Keshav Gupta shows off an example of his glasswork, created in the Western glassblowing shop.
Photo submitted/story by Rob Rombouts
Keshav Gupta let his passion guide his education, and it has allowed him to find business success well outside his field of study.
When Gupta started his undergraduate education at Western, he initially planned to go to Ivey. During his first two years, he took a variety of undergraduate electives, “as much as my normal course-load would allow,” said Gupta. In his 3rd year, Gupta opted to continue his education in the Faculty of Social Science, going on to complete a BMOS degree in DAN Management, studying accounting.
During his university career, Gupta became interested in intricate glasswork, and started a personal collection. He was soon inspired to make his own, and by his 4th year, Gupta had set up a small glasswork studio. Upon coming back to Western that year, he learned there was a scientific glassblowing shop on campus. Eager to build up his skills, he started volunteering with the studio, and learned how to approach glass-making from a scientific angle, with a focus on controlled method.
After graduation, Gupta worked for a food processing company, but continued to be interested in glass work.
Inspired by his personal interest, and finding that his own personal studio was too small, Gupta and a friend opened a studio space in Toronto, making space available for other artists who were looking for flame-working space.
Soon after opening that space, Gupta moved to BC and helped operate a studio in Vancouver. The studio provides space for up to 14 other artists.
His efforts made him a pioneer in the field. “There are not many large studios like this in Canada,” said Gupta, “and there is no formal school for this in Canada.”
It was his varied educational experience, and inspiration from his professors that inspired Gupta to look outside a career stream of what a business degree would generally be considered.
“It has not been an easy thing, being self-employed. You have to be persistent and disciplined,” said Gupta. But his desire to be his own boss keeps him going. “I knew early on that if I was to pursue a career path in business or traditional fields, I felt it wouldn’t be something that would make me happy.”
“My experience in DAN Management was definitely useful for starting my business,” said Gupta. “A lot of what it taught me was how to manage a business, how to manage myself. A lot of my success came from how well I was set-up in that area.”
“I took business courses, and additional courses like history, psychology, and astronomy,” said Gupta. “Having that university education background gave me the confidence to go forward and not feel restricted in business.”
Gupta suggests that students should not be afraid of looking beyond the traditional employment streams. “If there is something they might be interested in, they should follow that,” said Gupta. “Craft industries are taking off, so being someone who can specialize in those things is important. It's been 8 years doing this, and I’m surprised how many different places it's taken me and the people I've met. You start at one point and you go from there.”