Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto

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Have a peek at what one alumna’s journey to the Rotman Master of Finance was like. We sat down with Wen Lei, CFA, Manager, Asset and Liability Management at Manulife Financial and recent Rotman MFin alumna for a wide-ranging conversation on her career, influences and the Rotman MFin program. This post is the second in a four-part series. Check out her first post and stay tuned for the following posts!

How did you find about the Rotman MFin? You finished your undergrad in 2006 and started the MFin in 2012. What did you do in the 6 years in between?

The first time that I heard about the MFin was in 2007 while I was working at CIBC in risk management. It’s actually also the year that the MFin program launched. I had 2 co-workers at CIBC in my department at the time who took the MFin, one of them in the inaugural year and the other the year after.

At the time, I had just graduated from university, and was still in a junior role. I was taking my CFA, so I was hoping to finish that before pursuing a Master’s degree.

I had already kind of planned out my career path; what I want to accomplish by what age. My goal was that by age 30, I have to finish all my formal schooling.

Anyway, I worked at CIBC for a couple of years before I switched over to TD where I continued with my CFA. In terms of work, I did pretty well at TD. I was promoted directly to manager from analyst, so I didn’t have to go through the additional step of senior analyst.

The opportunity at Manulife came along when as my former boss reached out to me. I thought it was a good move. So I took it. At the same time, I also became a CFA charter holder. That was when I looked seriously at doing either an MFin or an MBA.

Right away?

Yes, right away. I had that goal to finish everything before 30! My advice is for people to really know what they want and to take the steps to work towards it.

What made you decide on the MFin vs an MBA?

I was already a people manager – I had managed a staff of eight. I knew I wanted to be in finance. Like a lot of my peers in class, I wanted to learn something deeper specific to finance. The MFin was definitely the way to go for me.

Also, I compared the three programs in the city. There are only 3 schools that offered the MFin in Toronto. One is geared towards people who wanted to finish their CFA program, another is a full-time program. And I looked at U of T. It does charge the most, but you got these fantastic, stellar professors.

The Rotman MFin is part-time, has amazing professors, and the location is right where I needed to be. Classes are small, which is what I wanted. I had fun. I got to know a lot of smart people in class, which proved that I made the right choice.

This article was posted on July 30, 2014.

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