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Brennan Loh, BCom
Head of Business Development, Shopify - Ottawa, ON, Canada

Brennan Loh

Alumnus Brennan Loh (B.Com – Marketing 2012) has the entrepreneurial drive and spirit that is synonymous with the Telfer School of Management. Soon before graduating from Gloucester High School in Ottawa in 2007, he had heard that uOttawa was in the process of making big changes to its management program thanks to a generous donation of $25 million from Ian Telfer. He knew right away that he wanted to be a part of this new vision.

Brennan made the most of his time at Telfer by being actively involved in Entrepreneur's Club. He first heard of the Club when he was researching the school prior to beginning his post-secondary studies. He was so impressed with the Club's annual business dinner that, on a whim, he e-mailed the Club President and asked how he could be involved come September. "A few hours later she e-mailed me back told me to come to campus the next week for an interview. I was awarded the position of Executive Assistant of the Entrepreneur's Club before I had even gone to prom. I stayed with the club until my final year and was President for two of those years", says Loh.

When looking back upon his time at Telfer, Brennan fondly remembers the late Professor Koppel and the life lessons he taught him. For Loh, Professor Koppel represented the quintessential hard-to-please, no-nonsense business executive who had a real passion for the subject matter and for the students he taught. "For his ADM2381 class, I had to present a final five-minute topic and Professor Koppel and six of his Teaching Assistants would sit at the end of this enormous table with a blank look on their face, checking their watches and waiting for you to crack under pressure. I had never been so nervous for anything school related in my life and it turned out to by my favourite class by far while at Telfer", declares Brennan.

During his fourth and final year at Telfer, Brennan was running a tech startup with two friends who were both software engineering students at uOttawa. Through a connection he made while in the Entrepreneur's Club, they were introduced to another startup operating out of Ottawa called Shopify. They got to know the founders Tobi Lutke and Harley Finkelstein well, and Brennan eventually joined their team part-time while he finished his studies. By the time he finished his last university class, he was already working 40+ hours a week at Shopify.

Brennan continues to work at Shopify to as their Head of Business Development. His time at Telfer has taught him that the best opportunities aren't given, they are earned. When asked what matters most to him, he explains that it is real-world experience. "University is like the Truman Show – in a way, you're living life in a bubble. You're taught theories, forced to develop a work ethic, encouraged to play nice with others, etc. For me, Telfer was this secret window to the real world. Whether it was the Entrepreneur's Club, the leadership and mentorship programs, or the support of running a startup, I felt like Telfer prepared us for what was to come after graduation."

That's why Brennan finds it important to give back by mentoring students who have taken executive roles in the various clubs at Telfer. "I offer feedback and guidance on everything from securing sponsorship to setting up a CRM for their club. Not only has this been a rewarding experience on a personal level, but I've easily found a ton of job candidates for Shopify this way!"

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