at FCV, moved to Halifax from New Delhi in 2011 to attend Saint Mary’s. He graduated from the university in December 2013 and started working at ISL Digital Marketing (later acquired by FCV) part-time before graduation, beginning full-time in January 2014.

“Attending Saint Mary’s was a wonderful experience for me. While studying, I was able to participate in events and activities that exposed me to life in Nova Scotia, introduced me to some great people and showed me how the local business community works. It was at one of Saint Mary’s Scholarship events that I met one of Naveed’s coworkers. After just a few conversations, I knew this was the kind of company that I could build a career with, right here in Halifax.”

“Being a new Canadian, it was great to find the ideal job right out of school. I felt a mix of excitement, gratitude, and accomplishment,” says Ashish. “I’m happy to see businesses in Halifax working toward offering valuable experiences to us new Canadians and helping us grow here. Thank you, Halifax!”

Naveed, Senior Director at FCV, says he was first introduced to Ashish when he was Managing Partner at ISL, a digital marketing company that is now part of FCV.

“For any company providing services or investing in digital, it can be tough to find the right people,” says Naveed. “With the rapid evolution of technology, we need recruits that are able to quickly add skills and knowledge to their existing education. By including Saint Mary’s in our recruitment strategy, we’ve connected with new Canadians like Ashish, who possess enthusiasm, collaborative spirit, and a desire to succeed.”

According to a recent study by the Association of Atlantic Canadian Universities, 75% of international graduates want to remain in Atlantic Canada. “Saint Mary’s is Canada’s leader in attracting international students, but we are not stopping there,” says Dr. Summerby-Murray. “Our professors and staff are committed to working with government, business, and community partners to ensure there are opportunities for our international students to make Halifax and Nova Scotia their permanent home.”