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​​Student to CEO: A Candid Conversation with a Business Leader of Tomorrow

Meet Harvin Hilaire, a Business Leader in the Concordia community. As a third-year student graduating with a double major in Business Technology Management (BTM) and Marketing, Harvin has been involved in student life throughout his undergrad. He has been a Chairperson on the CASA-JMSB Diversity Committee since 2021 and is an Academic Delegate in the John Molson Competition Committee (JMCC) for the 2022-2023 school year. He is also the founder of Harvinos Logos, a brand design and consulting firm.

Involvement in Student Life

Harvin’s drive to become a student leader began before becoming a business student. As a Concordia student in 2018, he became involved with the Haitian Student Association as VP External and then as President. He says, “During that time, I had so much fun meeting people, engaging with students on campus and working for the community. So, the second I was in JMSB, I knew I wanted to reproduce that experience, but now, in the business world.”

For Harvin, the number one skill that he gained from his time at Concordia was the ability to work in a team. “Student associations, JMSB courses and Concordia, in general, are very heavy in group projects,” he explains. Similarly, he emphasizes the importance of pitching yourself and communicating clearly, “without raising question marks.” These skills were immensely important throughout his undergrad and were especially vital when competing as part of JMCC.

Looking back on his experiences competing in case competitions, Harvin tells us that he enjoys the moments when “everyone on the team looks at each other and knows that they have to get through [the case] with nothing.” To him, the most thrilling cases are the ones that are the most challenging. By facing cases he knows nothing about, he has built up his adaptability and confidence when public speaking.

When asked about his motivation for competing in case competitions, Harvin explains, “JMCC is something that I knew I wanted to be a part of ever since I joined Concordia. I’m very competitive; I like to see myself progress. I wouldn’t say that I’m competitive to the point that I’m salty or mad when I lose, but that competitiveness drives me to do better all the time. If I don’t reach my goal, that competitiveness pushes me to try again.”

Experience as an Entrepreneur

In 2020, Harvin began to do freelance graphic design for entrepreneurs. He tells us, “It quickly fell into logos—I was watching many YouTube videos about that, so that’s what I focused on and honed in on.” He then realized that many people weren’t sure how to apply the logo he created to their photos or videos and often noticed his designs ended up stretched or distorted. “This was a little annoying to me because I put a lot of work into the logos,” he confesses. To remedy this, Harvin shifted his focus toward branding and brand guides.

And so began Harvinos Logos, Harvin’s branding consultation business.

“Branding is a major element of a business and is at the core of your marketing,” he tells us. “When you’re looking at a certain audience, your brand needs to appeal to them. I realized that there are many new businesses created every year, and a lot of these business owners don’t have a lot of marketing knowledge and need assistance. I decided to work with small businesses and entrepreneurs to help them establish a branding that reaches the people they want to reach.”

His journey as an entrepreneur wasn’t easy, however. “At first, I didn’t go in with a business plan or any framework,” Harvin says. “But I quickly realized you can’t scale without figuring out the structure. Once I started working on the structure, I started to see where the holes were, where I could improve, where I could add to my business, and what could help other businesses. It forced me to do a lot of research and to understand the market.”

To Harvin, the most valuable skill as an entrepreneur is the ability to search for a problem in your surroundings and then build a solution you can. He says, “If you’re able to do that, you can produce value in any industry.”

Advice for Students

We ask Harvin whether he has any final words of advice for students entering the business world. He does. “If you’re entering JMSB, get involved as soon as possible—not too involved, or else you’ll get overwhelmed. But go to events and network. Even if you’re shy, say hi to recruiters.”

“For anyone graduating soon, start applying to jobs in your last year. Also, be open about your situation—tell recruiters, ‘Hey, I’m still a student, but I’m very interested in your company.’ You’ll be surprised by the reaction you might get. Some might say, ‘Okay, that’s cool.’ Some might say, ‘We’ll wait ‘till you finish, but you have a spot,’ or ‘Just come back later.’ But you don’t lose anything by trying.”


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