Keep an open mind when you come to university. Just because you signed up for a program does not mean you’re trapped in it if you find it doesn’t suit your interests and abilities. There are always options and opportunities available.
You’re an advisor for the Mathematics/Chartered Professional Accountancy (CPA) program. What makes this program special to you?
Students who come into the CPA program are primarily interested in the CPA designation. This program facilitates that and it allows them to bypass a lot of the steps to earning their CPA designation.
On top of that they get a BMath, which provides a strong quantitative background combined with the requirements for the CPA designation, and this is a very attractive combination
What do you love most about teaching?
As a statistics lecturer, I enjoy teaching statistics and trying to explain it in a way in which students can relate and understand. Students typically do not take these courses as electives - they are required to take them, so it is challenging to explain to them that statistics is not just a bunch of equations, it has relevance in any field and endeavor that you want to learn about.
I teach students from all fields: engineering, biology, psychology, optometry, business etc. Everything is not just about the grade, and it is hard to engage the students and to get them really interested in the subject. When that happens, that is very rewarding.
What would you advise prospective students?
It is completely understandable that at 17-18 years of age you don’t really know what you want to do for the rest of your life. Sometimes it’s hard to know what area you are interested in until you’ve come to university and taken the relevant courses, and by that time you may find that another program is more suitable to your interests and abilities than the program in which you are enrolled.
Even if switching into a more suitable program means taking an extra term or two to complete your degree, it shouldn’t prevent you from considering your options. That extra term or two may seem like a long time when you’re a student, but it will be well worth it if it means you’ve found a more suitable career path for the next 50 years of your life.
In my spare time I enjoy playing acoustic guitar, and singing in a three-part harmony trio.
Read more about Professor Balka.