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Q&A with Yorkville U’s Kristina Hawkins – BBA Accounting Graduation Speaker in BC

Kristina Hawkins

When Kristina Hawkins first moved from Russia to Canada in 2016, she brought with her not one, but two Master’s degrees – in Chemical Engineering and Economics. 

Still, she knew that in order to achieve the kind of professional success she strived for here in her new home, she’d have to get a Canadian education. 

“Luckily, I came across Yorkville (University) and was able to get a high-quality education without putting my life on hold or getting myself into debt,” said Hawkins, who’s not only about to graduate from Yorkville’s Bachelor of Business Administration program with a specialization in Accounting, but will also represent her B.C. classmates as this year’s Student Graduation Speaker.  

Now that she’s completed her studies, Hawkins is devoting all of her working hours to her company, Oakton Financial Corporation – a Vancouver-based firm that specializes in bookkeeping and payroll services, where she supports small and medium-sized businesses with the “insight and accuracy needed for financial success.”

“My newly obtained degree has allowed me to bring Oakton Financial to a new level with its meticulous approach and commitment to excellence – qualities that I instill in my professional and personal life,” said the devoted mother of two, noting that she is now working toward being accepted as a CPA candidate, in order to further enhance her expertise and the quality of services she offers at Oakton Financial.

Hawkins recently sat down to reflect on her time at Yorkville University and her plans for the future. Here’s what she had to say:

What brought you to Yorkville University? Where were you in your life/career when you decided to continue your studies with us? 

I immigrated to Canada in 2016 and knew I needed local education to restart my professional career here. However, it turned out that I was looking for a needle in a haystack, because all the universities I toured were very expensive and hard to navigate. I knew that it would be hard for me to manage my life and set myself up for success if I had to take out a large student loan in my 30s. Luckily, I came across Yorkville and was able to get a high-quality education without putting my life on hold or getting myself into debt.

What made you decide to pursue your Bachelor of Business Administration?  

I wanted to obtain a business degree to understand the business environment better, not only in Canada, but worldwide. I am incredibly grateful to all Yorkville staff for their support and guidance, which has given me a strong foundation for further professional growth. The knowledge and skills I obtained during my three years of study made me feel more confident in giving advice to local businesses.

What is the most important thing you’re taking away from your studies at Yorkville University?   

So many amazing people surround us; they are on your side, helping you achieve your dreams. Do not give up on your goals, be persistent and you will have a Yorkville cross your path and change your life entirely, just like it did mine in 2020.

What are your plans after graduation, both immediate and long term?    

I own a small bookkeeping and payroll company and work with many for- and non-profit organizations in Canada and United States. Academically, I am working on being admitted to the CPA program to obtain a CPA designation in the future. 

If you offered one piece of advice to an incoming student, what would that be?  

Do not limit your dreams to your beliefs! Dream without boundaries and be brave in pursuing whatever makes you happy!

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