Third-year engineering student, Ishrak Iltut, finds success outside the box.
Growing up in Bangladesh, the Okanagan was the furthest thing from Ishrak Iltut’s mind.
Born into a military family, Iltut excelled at school and was named college captain of the elite military boarding school that he attended.
“My upbringing built my character when it comes to resiliency” explains Iltut “and I am grateful for the experience.”
In high school, while attending and speaking at a leadership conference, Iltut had a chance encounter that would change his life.
One of the attendees was so impressed with his talk on a significant life experience that she made a point of tracking him down afterwards to chat.
Over the course of that conversation, she suggested that he consider applying for the International Leader of Tomorrow Award at the University of British Columbia
The Leader of Tomorrow Award provides an opportunity for exceptional international students to attend UBC.
According to Iltut, leaving Bangladesh was not an easy decision.
“It was one of the hardest decisions of my life” says Iltut “but looking back at it today, there is no doubt in my mind that I made the right decision.”
As a third-year civil engineering students, Iltut has done more than most students do in four or five years of study.
“I have always wanted to make an impact and influence generations.”
So instead of solely focusing on academics alone, Iltut pushed himself to step out of his comfort zone.
He join and started clubs on campus including the new cryptocurrency club and took a pre-MBA core program through Harvard.
During his Co-op term at the City of Burnaby, he participated in a UBC blockchain summer institute where he met some students who have since become his business partners.
Their financial technology digital marketplace venture is starting to pick up momentum.
Later this month, Iltut heads to MIT to participate in their Venture Capital and Innovation Conference.
“Engineering has taught me analytical thinking” says Iltut, “but more importantly it has taught me how to take the tools of assessment and design outside into the real-world.”
Iltut envisions blockchain technology having a huge impact on the financial industry and changing the lives for “unbanked” and “under-banked” people around the world.
“I am excited to be taking the lessons I’ve learned at UBC Okanagan about civil engineering and expanding upon them in a virtual space.”
In the meantime, he will continue to juggle the rigors of starting a business with the challenges of completing his degree.