Before enrolling in the Master of Finance program, Penny Du (MFin '20) had her sights set on working in capital markets. Having held accounting and investment analysis roles, she came to Rotman ready to broaden her knowledge base and break into a new area of finance.
Penny Du (MFin ‘20)
“I wanted to make the most of my two years as a student,” she says. “I knew that the program was tough, the job market is competitive, and it wasn’t going to be easy.”
Still, she was up for the challenge — even when the global pandemic made searching for a job more difficult. With persistence, and by leveraging the Rotman network and resources offered through Career Services, Du aced her interviews and landed her ideal position. She’s set to start a 12-month equity research internship with Credit Suisse in July 2020.
She chalks this success up to hard work and good timing.
“With job searching, you need a bit of luck, and luck is nothing without having the skills to capitalize on it,” she says. “If you’re looking for work, work hard. Keep reaching out to people and preparing for interviews.”
Getting serious about job searching
In her second year of the Master of Finance program, Du got serious about job searching.
She started by meeting regularly with her career consultant at Rotman. With her guidance, Du revised her resume to reflect her recent notable accomplishments.
She mentioned the finance projects she had worked on, her knowledge of machine learning, Python and other programming languages (which she had acquired through the MFin program) and how she’d recently passed the CFA III and FRM exams (which she had studied for and wrote during her first year). In her spare time, she also attended workshops organized by the Career Services team, including sessions on preparing for the finance interview and personal branding.
Du also amassed hands-on experience competing for jobs. She participated in the on-campus recruitment process at Rotman. Though she didn’t receive an offer, she gained valuable experience participating in panel and behavioural interviews, and in presenting cases.
Outside of class, she was networking extensively, reaching out to fellow students, alumni and professionals on Bay Street to discuss their current projects and to seek advice.
“I can’t stress enough how important it is to leverage all the resources available to you. Many of my professors had connections to Bay Street and referred me for their contacts. My classmates recommended me for roles at their organizations. Everyone was willing to offer advice and help.”
“With job searching, you need a bit of luck, and luck is nothing without having the skills to capitalize on it.”
—Penny Du, MFin '20
Looking for work during the economic shutdown
Things were going well, and Du was actively applying for roles, but the market became more competitive when the global pandemic struck. Many organizations put a freeze on hiring and there were fewer postings.
Undeterred, Du maintained her approach of networking (virtually) and making the most of the career resources open to her.
“During this time, it’s just so important to stay optimistic,” she says. “There were many mornings where I woke up to an email informing me that I didn’t get an interview or job offer, but I kept going. I didn’t question my skillset or take it personally.”
Du also made the most out of the career resources available to her. When teaching and support services moved online because of the pandemic, Career Services at Rotman continued to offer their services virtually, and even expanded their offerings. Du attended a workshop on how to optimize her LinkedIn profile, regularly dropped into a weekly virtual job search group for graduating students, and attended virtual coffee chats with alumni.
The activities were a good reminder that she wasn’t alone in her job search. In fact, when Credit Suisse invited Du for an interview, she immediately reached out to her career consultant to schedule a mock interview.
By the time she sat for her technical and behavioural interviews, Du was ready. She was able to draw on months of interview preparation and demonstrate the knowledge she had acquired through the MFin program and coffee chats. It paid off.
Now, she’s looking forward to spending the next year applying her financial modelling and analytical skills.
“This really feels like the right next step for me. I’ll be working with top talent here in Toronto and worldwide,” she says. “It’s exciting. I feel like I’ve got my foot in the door.”
Written by Rebecca Cheung | More Student Stories »