How one MBA ’17 landed a job in the heart of banking
May 17, 2018
Sourav Kumar (MBA ’17) knows that the decisions he makes today will shape the future of finance in Canada and potentially around the world.
Kumar is a member of the treasury team — often referred to the heart of a bank — at the Bank of Montreal (BMO). It’s his job to balance the bank’s funding needs, to make sure that there’s a sufficient flow of funds coming into the bank so that it can continue to offer mortgages, lend cash to small businesses and support economic growth in general.
“It’s humbling to know that I’m working at an institution that has been operating for more than 200 years,” he says. “The decisions we make today will determine whether this bank will be around for another two centuries.”
On a daily basis, he’s forecasting the amount of funds the bank will need to acquire, meeting with dealers and researching which markets the bank might want to issue bonds in.
This role, and the fast pace of decision-making, research and creativity involved, was exactly what Kumar was looking for. And he credits his Rotman experience for helping him get here.
Becoming a better investor
Kumar came to Rotman with substantial training and prior experience working in finance. In addition to earning his CFA charter, he had worked at various trading desks in India, where he prepared pitch notes for investor meetings, structured and priced credit derivatives for investors, and provided high-level risk position commentaries for senior managers.
Though he was already on a promising career track, he saw how taking time out to do an MBA could make him a better investor and help him advance.
“At the time, I was working with a lot of clients. I could see that strong interpersonal skills were crucial to becoming a better investor,” he says. “A business education could help me with that and strengthen my technical knowledge of finance.”
“My courses at Rotman helped bring it all together for me.”
—Sourav Kumar, MBA ’17
Completing his MBA at Rotman was a straightforward decision for Kumar, who aspired to study in a top school, located in a multicultural city, and with close ties to practitioners working in the industry.
Once classes began, he quickly got to work developing his soft skills. He competed, as a member of a student team, in various case and stock pitch competitions at the School. As a Rotman finance scholar, he spent his weekends tutoring Morning/Evening MBA students on key finance concepts.
His elective finance courses, particularly the How Banks Work class taught by Professor Richard Nesbitt, helped round out his finance knowledge.
“Before, I understood the different operational areas of finance. My courses at Rotman helped bring it all together for me,” he says. “Knowing how all the pieces fit together in banking distinguished me from other candidates during my job search.”
How to get the job
What’s Kumar’s advice for getting the job you want after the MBA?
First, he says, refer to School’s Career Centre.
“If there’s a new opportunity or opening, the career coaches are the first to know,” he explains. “Every year, there are tons of new grads entering the job market and your coach can help make you stand out.”
“Network as much as possible and make sure that you put your name out there.”
—Sourav Kumar, MBA ’17
He also credits the careers team in helping him to understand the culture and expectations in North American offices and to become a clearer communicator during interviews.
Second, he urges job seekers to start networking right away.
The circumstances leading to Kumar landing his current role came about through connections and good timing. He had reached out to a few of his current colleagues for networking purposes, months before a position opened up on the treasury team. By the time he walked into the interview, he already understood the culture and dynamics of the bank.
“Learn as much as you can, network as much as possible and make sure that you put your name out there,” he says. “Soon enough, the opportunities will present themselves.”
Written by Rebecca Cheung | More Student Stories »