Investing in international student success

Inspired by his experiences abroad, Kevin Andrews established a scholarship to help improve international students’ access to education.

After more than 30 years as an investment banker and owner of an independent auto leasing company, Kevin Andrews (BSc’86, MBA’88) jokes that he expects everything in his life to be a transaction. He wants to see where his money goes and exactly what comes as a result. His approach to philanthropy is much the same, which is why he established the Corpfinance International Scholarship in Dalhousie’s Faculty of Management — where the results come in the form of enhanced educational opportunities and changed lives.

Kevin Andrews with his daughter Kate (BCom'19). (Submitted photo) 

“My time at Dal gave me a lot of advantages, so it made sense for me to give back and to do so close to home,” says Andrews, who grew up in Dartmouth, NS and now resides in Toronto, ON. “My thought process is always for the students—I want to be able to support students directly. That might be with co-op job placements or this scholarship, where I can see a hard-working, deserving student getting help.”

International impact

The Corpfinance International Scholarship provides renewable funding for a student from India who identifies as female, and who comes from a family business background or has an entrepreneurial focus. Andrews chose these very specific terms after having business dealings in India.

He made several trips to India to help set up a plant for a company he owns and was struck by what he saw.

“We would see workers in factories in bare feet, or who were bringing their small children because they had no one to take care of them,” he recalls. “We would buy shoes and safety equipment, but I thought there had to be something else we can do.”

The idea for the scholarship came from discussions with a friend and colleague from India. She had earned a scholarship to complete an MBA in Canada, where she has lived and worked ever since. After seeing how receiving a scholarship had impacted his friend and knowing that women in India sometimes have limited access to education, Andrews decided that establishing this scholarship was his way of making a difference.

Thriving in Canada

The inaugural recipient of the Corpfinance International Scholarship says receiving it has been transformative.

Manvi Bansal’s parents came from modest means. Her father is an entrepreneur, and her mother has impressive academic achievements including two Master’s degrees. They encouraged their daughter to study commerce abroad.

At 17, she left Delhi for the first time and moved half a world away. Bansal is now thriving in the third year of her Bachelor of Commerce program at Dalhousie, with two co-op work terms under her belt — thanks in large part to her scholarship. 

“This scholarship relieved my financial worries about studying far away from home,” she says. “It allowed me to give up my part-time jobs and focus instead on co-op work and volunteering.”

During her time at Dalhousie, Bansal has organized social events that celebrate diversity through the Dalhousie International Student Association, has helped students with their tax returns through the Canada Revenue Agency and the Dalhousie International Centre, and has worked on diversity and inclusion programs for one of her co-op employers.

Freedom beyond finances

Bansal says the scholarship gave her more than just financial freedom.

“This scholarship showed that I am very capable of doing things on my own — that someone looked at me and my abilities and they believed in me,” she says. “That was so important because many of my family members didn’t think a girl could go away to study and succeed. I was so happy to say I earned this and I can make it on my own.

Manvi Bansal says she enjoys living and learning in Canada. (Submitted photo)

“It also made me confident to make my own decisions about my future. I am not obligated to anyone else financially, so I can decide what type of work I want to do, or where I want to live and work.”

After a delay due to the pandemic, Andrews and Bansal were recently able to meet in person for the first time.

“My big goal with this scholarship was to provide resources that would give an Indian woman options and independence,” says Andrews. “I’m glad Manvi is doing so well, and I look forward to seeing her finish strong in her degree.”

By establishing the Corpfinance International Scholarship, Andrews’ investment in international students like Bansal will surely pay dividends for many years to come.

— Jodi Reid