An inside look at finance

I knew this event as Breaking Into Finance, but this year the Undergraduate Commerce Society (UCS) has re-branded the previous event in collaboration with the Department of Management to enhance the structure and itinerary of the first annual Finance Professionals Conference (FPC).

Bruce Watson (vice president, J. P. Morgan) and Maryam Asmat (analyst, J. P. Morgan) started the event with a brief overview of their roles and their journey to J. P. Morgan.

Maryam’s story was particularly fascinating because she is a recent graduate from the Ivey School of Business. Hearing about her accomplishments (she interned at IBM, and is the founder/CEO of her own interior design business before joining J. P. Morgan as an analyst) truly inspired me. She is the embodiment of following your passions alongside school or a day job.

She was extremely down to earth, and humble in terms of speaking about her accomplishments. Bruce had to list all of her successes and even then she did not want to over-emphasize what he had mentioned about her. To me, that humility really stood out and I think it resonated with other students as well.

Next up was Alexander Carbone, a senior consultant at Monitor Deloitte. He also spoke about his journey through Queen’s University, Suncor Energy, and finally at Deloitte. He discerned Monitor Deloitte from the firm’s other practice areas, and how the services offered worked to add value to their clients.

During the panel, he articulated how he differentiated himself from his peers by taking the Canadian Securities Course (CSC) in his first year to secure summer internships in his first/second year.

I felt that his story added an extra element to the event because during my third-year job hunt I found it hard to truly stand out. Everyone is a director, or executive on an extra-curricular board on campus, but he offered additional education as a key differentiator.

The final speaker, Maryam Shahid (director, CIBC Capital Markets who loves coming to UTM to judge case competitions) explained her role at CIBC.

Her presentation was informal, which gave me the opportunity to see her personality. She spoke about challenges faced during her immigration to Canada and how she found her passion for capital markets by making the most out of an entry-level opportunity.

Her ability to see the value in her work, was the reason she was offered a full-time position after her contract ended.

Following a panel where students were able to ask general questions, speed networking ensued over hors d’oeuvres, joined by representatives from BMO alongside CIBC, Deloitte, and J. P. Morgan.

In speaking with some of the representatives, I learned more about an area of my own personal interest; technology disrupting the finance space as it is in accounting. And big data, and blockchain being some of the more prominent technologies to impact their roles in the near future.

All in all, it was a great event for those who are deciding on their specialization, learning how to network, or wanting to learn more about a career in finance.

– Sarah Girgis,
University of Toronto Mississauga, Class of 2019
B.Comm. Accounting Specialist, Economics Major

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