UNB Alumni
Telling our #ProudlyUNB stories

The value of building connections for young alum Ria Sabitry (BBA'22)

Author: UNB Alumni

Posted on Aug 21, 2023

Category: Young Alumni , Inspiring Stories , Management , UNB Fredericton , UNB Saint John

For 2022 grad Ria Sabitry (BBA’22), attending university was all about fostering and nurturing connections. Through co-op education, experiential learning, and volunteerism, she certainly did just that – and even landed a job before receiving her diploma.

Now as a junior accountant (Chartered Professional Accountant candidate) with Irving Oil, Sabitry works and studies full-time through the company’s CPA program. While studying towards her certification, she’s gaining hands-on work experience with transactional accounting, high level accounting, financial reporting, and analysis.

“I’ve wanted to be a CPA since my first year of university,” says Sabitry. “At Irving Oil, it’s the full package and my time here has been the best. You get to work and study while making connections in all different departments, as you rotate divisions every six months.”

Since starting at Irving Oil, Sabitry has worked in inventory and fixed assets. She’s now placed at the refinery, while also working on her latest CPA course which resumed in July.

She says embracing UNB’s co-op education program helped her to make connections, gain exposure, and feel confident in her professional life. Throughout her time at UNB, Sabitry completed an internship with the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) and two co-op terms with J.D. Irving Ltd. in finance transformation and accounting, all valuable steppingstones in her career journey.  

“Being consistent with my studies and making my UNB experience worthwhile was really important. I still have connections with some professors, and specifically my accounting professors have now become my CPA instructors. Everything is interlinked and you never know when a connection will return to support you in different phases of your life.”

Raised in Bangladesh, Sabitry and her family moved to New Brunswick when she was 11. When she joined what she describes as the tight-knit UNB Saint John community, she jumped on opportunities to volunteer for student activities and take advantage of everything the small campus had to offer.

A strong leader, Sabitry served as president of the Multicultural Association, and as both the chief returning officer and the international student councillor for the SRC. She also worked as a staff writer for The Baron and as a research assistant, volunteered as grad class coordinator, representing her fellow 2022 graduates, and took on the roles of interim chief appeal officer and interim council chair for the Fredericton UNB Student Union.

And she accomplished all of this while attending UNB online during the COVID-19 pandemic.

As Sabitry works toward completing her CPA in 2025, she says that it’s the connections she’s built along the way that continue to fuel her motivation and success.

“I started my CPA student role at the same time as two other students from UNB. All of us did co-op terms, graduated together, and started our CPA studies together. When I look back on my university years, it makes me smile. I hope everyone has that experience too. I don’t think of midterms and exams, I think of the friends and connections I’ve made who will become leaders in the future.”