A CPA is one of those designations that fourth year students often dream of getting. Between looking for a great job, keeping one, and planning your next career move, is there any time in a student’s busy schedule to even think of earning a CPA?
Absolutely — if you’re part of the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) CPA Rotational Program! You’ll get immense exposure to the diverse financial and investment work that CPPIB does around the world as well as a solid pathway to earn your CPA designation. For fourth year students who are looking to embark on an amazing journey with a team of extraordinary professionals whose analytical work spans several continents: this is definitely for you! Just hear what Nikkita Katyal, an Analyst with CPPIB’s Finance, Analytics and Risk department had to say about a company she first discovered via co-op and has now been with for nearly four years.
A Company With a Heart
Nikkita Katyal first heard about CPPIB through a campus recruiting event at the University of Waterloo as an Accounting and Finance major. After attending, she got a strong sense of the company’s open and friendly culture where junior and senior analysts sit side-by-side to achieve the company’s main objective — to maximize the investment benefits of the pension fund for 19 million Canadians.
“I was immediately attracted,” she said, citing how CPPIB has a powerfully positive atmosphere with an open-door policy across all departments. It also moved her that CPPIB has such an important mission, one that helps Canadians build their financial future. This vital goal, said Nikkita, is what ultimately motivated her to see CPPIB as an ideal employer. “Knowing that I could potentially contribute to the growth of this pension fund encouraged me to apply to CPPIB,” she said.
In September 2010, Nikkita joined the CPPIB Public Market Investment team as a co-op student. Sixteen fulfilling months later, she graduated with honours and came on board as a full time employee at CPPIB. Now, she’s actively involved in interdepartmental projects, leading the social committee, attending investment conferences, and recruiting new grads who, like herself, deeply desire to work with a company where they can truly make a difference.
“Today, I can say with confidence that I have directly contributed to the growth and success of this company,” said Nikkita. During her time at CPPIB so far, she’s already had a hand in sealing multimillion dollar deals as well as opening a new office in Luxembourg.
But that doesn’t mean she’s always tied up at the office. “Outside of work, I love travelling, yoga, and discovering new vegetarian recipes!” said Nikkita. Aside from getting professional experience that you’d be hard-pressed to find anywhere else, CPPIB is a company that encourages you to develop a healthy work life balance and learn to be your best self, both at work and outside of it.
One of Nikkita’s favorite parts of working for CPPIB is its amazing roster of people. “My colleagues are extremely enthusiastic and passionate about the work they do — I’m deeply inspired by them,” she said. At CPPIB, you’re encouraged to ask questions and be curious. So much so that you even have the option to take a day off just to dig deeper and learn more on how to excel in your role — they’re called Study Days! Part of being on the CPPIB team then, is putting in the time and energy to develop a sophisticated understanding of your position so that you’re able to perform at a higher level. “CPPIB is completely committed to investing in their employees,” said Nikkita.
Another benefit comes from CPPIB’s prime downtown location. “Also, I love the location of our office, which happens to be right next to Toronto’s Eaton Centre!,” said Nikkita. With downtown Toronto as a bustling backdrop, fourth year students who choose CPPIB will find many learning opportunities as part of the team as well as a larger network of accounting and finance professionals in the city.
Paving the Way as a CPA Rotational Analyst
In addition to in-depth learning, CPPIB now offers a groundbreaking program that helps fourth year students earn their CPA. Taking place over the course of three years, the CPA Rotational Program allows future leaders to hone their abilities by completing the CPA Professional Education Program while fulfilling their practical requirements via exposure to a variety of roles and responsibilities within the Finance, Analytics and Risk department. It’s a pathway that will prepare you to earn your CPA within 30 months and build a wealth of experiences that will advance your career.
You’ll also have someone to help you every step of the way. “CPA Rotational Analysts are paired with a mentor within CPPIB to both oversee their development of the required competencies and skills needed to obtain the CPA designation and provide career guidance and support,” said Nikkita. At CPPIB, you’re given the internal support to help you explore a wide range of roles while attaining the requirements to get your CPA designation.
In addition to getting a CPA Mentor, the CPA Rotational Analyst will be assigned peer partners, undergo annual Performance Management, and have one-on-one meetings with their manager to ensure that they’re getting the feedback they need to succeed and evolve as a professional. “Everyone at CPPIB is encouraged to develop their personal network, both within and beyond our organization, to broaden their knowledge and explore career options,” said Nikkita. All in all, you’re given the team, tools, and knowledge to be optimized for success in the rapidly changing world of business.
Interested yet? Nikkita has has three key pieces of advice for fourth year students who are applying for this exceptional opportunity at CPPIB. “Be yourself when meeting recruiters, always ask questions, and do your research on CPPIB.” It’s also helpful to demonstrate that you have strong grades, the ability to perform at a higher level, and unending curiosity and enthusiasm to become a part of the CPPIB community. “CPPIB is truly a great place to work,” said Nikkita. “We look forward to reviewing all your applications!”
CPPIB is recruiting in September for their CPA Rotational Program-apply now! They will also be hiring in January-look out for their campus information sessions through your school’s career centre!