College student works with universities’ best

Photo credit:  Mohammed Mohsin

Photo credit: Mohammed Mohsin


Sahil Sachdeva is doing something no other college student could do. While still in school, he got accepted into RBC’s Amplify summer internship, where students from across the world work in teams to solve real problems faced by Canada’s largest bank.

It’s a competitive program that usually only accepts university students. But through determination and Centennial College’s help, Sachdeva got involved. A good school can enhance a student’s success and serve as the launching pad to do great things, as Sachdeva has done.

Here’s how he did it.

 “I started coding early, somewhere around when I was 16,” Sachdeva says. “It seemed really cool to me how all those fancy websites and computer games were nothing but a bunch of ‘if/else’ statements. It’s funny that I never really thought of having a career in software development. I always looked at it as a hobby.”

To turn his interest into a calling, Sachdeva earned a bachelor’s degree in computer science engineering in his native India, and then worked as a software developer. He decided to come to Canada and further his education through Centennial College.

Sachdeva enrolled in the college’s Software Engineering Technology Fast-Track Co-op program.

The fast-track option allowed him to skip ahead to the second year of the three-year program by applying his degree credits.

“The best thing about my program is that it is heavily hands-on,” he says. “You are valued for your ability to write good code, and not just for being able to remember concepts and frameworks.” It was Centennial’s co-op placements that led Sachdeva to Amplify.

“I did two back-to-back co-op terms with RBC,” he says. “Towards the end of my eight-month tenure, my manager suggested I should aim to get into RBC Amplify – one of the most prestigious tech internships in Canada.”

“It’s a four-month-long ‘hackathon’ where a team of four students with diverse backgrounds are given a challenge that the bank sees value in. The challenges are complex and need innovative, out-of-the-box thinking.”

“Towards the end we get to present our solution at AMP Expo to the top executives at the bank, and have a chance to get sponsorship for our vision to be converted into a production application, ready to face the market!” Sachdeva says.

“Getting into Amplify is pretty intense. Thousands of applications are received and only a select few across the globe manage to get an interview.” Sachdeva credits getting involved in campus life for being chosen.

“The most useful skills that I’ve learnt at Centennial have been the soft skills,” he says. By pursuing a Leadership Passport, wherein students take up volunteering and leadership activities throughout their pro-gram, he will graduate with a distinction in leadership. 

“Most of my major successes and personal developments have come from the people I have met during these volunteer experiences. All these activities have shaped me into who I am today and have helped me to grow as a person,” Sachdeva says.

“My focus right now is to prepare for the AMP Expo and work on a solution to my challenge that I would be proud of. The beauty of Amplify is that getting into the program is just one small achievement. The big things are yet to come.”

Sachdeva has plenty of advice for how other college students can get to where he is, and it’s all about getting involved in what school has to offer.

“Believe in yourself and be open to anything and everything that comes your way,” he says. “Write down your goals and have an achievable plan. Create your story, connect the dots and always be ready to impress people. And most importantly, if you are not where you want to be – take action!”

• More on courses and programs t www.centennialcollege.ca

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