Custom-tailored suits, an Ivy League education and deep connections – all of these things often seem like pre-requisites for landing even an entry-level job in the competitive field of Finance.
That’s why when Daniel Monroy, Senior Analyst, Funding and Liquidity Management at the BMO Financial Group and Ling Zhang, Research Analyst for ETFs & Financial Products Research at National Bank Financial approached their undergraduate graduation, they knew they needed to take one more step – the Master of Finance program at the Schulich School of Business. “I realized that I had a lot of people graduating with me,” said Daniel. “I knew that the job market was very competitive, limiting my potential to acquire a job in my field – I decided to acquire an edge,” he said.
In addition to standing out, Ling Zhang wanted to acquire more skills and knowledge in Finance before she entered the field. “I chose the MF program in particular because I truly believe the course curriculum is well-designed for a career in capital markets,” she said. She was also impressed by the respect and recognition given to the Schulich name, which influenced her decision to earn her Master of Finance degree there. “The Schulich School of Business has a great international reputation,” said Ling. “Its business programs are well-recognized in my community, which is an important deciding factor for many, myself included.”
After getting their Master of Finance degree, both Daniel and Ling became successful Finance professionals. Now, the question is – how did the Master of Finance program help bring them to where they are now?
A Cutting Edge CFA Curriculum
When you take the 12-month Master of Finance program at Schulich, you’ll be challenged to expand and evolve your communication and teamwork skills to adapt to the field of Finance. “We had presentations which tested my ability to communicate effectively in front of a group of people,” said Daniel. It’s now an essential part of his role. “Being able to communicate ideas to other people in a succinct manner is the key to being successful in Finance,” he said.
For Ling, the emphasis on group work strengthened her ability to effectively express her ideas as a professional. “The program provided me with opportunities to work in group and presentation projects,” she said. “These team-oriented projects helped me improve my communication skills with peers and build my confidence in public speaking.”
Along with optimizing the communication and teamwork skills you’ll need on the job, the Master of Finance has a CFA oriented curriculum that prepares you to pass the exam and earn your Chartered Financial Analyst certification. “The Master of Finance program covers about 90% of the whole CFA curriculum,” said Daniel. “In my preparation for the exam, I had to spend minimal time in learning new material and mostly focused on practicing the exam format and questions.”
In addition to accelerating your CFA certification, the MF program offers a Research and Professional Seminar Series to give students an in-depth look on how to conduct academic research in Finance as well as details on what it’s like to work in the field. “The Research Seminars helped me gain insights into the thought process of academic research, academic papers and how to critique a research result,” said Ling. “These seminars certainly improved my ability and comfort level in my own research communication skills.”
For Daniel, the highlight was being able to get an insider look into the lives of Finance professionals. “We had the chance to meet industry professionals and learn about their day-to-day activities,” he said. “It allowed me to see what I would like to do once I graduated and what I would not want to do at all.”
At the end of the Master of Finance program you’ll have sharpened vital communication and teamwork skills, extensively studied the CFA curriculum and gained insight on the research and professional practices of the field – all of which will form the foundation for your career and prepare you to succeed as a Finance professional, all accomplished in just 12 months.
A Vibrant Alumni and Academic Community
On top of an extensive and multifaceted curriculum, the Master of Finance program exposes you to the diverse and widespread Schulich community – an opportunity to connect with potential employers and get valuable information on what it’s like to work in Finance.
“The Master of Finance program helped me get my foot in the door into something I enjoy doing every day,” said Daniel. “When I first graduated, one of my connections from the Master of Finance program was able to get me an interview at their firm.” Similarly, Ling found an alumni who provided her with valuable information on her future career. “I was able to connect with a previous year alumni, who helped me to gain insights to a job that I was about to apply for,” she said. “The program helped me to land a full-time Equity Research job, which I still enjoy today – I have my professor to thank for that, as she gave me the referral for my present job.”
After you graduate, you can keep developing and creating valuable connections by attending professional networking events at Schulich. “Since I’ve been working at my current job, I also keep in touch with many of my classmates thanks to these alumni networking events,” said Ling. Ultimately, it was the MF program that helped Ling identify the importance of networking and the positive impact it can have on your career. “During my one-year study at Schulich, we were encouraged to attend many networking and social events, which the school helped organize,” she said. “I realized the importance of networking and have incorporated it into both my work and social life – this has benefited me greatly.”
Mapping Your Way to Success
For those who know they want to work in Finance but aren’t quite sure which area to focus on, the Master of Finance program at Schulich has many answers. “It helped me to learn different functions of the capital markets,” said Ling. “I was able to narrow down my interest area through the guidance of Schulich’s Career Development Centre and their team of advisors.”
It also helped her to gain an invaluable understanding of the social and cultural conventions of the Finance industry. “The program offered us the opportunity to learn and practice work etiquette,” said Ling. “I learnt the culture of the industry and how to follow certain customs and conventions – I apply these in my every day communications at work.”
In addition to exploring the sectors of Finance that may fit you best and teaching you the social customs of the industry, the Master of Finance gives you the additional option to streamline your studies towards Capital Markets or Financial Risk Management. “I specialized in the Capital Markets stream,” said Daniel. “The program covers most areas in the Finance field, giving a broad perspective of what a student could enjoy doing once they graduate.” As a MF graduate working in the Finance industry, he recognizes that the program gave him a familiarity and expertise in the industry that he would’ve otherwise been missing. “A lot of the areas I work on currently were covered in the MF program,” said Daniel. “This has allowed me to add value to my team that I would otherwise be unable to provide without multiple years of work experience.”
The Schulich MF program puts you in the mindset of an active Finance professional, giving you the chance to discover what you like best, absorb its social culture and specialize, all of which allow and encourage you to excel in the field of Finance. “Throughout my studies, my professors encouraged us not to just stop learning from the textbooks but look beyond them and always try to broaden our knowledge of the industry,” said Ling. “This has inspired me to continue to learn and stay current regarding the industry.”
Find Your Place in Finance
For those eager to get into the field of Finance, the 12-month Master of Finance program at Schulich is the ideal place to build the foundation for your future career. From a curriculum that develops key interpersonal skills and prepares you for your CFA designation to valuable networking opportunities and the chance to map your way to the sector of Finance that interests you, the MF program at Schulich gives you everything you need to succeed as a Finance professional. With the MF, you won’t just get the job you’re looking for – you’ll be building a long, fulfilling career with an ever-growing network of fellow alumni.