Valedictorian, Master of Finance Class of 2019
How does it feel to be valedictorian?
I am grateful to my classmates for choosing me to represent them in this way, but I also feel a lot of pressure to prove that their confidence in me was not misplaced. I am also glad to have the opportunity to reflect on this journey, what it has meant to me and what my own experience has in common with my classmates.
Why do you think your classmates chose you for this honour?
This is a small enough class that everyone knows each other and most of us have worked together extensively. While that makes it hard to say why any individual might have voted for me, I hope that it's because I've always made the effort to not only contribute to the best of my abilities as a member of a team, but also to reach out to people, engage everyone and build consensus.
How has the program changed you?
I expect that the ways that the program has changed me will reveal themselves as time goes by, but what stands out so far is the confidence I've developed. One source of this is having worked with a group of people who have a wide and deep range of experience, and having been able to contribute meaningfully to discussions and work with these people.
Another is the simple fact that I now know that I am capable of accomplishing something truly difficult, and the knowledge that I can draw on the skills I learned and developed to face all of the challenges that await me in the future.
Describe a highlight of the program.
I always enjoyed the classes where the material was brand new to most or all of us and we all had to figure it out at the same time: investment banking, forecasting risks and opportunities, and investments, for example. The material was challenging, and the process often led to interesting in-class discussion, especially during trading labs, which turned into a competition to familiarize ourselves with the mechanics of the scenario, then implement it faster than everyone else in order to succeed.
All these things – as well as walking out of the last class, turning in my fob and stepping out into a beautiful, sunny April day.
What makes your classmates / graduating year special?
We've managed to come together as a group of complete strangers from all over the world and a wide variety of backgrounds, get to know each other and work together to achieve things that we couldn't have done alone. We've made each other better and I'm excited to see what all of my classmates do next.
Any final thoughts or advice to future students?
You get from this program what you put into it. That doesn't mean the same thing for everyone - some people excel academically, some people participate in extracurricular competitions and activities, others develop a strong network through the resources that are made available to us as students. What matters is that you push yourself to try things that aren't easy, reach out to other people and get out of your comfort zone. There are so many opportunities for enrichment that come through this program, and it will be so much more rewarding if you seek them out even when the curriculum itself is highly demanding.