You’ve completed your last exam, sold your last textbook, and handed in your graduation gown. But now, you’ve come face to face with your next big challenge: starting your career.
Many graduates either have a very specific idea of what they want their career to look like, or no idea at all. In both situations, it’s important to keep an open mind and explore all possibilities and industries.
For example, many Finance graduates picture themselves working at a bank after they finish school. But what a lot of them don’t realize is that there are other great industries where they can apply their skills. The Vehicle and Equipment Finance industry is a great example. This field is full of amazing career opportunities, with lots of room for advancement – a perfect fit for ambitious young professionals.
We connected with four recent graduates who have started their careers in this egg-citing field. They share their insights and experiences below!
Samantha Supple: Discovering a new field
Samantha Supple completed a double major in Financial Economics and Financial Administration at the University of Western Ontario. A short time later, she began working in the Vehicle and Equipment Finance industry as a receptionist.
“I knew about finance, but I had no idea what the leasing industry was about,” says Samantha. “The Vehicle and Equipment Finance industry isn’t widely taught in school. I don’t think a lot of recent grads know that it’s out there.”
Samantha didn’t stay in her receptionist role for long. Over the next 3 years, she explored many different aspects of the business, from customer service to documentation and funding where she works now. As a Lease and Administration Coordinator, she processes new lease applications and works closely with the credit department to ensure all the proper procedures and documentation are completed for each case.
“The Vehicle and Equipment Finance industry is different. I think if more graduates knew more about it, they would love it.” Samantha Supple, Lease and Administration Coordinator at Equirex Leasing Corp.
Since her graduation, Samantha has immersed herself in the leasing side of the business, despite her background in finance. She says she loves what she does because it’s all about helping people.
“I like that I can help people get what they need in order for their company to grow,” says Samantha. “The industry also challenges me to work harder… there’s so much to learn and I love that.”
Samantha says that she hopes to stay in the Vehicle and Equipment Finance industry so she can continue to take advantage of all the great opportunities and advance her career.
“I want to become a Senior Funder, but it’s also crossed my mind to move into the credit aspect of the business,” says Samantha. “For now I want to learn more – I’ve moved around in my company so much and I’ve taken in a lot of information, but I know there’s a lot more to gain!”
Adriano Zamai: From co-op to career
As a student, Adriano Zamai pursued a Bachelors of Business Administration at the Goodman School of Business (Brock University). His program required him to complete a co-op placement so in his third year of University, he began searching for the perfect opportunity.
In 2013, he began his placement with Mercedes-Benz Financial Services in a Customer Service Support role. It was here that Adriano got his first taste of a career in the Vehicle and Equipment Finance industry.
“My role was to support the customer service team,” says Adriano. “I did the paperwork and the processing behind the scenes, and made sure everyone had what they needed.”
Through this role, he gained some familiarity with the different departments and the moving parts in the business. He completed an 8-month placement and returned to school. Upon graduation, he says he was eager to start working at Mercedes-Benz Financial Services again. He re-applied to the company and landed a job in sales and marketing.
“I never really thought about this industry when I was looking for my first co-op,” says Adriano. “I like the work environment and the culture and how welcoming and friendly everyone is. Most of my colleagues say this is the best place they’ve ever worked.”
Today, Adriano says he’s recently landed a brand new role with Mercedes-Benz Financial Services as an Operations Services Representative. While he is once again working his way through a learning curve, he is eager to see what opportunities will arise from this new experience. He says he counts himself lucky to have had the chance to try out so many different roles within this one company, and while he says he’s still eager to pursue a marketing career in the future, he’s learned a lot in the last few years.
“Don’t hold back , that’s my advice,” says Adriano. “I have a marketing degree, which is pretty far from finance. But don’t let your education hold you back. If you give off a good vibe in the interview and you have a great personality, give it a chance. You might end up liking it!”
Jeff Haig: Finding a fulfilling career
While obtaining a BBA degree with a concentration in Finance from Wilfrid Laurier University, Jeff Haig began working in the banking industry. However, after some time learning the ropes, he decided he wanted to explore his options even further.
“I read about TAO Asset Management and how they were trying to rebuild the Canadian securitization market by helping their business clients raise capital,” says Jeff. “There are a lot of opportunities in the vehicle and equipment finance space, and the industry is always evolving.”
“The Vehicle and Equipment Finance industry is so diverse. There are so many opportunities – there’s always something for anyone who’s interested and willing to work hard.” Jeff Haig, Financial Analyst at TAO Asset Management
Jeff applied and eventually landed a role with the company after three 30 minute interviews, followed by a financial modelling exercise – a standard component for finance professionals. Jeff says he was sent a description of a business and a portfolio, from which he was asked to build a cash flow model.
“They wanted to see how critically you think,” says Jeff. “Any finance course can show you how to build cash flow models. In this case, they wanted to see the different things you evaluate to get a sense of how you’d approach cases on a day-to-day basis.”
As an Analyst, Jeff is focused on analyzing different client portfolios, structuring transactions, and monitoring portfolio performance. His favourite part about his job is that each portfolio presents a unique and exciting challenge.
“When you structure a transaction, you have to take a lot of factors into consideration,” says Jeff. “Canadian finance and leasing is so broad – we have clients from the east to west coast in completely different industries. It’s a very interesting field.”
Brayden Millet: Seeking a new challenge
In 2012, Brayden Millet landed an internship at Mercedes-Benz Financial Services as part of his Honours Bachelor of Business Administration program at the Goodman School of Business (Brock University). What he didn’t know was that the following 14 months would shape his new career path in the Vehicle and Equipment Finance industry.
Brayden admits that when he applied for his internship role, he wasn’t very familiar with the sector. As a student, he says he was looking for a challenging and exciting role in his field. Luckily for him, Vehicle and Equipment Finance offered him what he was looking for.
“If I had to describe a typical day in this industry, the words ‘variety’, ‘unpredictable’, and ‘fast-paced’ come to mind,” says Brayden.
After his internship, Brayden returned to school to complete his degree. Upon graduation, he was invited back to work with the company in a sales and marketing role. After a few months, he spotted an opportunity to move into the Jr. Risk and Portfolio Management Analyst position, and seized it.
“The finance department is involved in so many facets of the business,” says Brayden. “We’re involved with every piece of the business, so it’s provided me with a lot of exposure.”
Brayden says there are two main reasons why he loves his career: the unpredictable nature of his job and the people he works with. He describes the business as being “people-centric,” and it’s this human factor that helps him connect with the work he does.
“It’s interesting working on an elaborate business model that’s so reliant on individuals,” says Brayden. “My typical day contains such a variety of tasks – it can be anything from looking through data to working on a presentation to training an intern.”
Despite the fact that he’s no longer a student, Brayden continues to find new challenges in his work – and that’s the way he likes it. He plans to continue exploring the business, soaking up as much information as he can to improve his working knowledge of the industry.
“It takes time – you can’t just come in and learn these things for a year,” says Brayden. “There are so many pieces to this business. It’s complex and challenging, that’s for sure.”