Justin Lee

In choosing to forego a prestigious scholarship to pursue a greater challenge, Justin showed tremendous integrity

  • Fredericton, NB
  • Bachelor of Commerce (Accounting)

What made you choose the Sobey School?

I was a student of another business school for two years prior to Saint Mary’s. While it is a great school, I didn’t feel I was being challenged enough. While I was completing my co-op term with PricewaterhouseCoopers in Halifax, I have learned that Saint Mary’s Sobey School of Business had a great reputation and was regarded as one of the top business schools in the country. Soon after, I decided to transfer to complete my business degree. 

What are the three things you accomplished before coming here that you are most proud of?  

First one is an odd one, but it is when I placed in top three at my elementary school’s speech competition. I was in grade 7 and have moved to Canada from South Korean less than two years ago. Consequently, my English was terrible to the point where talking with my classmates was difficult. For some odd reason, I was determined to give it my all to this speech competition, and when I beat out most of my native English-speaking counterparts, I learned that no matter how slim the prospects, hard work and effort can bring you success. Ever since, this attitude has stayed with me to this day.

Second is when I led my company in the Junior Achievement Program to record the highest sales level ever to be reached in the province.

Last is securing a co-op placement with PricewaterhouseCoopers just in my second year of University; a feat quite uncommon in the school that I was enrolled in.

What are the three things you accomplished here you are most proud of?

First is the life-long friendships I’ve made with some of my professors. As a student, it’s so easy to forego the potential relationships with your professors beyond the classroom. I made the effort to get to know some of my professors on a personal level, and these relationships have already helped me immensely in reaching the next stage of my life.

Second is my ability to persevere. During my time at Saint Mary’s, there were incredibly difficult circumstances that turned out to be the biggest obstacle I have ever faced. Despite the hardship, I maintained my GPA and even prepared for and wrote the Law School Admissions Test.

Last is getting accepted into all the law schools I applied to and being in a fortunate position to choose among the top law schools in the nation.

Describe the scholarship you were offered, and what influenced your decision regarding it.

I was offered a scholarship from York University’s Osgoode Hall Law School. As one of their largest and most prestigious scholarship, it is given to a student that acknowledges a moral obligation to improving the lives of others professionally through pro bono work and/or charitable contribution. Though I was honored to have been offered this award, I decided to turn it down in favor of attending another school. When I started my journey to become a lawyer, I promised myself that I would attend the law school that was going to be the most challenging, and push me towards my potential. I saw these criteria as well as myself fitting in the school that I ended up choosing.

Who inspires you?

Instead of who, I would like to answer with what inspires me. My hardships have taught me what it’s like to hit rock bottom. Funny thing I learned about the human mind is that once you experience some form of success, you tend to forget your humble beginnings and yearn for more. I was beginning to seek happiness from my achievements, but the problem is that they will always be next to achievements that are bigger and better. I realized that it’s the state of happiness that allows you to achieve great things rather than the other way around. This lesson inspires and motivates me to stay humble in my everyday life and be grateful for the things I have. 

What is your big audacious dream? How do you plan to make an impact?

I’d be lying if I said I have a clear plan of what I want to accomplish in my lifetime. However, I do know that I want to work with real problems involving real people. I am hoping that I will discover my true calling in law school, and whichever direction I end up in, my ultimate goal would be to know that my work and who I am made the world a better place.

In your own words, what impact has the Sobey School had on you?

My time at the Sobey School of Business was not a smooth one. There were hurdles that could have put me in a much different place in life had I not overcome them. However, knowing that doing well here would let me end up with a prestigious business degree allowed me to stay motivated and gave me a goal to chase. Additionally, the lifelong friends I made with colleagues as well as professors helped me get through my hardships, and in the end, I believe it built me up to be a much stronger person.

Tell me about one of your hobbies.

I like to believe that some part of me is a musician at heart. I enjoy playing a wide variety of instruments as well as recording and producing music. One of my favorite things to do is transposing existing songs into different genres or making instrumental versions of them.