While many students aspire to break into or advance their careers in finance, Sabrina Wu (MFin ’17) set her sights on something bigger. She wanted a career where she could leverage her knowledge in capital markets to make an impact.
“I always wanted to do meaningful work and effect positive policy change. Today, I feel like I’m doing that,” explains Wu, a senior trader with the Bank of Canada.
She’s part of the team that’s responsible for implementing monetary policy. Every day, she monitors funding conditions of the major banks in Canada. If necessary, she intervenes to withdraw or inject liquidity into the Canadian financial system to reinforce the target overnight rate. Her team is also responsible for issuing fixed income securities on behalf of the Government of Canada, and they are often called on to provide market briefings to the governing council or consult on debt management strategies.
“It’s great that I can bring my market knowledge and expertise to issues of significance. I feel like I’m doing work that serves a real purpose,” she says. “On top of that, it’s exciting to see the results. I’m always humbled and proud to see a newsflash about a project I worked on come up on Bloomberg News.’”
Wu, who landed this job recently, credits the Rotman School, specifically the career resources and lessons learned through the Master of Finance program, for helping her get here.
Diving deep into all areas of finance
Before and during her time at Rotman, Wu was a rates trader on Bay Street. Wu, who earned a Women in Capital Markets Emerging Leaders award, hoped to eventually advance into a leadership or policy-related position. However, to qualify for these roles, Wu knew she needed a deeper understanding of the entire industry.
Pursuing the MFin degree at the Rotman School, which is just minutes from the downtown core and equipped with a state-of-the-art finance lab and accomplished teaching faculty, seemed like a natural next step.
At Rotman, she appreciated the blend of theoretical concepts and practical examples covered in the classroom. As well, Wu and her classmates had the chance to explore all areas of finance, including capital markets, risk management and operations. Many of the concepts and approaches she acquired through the program still inform her work today.
“The real value of the MFin program is that it teaches you how to think and how to ask better questions.”
—Sabrina Wu, MFin ’17
“Above all, I think the real value of the MFin program is that it teaches you how to think and how to ask better questions,” she says. “Now when I’m presented with a financial product, I have a framework for analyzing why it’s traded in a certain way, and why it might be more or less attractive than other products incorporating the regulatory implications.”
A defining part of her MFin experience was participating in the Trans-Pacific Partnership Study Tour to Japan. Wu was one of a few Canadian graduate students selected to go to Japan to tour local businesses and promote trade between the two countries.
“This trip, and the MFin program in general, helped me understand how macroeconomics and finance concepts play out in the real world,” she says. “I feel better-equipped to take on new challenges and projects.”
Landing her dream job
Not long after her graduation, Wu was ready for her next step. She returned to the School to make a plan.
“My goal was to move into policy, but I didn’t know where to begin,” she explains. “I always kept in touch with my career coach and a few professors at Rotman. I knew that I could trust their advice and develop a roadmap with their help.”
Wu leveraged the Rotman network and started setting up coffee chats with alumni and other connections whose experience aligned with her interests. She reflected on how her previous experience and skills might be useful in banking policy while keeping an eye out for potential opportunities.
“It’s great that I can bring my market knowledge and expertise to issues of significance. I feel like I’m doing work that serves a real purpose.”
—Sabrina Wu, MFin ’17
When she was eventually invited to interview for a position with the Bank of Canada, she was able to tie together and present the key reasons why she would be the best candidate. By now, she had the experience and deep understanding of all areas of finance.
In early 2019, she relocated from Toronto to Ottawa to start her new role as a senior trader with the central bank. For Wu, it’s hard to believe how quickly things have changed.
“There’s been a lot of learning, networking and working packed into the past few years. It’s been a bit of a whirlwind, but the MFin taught me more about capacity building than anything else. I never realized how much I can accomplish in so little time,” she says.
“While it was always my goal to work in a position like this, I’m still surprised that I got here as quickly as I did. I am really grateful for the support during and after MFin program. We are a tight group and still keep in touch on a regular basis.”
Written by Rebecca Cheung | More Student Stories »