November marks one of the busiest months filled with presentations, final projects, and hustling for the exam. Though the course load was quite intensive, the relevance and practicality of the content materials made this process extremely fulfilling. Through the extensive presentations, I learnt how to communicate complex technical terms in simple words; the group projects led us to appreciate the importance of teamwork and cross-team communication. For instance, with the python project, we have team members who are good at coding and finishing the financial modelling part, and students good at polishing essays will do the writing. We even had one teammate who’s good at art design, therefore, she covered the presentation slides.
I came from a theoretical background in Financial Economics and Mathematics, without much Python-related coding experience; this means I must quickly learn the nitty-gritty about financial modelling to be able to contribute to Python projects. Let’s be honest: starting from scratch is the most painful part of the learning curve. But looking back to the Fall semester, I can proudly say it was a remarkable journey that required resilience and practice, an unimaginable reward proportional to its effort.
Presentations are always great opportunities to showcase and practice our communication skills. Before we started the Financial Regulation presentation, we were given a chance to meet a prominent behavioural psychologist at Rotman, Dr. Leticia. He gave us individualized feedback on our video-recorded performance during a mock presentation, including body language, eye contact, intonations, overall rapport, and connectedness with the audience. Through his coaching, I was surprised to learn that ‘competence’ is not the primary indicator of one’s performance; the audience’s willingness to listen largely depends on a person’s warmth. Seeking to put theory into practice, we’ve let one of our team members, Albert, perform a Hip Hop dance before the actual presentation. Although the dance only lasted a few seconds, it was stimulating enough to grab the whole class’s attention.
I am pleased to say that this January, I will be joining Scotiabank for the Liquidity Stress Testing project, which ranks as the top priority on my list. (You hear me! We can all choose our desired projects and rank them into a list and the school will do their best to match us with a highly ranked project.) With my fantastic partner, Claudia, we were extremely grateful to be invited for a lunch with the project sponsors, Olivia and Hamoon. Throughout the lunch, they gave us great advice, from professional experience, and networking skills, to work-life balance. I thoroughly enjoyed the short lunch and had a renewed appreciation for the upcoming internship in January.
Having the invaluable opportunity to work alongside industry professionals, put theory into practice, and solve a real-life business problem at the same time is the most thrilling part of the program for me.
Since I joined the Master of Financial Risk Management program straight from my undergrad, I’m always anxious about my lack of work experience. Through this nine-week practical internship, I’m looking forward to bridging this gap and pinpointing where my interests, as well as strengths, are really at.
The Master of Financial Risk Management is a full-time program designed to prepare ambitious young professionals for careers in risk management and finance.