Ontario Business Administration student has big plans post graduation
Even though Gurkeerat Sangha only recently hit his 19th birthday, he is a man with a clear plan. The way he sees it, once he graduates from the Business Administration program on the Ontario campus, he will take the first step up the career ladder toward a life in city planning and management.
“I want to land a position with the City of Fontana or Ontario,” he says. “I want to apply what I learned in school with what I learned on the job (internship) to work my way up to City Manager or an elected official one day.
No one doubts him.
Gurkeerat’s Business Administration program internship with the Fontana Chamber of Commerce lit a fire in him to serve his community. More accurately, that work experience reignited a flame that began when he was invited to join the junior ROTC (Reserve Officer Training Corps) in 8th grade. He spent his high school years renovating VFW (Veterans of Foreign Wars) buildings, landscaping yards, organizing special education dances for the school district and any other project the organization undertook. He logged over 400 hours in service of his hometown of Fontana.
“They just trusted me to get the job done,” says Gurkeerat. By the time he was a sophomore, he had made the rank of Cadet Captain; junior year, he was Cadet Major and by senior year, he achieved the rank of Cadet Lieutenant. “I never thought about quitting. I just loved it; giving back to the community.”
He brought a strong skill set to the Business Administration program. “G (as he is known) was president of the Business Club at the Ontario campus,” says Henry Madrid, Dean of Student Services for the campus. “He is smart, outgoing and very friendly. He is always willing to help out students and faculty, and when he is on campus, he makes it a mission to say ‘hi’ to every faculty and staff member.”
“We are all pretty close to each other,” he says of his classmates. “I’m always the person to try to motivate somebody.” G’s two older sisters talk with him as their age equal. “They say I’m like their older brother because I’m pretty strong-minded like that.”
The man-with-a-plan has no time to waste. “I came to SJVC because I could be done in 14 months,” he says. “I’m only 19 and I’m already done with my Associate’s degree.”
Gurkeerat is all business. In fact, he was ‘volunteered’ to be the first president of the newly formed Business Club on campus, which has grown from three to eight members in four months.
He says his love of business and ability to juggle multiple ventures comes from watching his uncle Jasjeet. “He has a trucking company, publishes an Indian newspaper and sells fuel cards to truckers,” says G. “He started off selling shoes when he was 18. Recently, he came out with a movie. He directed an Indian film that is in theaters now and very successful. He dug deep and did this on his own.” G intends to wear shoes of equal size in his career aspirations.
Gurkeerat adopted his uncle’s favorite motto: “Work now, play later.”
G admits that his education and work successes are expected. “Indian parents expect you to go to college,” he says. “My parents are strict, in a good way. If I got a B on a test, they would ask why I didn’t get an A. I started thinking about it and started going for higher grades.” By his senior year in high school, G was earning a 4.3 GPA.
“In the end, it wasn’t really my parents, it was more for me,” he says. “The only way I would do better for myself was to apply myself to my education, my work.” His future includes plans to get his Bachelor’s, Master’s and Doctorate degrees.
Gurkeerat’s internship at the Fontana Chamber of Commerce drew some very positive attention from his coworkers and supervisors. The Chamber presented him with the City’s Intern of the Month award in recognition of his hard work.
“My one goal is to make sure I’m always learning,” he says. “I’m more of a leader, and in a business roll out I can be the face (of a company) and others could look to me to get things done.”
He is definitely the go-to guy wherever he spends his time. “I’m self-motivated, ambitious and dedicated to whatever I put my mind to,” he says. “I like to reach set goals.”
G might fudge a little bit on that work-now-play-later philosophy. He has a passion for cars that he indulges whenever he can. “I love cars and love to drive,” he enthuses. What is the best and fastest car he has ever driven? “A Ferrari 458 Italia,” he confesses. “Hey, I’m a car guy, so I’ve got connections.”
He knew he could never let that Ferrari fly. “You can’t be speeding on the streets, but just being behind the wheel and feeling the power…I loved it.”
Unlike the restraint Gurkeerat demonstrates behind the wheel of a high-performance automobile, he is totally willing to open up his many talents and abilities as fast and as far as they will take him.
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