Math is more versatile than you think

"University of Waterloo Math Coop student, Erik Liang spending time with nature Erik Liang is currently pursuing a double major within the Faculty of Math, Financial Analysis and Risk Management (FARM) and Statistics. He shares his perspective as a co-op student while working at several Canadian banks.

Erik started his first co-op term at BMO Wealth Management as a business analyst and then became a technology business specialist during his second co-op at BMO. During his first two co-op terms, he helped with technology and digital projects in terms of being the link between people in business and working between technologies.

After that, Erik worked with Scotiabank Global Banking and Markets (GBM) within their internal audit team. He had the chance to learn more about the institutional side of investing compared to the retail side of investing at Scotiabank. Erik then switched perspectives for his fourth co-op term and worked at Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC) within their investigations team.

Erik says, “I would say it was really like police detective work!” For Erik’s upcoming term he will be working at Deloitte with their Financial Crime Analytics within their Financial Advisory group. 

“Co-op gives you work experiences that help you discover who you want to be, what you like, what you dislike, and I think that’s the most rewarding aspect.”

Erik, FOURTH YEAR Financial analysis and risk management & statistics student

What did you enjoy about your company’s culture?

Erik says, “I would say working at IIROC. My most recent co-op term with the regulatory organization was quite a different experience because they are such a smaller organization. So, when you're a part of a smaller organization, I think you feel a lot more closer to people. We had biweekly touch point meetings with our CEO, as a company, which is something that might not be heard of if you work for a bigger organization like a bank. So, I would say that is definitely a different side of culture.”  

What is your advice for 1st year Math students? 

Erik says, “People come into University thinking I'm going to go into one of these traditional streams. But you don't realize how versatile career options can be and especially in math, where people think I'm going to become a mathematician or a teacher. But math is applicable in so many different ways, right? Be open, be curious and flexible as well.”