NAVDEEP SINGH BAINS
Navdeep Singh Bains
Member of Canadian Parliament, Mississauga-Brampton South
For Navdeep Singh Bains, doing an MBA at the University of Windsor meant a job at the Ford Motor Company in his area of expertise--before he even finished his studies.
"Ford provided me with a conditional offer while I was a student," he says. "The company hired me because of my experience as a co-op student--so the university's co-op program was vital in my securing the position.
"I worked at Ford for four years in the finance department, and I learned a lot, because Ford is obviously an excellent organization, and a lot of my skill sets were further developed," he adds.
The University of Windsor's international flavour, he says, made it an exciting place to study business.
"It was great--I was in a class that was reflective not only of local students but of students from abroad as well. It definitely had a strong international experience to it. That enabled me to learn not only about business issues that are relevant in Canada; we were also able to get foreign content directly from students who knew about the companies in their countries, and the work environment, and that really added value to our discussions in the class."
All that was before the Toronto-born son of Indian immigrants decided to enter Canadian politics. Mr. Bains was still a political newcomer when he won the Liberal nomination for Mississauga-Brampton South, a newly created Canadian electoral district, in 2004. He did it by defeating three political veterans who fought over the votes of the same group of party members.
"I was able to obtain new young members, professionals," Mr. Bains explains. "There was an infusion of new people."
It didn't hurt that Mr. Bains was also a well-known member of the large local Sikh-Canadian community. His father immigrated from Rajasthan in the early 1970s. Soon thereafter, he went back to India and brought back his bride, a woman from the Jalandhar area of Punjab, and many of the family's friends and relatives now live in Canada. As a child, Mr. Bains took Punjabi language lessons at the Dixie Gurdwara-the largest Sikh temple in North America-which sits at the edge of his riding. He still regularly attends services there, some of which draw 30,000 congregants over a weekend.
But he insists that his support transcends the Punjabi community. With his degree from Windsor, another from York University and his job at Ford under his belt, Mr. Bains says he's part of a new, second-generation professional class with ties to many community and business organizations.