Alumni Spotlight: Hafiz Mitha BA'07 (Political Science)

Arts alumni are an accomplished crew. They have great advice for students and fellow graduates, and know that arts degrees teach skills that are sought-after in the professional environment.

Hafiz Mitha BA'07 (Political Science) is the founder and CEO of PlayCity App. With busy schedules and a limited network, it’s hard to find someone who wants to play the same sport, who is in the same skill level and who can play close to you. PlayCity is on a mission to connect people using technology, offline!

What is your favourite University of Calgary memory?

I have to say graduating from the University of Calgary is my favourite memory. It was a long process and to be finally walking the stage, I was so excited to get into the real world and start building a life outside of school.

What was your favourite campus hang out spot?

There are two really large heaters that doubled as benches by the entrance of MacKimmie Library. It was a spot that you could hang out and know that you would run into people as they were going from class to class. Plus it kept you warm ;)

If you could give one piece of advice to a student completing the same degree that you did, what would it be?

Don’t stress yourself out about the degree you have now. Most people I know, are not in the field that they went to school for. What I would do is concentrate on learning your field well but also take a variety of options to help you figure out what other subjects interest you. I learned a lot about myself taking sociology and psychology courses. Those learnings are what I take with me today as I build a company that doesn’t have much to do with a degree in Political Science.

How has your career evolved?

My career is always evolving. I started my first company the year I graduated from UCalgary in 2007. Since then, I have had the opportunity to hold many roles - mostly as a founder but the internal role of the company has changed from business development, marketing, operations and just recently CEO. I feel like you should always try to evolve as a person and the career will be a reflection of your internal evolution.

What is the best thing about your job?

I love to meet people. Learning about a new person, their background, their interests, their place of birth - anything new excites me. I also love to play sports too so combining my love of meeting new people and using sports as a way to do that has been a blessing. Hearing stories of how others have met through our platform is the most rewarding feeling. 

How did your arts degree help you get to where you are now/your current career?

Having a degree in Political Science helped me in a number of ways. Primarily, it helped to condense my thoughts into a series of statements that could be strung together to make a point. Learning how to put together a 25 page paper in under two weeks was also an awesome experience that has helped put together RFP’s that we have found and had to submit in a short time frame. 

Do you have advice for students looking to pursue a similar career path?

Entrepreneurship has been romanticized by the media and the reality is that it is a hard, tough, lonely and very unpredictable route. I suggest to people all the time that they don’t have to be the founder of a company to feel like they have made an impact. There are plenty of companies who could use their expertise to reach their goals.

If you are someone who is self-motivated, driven to make a change and likes to experiment - then start something. It could be a hobby, a project, an organization or a company. There is never any downside to trying to build and I 100% believe that the lessons learned taking an idea to a tangible is priceless.

I would not however be driven by only financial incentives. Have a guiding light, a reason to why your project exists, a vision to where things could be with your work. Otherwise you will burn out and having only money as a means of motivation will not get you to where you want to be. Find your passion and the profits will follow.

Do you have any other thoughts or memories you would like to share?

I’m very grateful for the opportunity to attend the University of Calgary, however, I wish I took more advantage of the University experience. I am born and raised in Calgary so most of my friends are also from here. If I could go back in time, I would try and meet as many diverse people through campus associations as possible. I would also have taken advantage of all of the various recreational opportunities built to open your mind and develop relationships.