In December, just three months into the Master of Financial Risk Management program, students Bryan Djerroud (MFRM ’19) and Tony Huang (MFRM ’19) left the classroom and headed to Toronto’s financial district.
The two were off to tackle their applied risk management project, a hallmark of the MFRM program, where students spend eight weeks working on a real risk problem at a financial organization. Early into their project, they and their classmates — who were completing placements in other departments or at other financial institutions — realized exactly how the project provides important opportunities to network and to learn about the industry more broadly.
Tackling a real risk issue, while broadening their networks.
In Djerroud and Huang’s case, they were tasked with analyzing and comparing liquidity stress testing frameworks for Scotiabank’s funding centres. The two got to work researching regulatory requirements around the world and identifying potential inconsistencies among frameworks. They submitted a report to the team and provided suggestions that could be useful, in terms of supporting the institution in making their frameworks more consistent.
Importantly, the two also took time to step away from the project work and take advantage of the unique position in which they found themselves.
“The MFRM program and applied risk management project helps you develop a structured way of thinking about risk management.”
—Bryan Djerroud, MFRM ‘19
Huang, who previously studied math and financial risk during his undergraduate program, had always been interested in connecting with like-minded professionals. For him, the networking opportunities and chances to explore aspects of finance were a defining feature of the project.
“The project really broadened my views on risk and banking,” Huang says. “I inevitably met and spoke with so people from different departments. By the end of the project, I could appreciate why various areas of the bank approach risk so differently.”
Working with an MFRM graduate
Djerroud and Huang also had the added bonus of being supervised by MFRM graduate Olivia Liu (MFRM ’17), who knew exactly what the students were going through.
“She was always helpful with project ideas and connecting us with industry professionals,” says Huang. “When I told her that I was interested in market risk, she immediately tried to connect me with people in the field.”
“The applied risk management project experience is an opportunity to broaden your network and gather different perspectives on risk.”
—Tony Huang, MFRM ’19
Her perspectives were valuable in helping the two approach the project experience.
“Working with someone who completed the program added a great dimension to the project,” explains Djerroud. “She understood the bank, the program and the project well. She was able to give us tips on how to leverage the opportunities from the project and its role in providing us with practical experience, as we started to focus more on making the right contacts and starting our careers.”
Getting a big-picture perspective
The two students also appreciated that because they were working with the group treasury team — which oversees all cashflows at the institution — they had a holistic view of the entire bank.
Being able to appreciate that view was what drew Djerroud to the project.
“It was an exciting opportunity to look at the bank as a whole and understand how all the business lines contribute to the bank’s risk profile and overall strategy,” says Djerroud, who was interested in the MFRM so that he could develop a structured way of thinking about risk management. He hopes to apply the skills gained from the program in helping institutions with strategy and decision-making.
“The big takeaway from the project and the program is that you will develop your ability to think critically about risk management, and you will have the opportunity to apply that knowledge in your industry project working with a reputable financial institution.”
Written by Rebecca Cheung | More Student Stories »