Whether he’s running one of the biggest student groups on campus or starting up his own company, Ameya Pendse is involved in a variety of endeavours that play to his skills in entrepreneurship, organization, and public relations.
Pendse is currently the Vice-President Internal for the International Relations Students’ Association of McGill (IRSAM), a student group with over 200 members that hosts a variety of events related to international relations. This includes the prestigious McGill Model United Nations (McMUN) Conference, where Pendse served this year as a crisis director and ran one of 26 committees.
Pendse says he was encouraged to become more involved in university life after serving as President of Royal Victoria Hall’s Residence Council in his first year.
“I came out of second year and had a gap in my life,” he says. “I was lucky enough to make it onto IRSAM, and really lucky to become VP Internal after only being on IRSAM for one year.”
As a board member, Pendse has expanded the McGill International Review, a journal that publishes work on subjects in international relations. Previously the journal was only published once a year in print, but under Pendse’s term it has become an online platform. The switch means content is plentiful and up-to-date.
One of Pendse’s favourite parts of IRSAM is the opportunity to meet the other participants and coordinators.
“You get to meet a lot of cool people—members of IRSAM [come from] about 15 or 16 or countries,” he says. “Board [members] become really good friends and you get to know secretariats of each model UN conference, McMUN, and [the Secondary School UN Symposium].”
In a couple of weeks, Pendse will even have the opportunity to meet the consulate general of Pakistan when she comes to McGill to speak about the role of women in Pakistan.
In addition to IRSAM, Pendse is the co-founder of a company called Carte M Card—a student discount card that allows students to get up to 15 per cent off at select restaurants and pubs in Montreal.
He recalls how he and his business partner, U3 marketing student Ben Koring, became serious about the idea one day while the two were having lunch.
“We were talking about it and decided, let’s just do it,” Pendse says.
According to Pendse, starting the company wasn’t easy.
“I missed a lot of class and just spent a lot of time going [around] to businesses, talking to [owners] and offering contracts,” Pendse says.
Carte M Card can be used at 70 different businesses, including popular destinations among McGill students such as Peel Pub, MVP, and Smart Burger. The card costs $10 and is valid for the entire year.
Although Carte M Card was only launched two weeks ago, Pendse says it’s off to a good start. The company already has fifteen sales reps, and they may even be looking to expand into the US.
“[Carte M Card] already broke even, which is very hard for a start-up [company] in its first few months of existence,” he said.
Pendse hopes to take what he has learned—both on and off campus—as he pursues a degree in either law or business after graduation.
“[Starting a business] was a lot of work but it’s a completely different experience from learning in a classroom,” he says. “[I’m] really interested in business; [starting the company] showed me what it’s like to work in the real world.”
McGill Tribune: If you could only eat at one restaurant for the rest of your life, where would you eat?
Ameya Pendse: Hands-down Red Lobster; those biscuits are amazing.
MT: What’s your favourite Internet pastime?
AP: Facebook wins, but I’m starting to use Buzzfeed more and more everyday.
MT: If you could host any awards show, which would it be?
AP: The Oscars, just because it’s the Oscars. I just want to say, “And the Academy Award goes to…” in a British accent.
MT: What celebrity, dead or alive, would you most like to meet?
AP: I wish I had the chance to meet James Gandolfini, a.k.a. Tony Soprano. Best. Show. Ever.
MT: Do you have any hidden talents?
AP: Yes. That is all.
MT: What is one thing no one could pay you enough to do?
AP: Work for Tim Horton’s or Krispy Kreme. Dunkin’ Donuts forever.