Like Father, Like Sons

Wednesday, June 15, 2022

For alum Ashi Mathur (MAcc ’93) and his two sons, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Brothers Deven and Neel have followed in their father’s footsteps by studying in the same Accounting and Financial Management (AFM) program, decades later.

Ashi Mathur and his 2 sons

Ahead of Father’s Day on June 19, the School of Accounting and Finance (SAF) is telling the story of a family that shares a strong bond with UWaterloo. Ashi Mathur (MAcc ’93), now president of Marlin Spring began his career studying in the School of Accounting and Finance, and now, his sons Deven and Neel are enrolled in the AFM program and are expected to graduate in 2023 and 2025.

When Deven expressed that he enjoyed his accounting and economics classes in high school, and wanted to continue those passions in university, his dad (rather unsurprisingly) suggested he look into the AFM program. What Ashi liked most about the program was the lifelong friends he made, the community, and that his education gave him an edge right out of the gate. What ultimately sold Deven on applying to the program was co-op and a campus visit where he met faculty and current students.

Outside of school, Deven has a passion for sports, and Neel has a passion for gourmet cooking. While unique in their hobbies – what the brothers share is a hardworking nature and deep admiration and respect for their father. The School caught up with Ashi and Deven to discuss their family bond, career journey, and how their family plans to celebrate Father’s Day this year.

What do you love the most about your dad/sons?

DM: He’s always there for us. My dad is always willing to lend an ear, and he is always ready with advice. He does whatever he can to help my brother and me be our best.

AM: I am very fortunate to have two sons that have both chosen to enroll in the AFM program at the University of Waterloo. While they share many of the same qualities including a strong sense of family and respect for others - they are also both unique. Deven (Class of 2023) has a true passion for sports trivia. I have seen him debate senior colleagues of mine over the most minute details of just about any professional sports team. Neel (Class of 2025) is passionate about gourmet cooking and has prepared us some of the most elaborate meals we have ever had (so long as we purchase the ingredients and clean up the dishes).

What makes you proud of your dad/sons?

Ashi and his teenage sons

DM: The immense respect others hold for my dad.
While on a study term, my dad presented to the managing partner and senior management at my current firm. On my first day back the senior managers who attended that presentation came up to me to compliment my dad on what an excellent presenter he is. I’ve heard many stories from people who have worked with my dad in the past, and I am immensely proud of the praise and reverence they hold him in. 

AM: I am most proud of Deven and Neel’s determination and focus on everything they do.  For example, Deven was able to achieve his black belt in Taekwondo at the young age of 10, and Neel decided to take up drumming at a very young age and stuck with it all through high school. Neel’s passion for music and the arts landed him his high school graduating class’s art award.

They are both now focused on pursuing a career in finance and understand the need for being well prepared for the competitive workforce. I think they chose AFM because they saw the edge the program would give them. The AFM program not only provides a strong educational foundation but also affords them the experiential learning that comes from the co-op program, the Student Investment Fund (SIF) and the Student Venture Fund (SVF). 

What is a piece of advice you’ve received from your dad that has stuck with you throughout your academic and professional career?

DM: My dad has a couple of sayings he plays on repeat: “Nothing ventured, nothing gained” and “The worst they can say is no.” 

Do you remember how you celebrated your first Father’s Day as a parent?

AM: My first Father’s Day was celebrated with family. We played host to both sets of grandparents and had a BBQ. I remember taking a pause during the day and reflecting on how much life had changed over that year. Having your first child makes you reset your purpose and focus in life. 

DM: To live with less fear and to be bold. I can be shy at times, which leads to me not pushing to better myself. My dad has always pushed me to stand up and fight for myself and put myself first.

What traits, interests or habits do you think you’ve adopted from your dad?

DM: I think professionally I tend to present like him. He’s always talking with his hands, and I’ve picked that habit up. We also share a love of card games, particularly Euchre and Poker. 

What is a saying that you often hear your dad say?

DM: My dad has a couple of sayings he plays on repeat: “Nothing ventured, nothing gained” and “The worst they can say is no.”

What inspired you to enroll in a SAF program?

DM: I knew I wanted to attend a business school after high school. I enjoyed my accounting and economics classes, and I knew that I wanted to continue those passions. Through the application process, my dad had always held the AFM program in high regard and unsurprisingly was pushing the program. What sold it to me was the co-op program and my campus visit when I got to meet some faculty members and current students.

AM: The program had so much to offer that it was an easy decision for me to pursue the degree. Being part of a smaller class of around 50 people allowed me to form close friendships which remain to this day. Being successful in business is always about having an edge. The Master of Accounting (MAcc) program provided me with that edge right out of the gate. 

How has the University of Waterloo impacted your family?

AM: The University of Waterloo has had a profound impact on not only my life but also the lives of our immediate family. Not only are my two sons enrolled at Waterloo, but three of our four nieces and nephews have also chosen to go there. The one that got away decided to go to medical school.

I have also been very fortunate to serve on the School of Accounting and Finance’s Advisory Board for the past 11 years. Staying connected with the SAF has allowed me to see its continued growth and success with the launch of so many new programs. I firmly believe that the University of Waterloo continues to give students the edge they need in today’s marketplace.

How will you be celebrating your dad on Father’s Day this year?

Ashi and his older sons all dressed in suits

DM: We are having lunch the Wednesday before, then joining my grandfather for Father’s Day brunch at the Clubhouse. Hopefully I will get to play a round of golf with them both!

 * This interview has been edited for length and clarity.