Crunching the numbers

June 16, 2015


Bodybuilder uncovers his passion—the language of business—and discovers an unexpected world of leadership opportunities

It wasn’t until the second year of his commerce degree that Eric Lajczak discovered his passion. It was then that the former journeyman welder discovered the language of business—accounting—thanks to his professor, Sherif Elbarrad.

“Sherif taught me in a way that allowed me to understand accounting and, quite frankly become good at it,” says Eric. “It was natural and easy for me—I could understand financial statements and numbers—everything just made sense in my head. I actually enjoy it.”

He enjoys it so much that throughout his time at MacEwan University, he sought out ways to share with his peers his love of accounting and the opportunities it provides.

For two years, he was the Chartered Professional Accountants campus ambassador for MacEwan, educating first- and second-year students about the profession, designation, programming and networking events.

He was both vice-president external and president of the MacEwan University Accounting Club, overseeing the club’s annual free tax clinic—which filed a record 700-plus tax returns for low-income earners this past March. He also coordinated mock job interviews for students with HR representatives from local accounting firms; this “Meet the Firm” event is expected to continue as his legacy project with the Accounting Club.

His initiatives garnered him a number of accolades, including two consecutive Future Business Leader Awards.

“I believe that to develop and become a great leader, you have to develop and help others too,” he says. “People have helped me down the road and sometimes you have to pay it forward.”

But Eric is not just about crunching numbers—he’s also pumping iron. As a bodybuilder, he recently won the Northern Alberta title and is headed to the provincial championships this month.

How does he fit it all in? “I run effectively on six hours of sleep each night,” he says, doing the math. “That leaves me with 18 hours in the day for everything else.”

In addition to the upcoming bodybuilding competition, Eric has a busy few months ahead. In July 2015, he’s getting married in Europe and in September he begins an articling position with Kingston Ross Pasnak.

“As long as you’re willing to put your mind to it, I believe that anything is possible,” he says. “If you’re willing to challenge yourself and show discipline, anything is achievable.”

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