UTM Arts Grad Builds His Finance Career In Banking

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“Hey,  I’ve  got something for you,” John says, pulling two items from his black backpack.

I like surprises.

John puts a travel mug with the Blue Jays logo on it and a tin box onto the table. I pick up the tin box.

“Authentic SkyDome Turf,” I read aloud from the tin box.

“Learning the jargon, regulations and concepts was definitely a challenge. I had to learn it all pretty fast.” —John Rego, Political Science and CCIT graduate, University of Toronto Mississauga

“Yeah. It’s a piece of the turf from when the Blue Jays won the World Series back in ’92, ’93,” John explains. “I got it from work.”

John Rego, a friend I met in undergrad, graduated from the University of Toronto Mississauga in November 2011, with a double major in Political Science and Communications, Culture & Information Technology (CCIT). He recently left his Investment Analytics position at RBC for a four-month contract to do IT work for the Blue Jays.

I didn’t know of anyone who worked for the Blue Jays until now.

I grin. “Thanks,” I say, tucking the items in my purse. “So, do you miss RBC?”

“A bit. But this Blue Jays gig is a nice change.” John sips his chicken noodle soup. “When my contract’s over, I hope to get back to work at RBC.”

Working in investments

John explains that his Investment Analytics job at RBC involved following the stock market from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. each day to find patterns that would help the bank figure out where to best invest its money. But that’s not where he started at RBC.

“So how did you get your job at RBC? Were you always in Investment Analytics?”

John shakes his head. “I got a referral to work at an RBC branch. From there, someone informed me that there was an opening in the investments department. The only way that I could secure that position was to write the CSC [Canadian Securities Course] exams.”

Passing the CSC exams gave John the essential financial services credentials that banks, like RBC, look for when hiring someone to work in financial services.

The entry level position in investments involved helping clients understand their investment statements and it was John’s job to help his clients achieve their financial goals, like saving for retirement through investments.

“How challenging was it to work in investments?” I ask, biting into my cranberry turkey sandwich.

“I don’t have a finance background, but I’m strong with numbers. So anything to do with math is relatively easy,” John laughs. “But learning the jargon, regulations and concepts was definitely a challenge. I had to learn it all pretty fast. But once I learned that portion, the rest was pretty easy.”

John sums up the transition from school to work so far as overwhelming. “Overwhelming because I wasn’t used to a professional atmosphere or wearing professional attire everyday. It’s definitely different from the [laid back] atmosphere of school.”

The best part of working in financial services

“The people at RBC were the best part about working there. RBC has personal development coaches you can go to for guidance and support, no matter what your situation is.”

During his two months of training for the investments position, RBC paid John his full wage even though he hadn’t officially started his job. “RBC invested a lot of time and energy to train me. They were willing to take a risk in hiring me,” he says.

What’s next?

John hopes to eventually work in the regulatory and compliance department of RBC, specifically in the anti-money laundering area. “I have a Political Science major that I can finally use. It’ll take me some time to get there, but I just have to take baby steps.”

John’s advice for students:

“Network, network, network. Never miss an opportunity to network. Go for a tour. Job shadow someone. Ask for advice,” he says. “It’s not every day that someone, like a recruiter or a manager, gets asked for advice. They’ll remember you for it.”

Financial Services Week

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About the author

Kleine Achiles is a budding freelance writer with an interest in marketing and communications. She has a love for art, fashion, fitness and motivational quotes. She graduated from U of T Mississauga and Sheridan College with an Honours B.A. in Communications, Culture & Information Technology (CCIT) and Professional Writing & Communications (PWC). She also recently completed a one year postgrad in Copywriting Advertising at Humber College. Kleine has a published book called "The First Time," which is an autobiographical collection of short stories about first time experiences that will always stay with her.