As Master of Financial Risk Management (MFRM) students, the most anticipated aspect of our program is the Rotman Risk Management Project. To put it simply, it’s a 9-week-long internship with some of the most eminent names in Toronto’s financial industry. For me this was even more special as it was my first real work experience in Canada.
For my internship, I worked with the Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) team at Equitable Bank as the Risk Analytics Intern. It was nerve racking to think that I would be working a full-time job in a country I had been in for only about five months. What if I found the work was too hard? What if my ideas were not good enough? What if I made a fool out of myself by saying something stupid?
As the what ifs troubled me, I reminded myself, I had chosen the project myself because the project intrigued me. It in fact was my first preferred project (yes, we got to choose which projects we wanted to work in). What’s more important, I had my project partner to lean on if things went south.
After completing the internship, I can say it was more enjoyable than I expected it to be. The incredible ERM team at Equitable Bank made us feel welcome and guided us in every step of the way. The goal was to help the bank measure the risk capital for their credit portfolios more efficiently. But in the process of delivering what the bank wanted, we learned heaps, too.
Choosing your career path
The internship helped me know with certainty that Credit Risk is where I want to work. During last semester we were introduced to several areas in risk. While most were fascinating, I struggled to choose my favourite. The practical exposure during the internship helped me pinpoint where my interests really lay.
School is more challenging than work
The MFRM program is very intensive. To add to that, my lack of background in finance meant I had to be on my toes to keep up with schoolwork. But the internship made me realize that work is not the same as school.
In school you must at least be the Jack of all trades, but at work you can be the Ace in that one area that you really enjoy. For me that is Credit Risk, where I can leverage my prior experience in accounting.
Even in a specialized program like MFRM, the coursework is expansive, but in the workplace you can choose where you want to work based on your strengths.
Mentorship and teamwork
I had a renewed appreciation for teamwork during the internship. I hit the jackpot with getting teamed together with Janet, who really is the best project partner you can wish for. We were receptive of each other’s opinions throughout the project and were able to improve our ideas through collective brainstorming. Additionally, we had continuous support from the ERM team at the bank. Despite being busy in their respective roles, Joseph and Srini played a major role in enhancing our findings. As much as they appreciated us for work well done, they expressed their disapproval without being condescending. Even the VP of ERM and our project sponsor James took time out to review our progress regularly.
I thoroughly enjoyed my short tenure with Equitable Bank, and these nine weeks will always be my most valuable takeaway from MFRM.
The Master of Financial Risk Management is a full-time program designed to prepare ambitious young professionals for careers in risk management and finance.