Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto

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Q&A with MFin ambassador Hamza Obaid, MFin '24

In this post we hear from current first year student and MFin ambassador Hamza Obaid on how he is finding the program a few months in. Hamza joined the MFin program looking to improve his ability to apply financial theory to real-world situations, and get hands-on experience with a number of financial software tools. Read on to see how he is working toward those goals already.

Quick info

  • MFin Class of 2024
  • Current job title: Senior Analyst, Corporate Accounting – Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB)
  • Professional qualifications: 
  • Previous education: Bachelor of Commerce, Major in Finance, Minor in Economics, 2016, McGill University

What do you do in your current role? 

I manage Corporate Accounting functions for CPPIB head office and global offices by reviewing P&L entries, balance sheet reconciliations and intercompany transactions. I also monitor the company’s global accounting service providers to ensure performance objectives are met and stay current on policy regulations that affect CPP operating subsidiaries, analyzing their impact and suggesting process changes. Finally, my job entails assisting with project initiatives to integrate stakeholder needs and resolve any cross-functional issues/gaps to drive process improvements.

Given that CPPIB manages the contributions and benefits of 21 million Canadians to the pension plan, transparency of results is vital in establishing trust with the stakeholders. My role plays an important part in ensuring that our public financial statements are timely, accurate and comprehensive. The work I do feeds into portraying true performance of the fund (net of costs), ensures maintaining integrity of the company and in turn integrity of the finance industry. I find it important to step back time and again to look at the big picture and understand the “why” of one’s job and this is my “why”.

Why did you decide to study the MFin program? 

Having studied finance during my bachelor’s and with the CFA program, I felt my knowledge and skills were skewed towards the “theoretical” side but lacked the “practical”, real world application prowess. After extensive research, the MFin program seemed to be the best combination of teaching financial literacy from an applied lens. The research work, capstone case and testing of knowledge via real world case scenarios in the MFin fit my criteria of advancing my learning and filling in any gaps. 

What was your main reason for choosing Rotman?

Rotman’s global ranking and prestige, renowned faculty and extensive network (all in downtown where I reside) made it a very easy choice. I did not even bother applying to another school!

How have you started to apply what you've learned so far?

One of my goals is to develop skills with financial software. Rotman provides access to these tools such as Bloomberg, CapIQ and FactSet. I have already learned and applied these systems in research work for class assignments and analyzed varying capital structures to write commentary on financial positions. I am enrolled to start in the Python course this month and am very excited to learn and apply this software in class and at the workplace.

What has been the highlight of the Rotman experience so far? 

Professor Laurence Booth’s Foundations of Finance class has been an absolute treat so far. He is very knowledgeable and teaches the class with real world examples. Combining these with his great sense of humor, made for a fun yet profound learning experience. I look forward to the next course with him!

What are your future plans?

I would like to pivot into the investing industry (either in equities or credit). Rotman’s program is specifically tailored to teach the necessary skills and the extensive network I gain here will not just help me land my dream job but also excel at it. 

What would you say to someone considering choosing the MFin?

Research thoroughly and identify what you are looking to improve on and then how the MFin fits the criteria. If you are unsure about the latter, speak to the advisors and alumni here, everyone is very approachable! The program is demanding and selects the brightest, if you are selected, establish real expectations for efforts required. Oh, and don’t forget to enjoy the journey along the way!


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