The Computing and Financial Management (CFM) Mentorship Program is an opportunity for future students starting their first year with CFM to be paired with and mentored by an upper year student. Transitioning into university can be an exciting but challenging experience and the friendly advice of a mentor can help to ease the transition throughout the first year.
Mentors are student volunteers who are happy to welcome you to the CFM community and are interested in:
- Sharing what it's like to be a CFM student
- Talking about their co-op and academic experiences
- Providing tips for effective time management
- Offering advice in securing your first co-op position
- Recommending places to study or eat on campus
- Contributing what they think is important for first year students to know
Meet our 2019-2020 mentors!
Find out more about each of our mentors, including where they're from and what they're like.
- Hometown: Waterloo, Ontario
- What do you wish you had known as a first-year student?: I wish I had spent more time preparing for co-op, as when 1B rolled around and the search for co-op had started, I had limited cs knowledge outside of Racket. I was completely blown away by interviews, and it made my search for co-op extremely difficult.
- Describe your favourite or most recent co-op work term?: I worked my first (and most recent) co-op as a Software Engineer at Titanium Agency in Waterloo. I was the only full-time developer at the company, so I worked closely with my supervisor and the CEO, and under their recommendations and guidance, developed a suite of applications that helped manage campaigns for the company. I created applications that transferred data and sent notifications to users, as well as a complete interface for managing users, permissions and alerts. I enjoyed having a huge amount of responsibility, but also plenty of freedom to implement things how I see fit. I was surprised by the culture and work environment of a small company, as everyone was very friendly, there were no strict deadlines or requirements, and everything was relaxed in general.
- What are your plans for life after CFM?:Â I don't have any concrete plans, but I do hope to travel the world and enjoy life.
- What extra-curricular activities are you involved in on campus?: I participated in SERVE (volleyball club), UW concrete and toboggan design team, as well as going to drop-in sports such as basketball and badminton, and going to the gym. I went to a ton of hackathons and competitions in 1B, such as Brickhacks, Starterhacks, Google Tech Challenge, UW Energyhacks, and PC Hacks.
What are your hobbies or interests?:
I enjoy playing basketball and (american) football, working out, travelling, playing video games (lol and minecraft), hardcore Pokemon Go-er, going to hackathons, watching anime, collecting things (coins, pokemon cards, gaming consoles, video games, I collect them all), and food (I eat a lot).
- Where is your favourite place to study?: The SAF lounge in Hagey Hall is actually a really nice place, but for me it was a long way from where I lived first-year (I lived in MKV).
- Where is your favourite place to eat in Waterloo?: Lazeez (The most I've had at once was a large + a small).
- Tell us one fun fact about you: I'm a die-hard Pokemon fan.
- Hometown: : Ottawa, Ontario
- What do you wish you had known as a first-year student?:Â I wish I knew more about the wonderful academic support system we have at uWaterloo. From the tutorial centre hours to TA and professor office times, I highly encourage everyone to spend time getting acquainted with all the support systems in place.
- Describe your favourite or most recent co-op work term?:Â Â At my most recent co-op work term, I was a Data Scientist Intern at RBC. The team and manager were absolutely great integrating me to become a key member of their team. It was great exposure working in the industry, while combining both parts of my degree â CS and Finance.
- What are your plans for life after CFM?:Â Still deciding, but we will see where the path takes me.
- What extra-curricular activities are you involved in on campus?:Â I hope to get involved in a book club, intramurals and a couple of clubs this upcoming term.
- What are your hobbies or interests?:Â I enjoy playing basketball and Netflix!
- Where is your favourite place to study?:Â Probably catch me on the 5th floor of E7.
- Where is your favourite place to eat in Waterloo?:Â Chen's Oriental Cuisine (there hot plate is really good)
- Tell us one fun fact about you:Â I have been to Japan!
- Hometown: Richmond Hill, Ontario
What do you wish you had known as a first-year student?:
- Go to Orientation.Â Let your first month be practice for introducing yourself and making conversation with a complete stranger. You'll make a bunch of friends while doing this and it's a lot easier with other students who are the same age as you than others who have a generation gap on you once you get into the workforce, either post-grad or co-op. Talk about your classes, your assignments, or that professor that talks too quiet.
- Sit right next t a strangerÂ at the beginning of a class. Politely ask whoever you want to sit next to if the seat is taken. It's a great way to make some friends right off the bat.
- Make a study grup. Collaboration makes going through assignments so much faster and a lot more fun. When studying, it benefits youÂ whether you're the oneÂ helping or being helping.
- Expect lwer grades. 80 is very good, 70 is good, 60 means you pass and that's good too. StraightÂ 90s and I'll kowtowÂ you as my sensei.
- Don't underestimate co-op job searching. Many say 'You'll definitely get a job' or 'Finding a job is just a tad tricky'. My suggestion? Once you no longer have a limit on the jobs you can apply to, apply to all of them.
- Describe your favourite or most recent co-op work term?: My favourite co-op work term was my firstÂ at NxM Labs in downtown Toronto as a Blockchain Developer. My job primarily consisted of helping them develop their 'Blockchain as a Service' product. The best part of the work term was the start-up atmosphere. It was always busy because we always had something on our plate, whether it be meetings, presentations to IBM or other start-ups, conference calls, or just regular product development. However, it was a very light environment. We always had times to enjoy ourselves, whether it be going out for food and activities or having a fantastic conversation in the office over a drink. The part that surprised me the most was how close I got to my co-workers, where bantering was a regular occasion. We would tease each other all the time, always ending up as laughing messes. It genuinely upset me when I had to leave.
- What are your plans for life after CFM?:Â I don't have any set plans. As a very wise man said, "Life's like a box of chocolates." I'm perfectly content with floating around until I find something I very much enjoyÂ doing.Â
- What extra-curricular activities are you involved in on campus?: I've participated in Muay Thai, Stocks Club, and volunteered for multiple events related to both Computer Science and CFM. On a side note, I never stuck with my clubs all the way and I wish that I had.
- What are your hobbies or interests?: Sleeping, listening to music, finding new ways to de-stress, cooking and eating food, reading and writing, going to the gym, martial arts, coding cool projects, psychology, investing in stocks, and having long talks. Most importantly, always learning and improving every day.
- Where is your favourite place to study?: Classrooms. Classrooms are the hidden gem on campus. One of my best tips is to try to find a classroom that's always empty and solely for you (and your study group).
- Where is your favourite place to eat in Waterloo?: Chen's in the plaza. It was my last resort when I ran out of meal plan. Bit of a walk, but cheaper than campus food.
- Hometown: Richmond Hill, Ontario
- What do you wish you had known as a first-year student?:Â I wish Iâd known that university isnât that bad. Honestly, I was hyped up (hyped down?) during high school that UW would be a constant cycle of eat-study-sleep-repeat. I was especially scared because I had zero experience in both computer science and accounting/finance coming into CFM. Even though it was difficult at times, it was the little things that actually made the year enjoyable for me. Itâs true that studying is unavoidable, but that doesnât mean your whole life has to revolve around it. When you need to study, then study. When youâre tired, go have some fun (or accidentally have an 8-hour nap). For me, grocery shopping with my roommates was a great de-stresser. For others, it might be to go out for drinks with their friends. Find out what brings you happiness, then do exactly that when you feel like you canât go on. The grind never stops, but it can pause.
- Describe your favourite or most recent co-op work term?:Â At my most recent co-op term, I was a Programmer Analyst for the Toronto Transit Commission. I mostly wrote scripts to automate internal processes using a combination of Perl, Powershell, and SQL. For example, I wrote scripts to reconcile shipping notices from multiple suppliers. Iâm not very sure what Iâm allowed to disclose! I quite enjoyed it because my coworkers were really nice, and there were quite a few other UW co-op students there so we could eat lunch together, though not everyone was in the same building.
- What are your plans for life after CFM?:Â I havenât figured out my life that far yet, haha. Honestly, Iâm just looking to have a good time in life.Â Mayyybe get a masters while working. I do plan to travel and experience many different cultures and landscapes, though. Even though Iâve lived in Canada practically my whole life, it has so many places that I havenât gone to yet!
- What extra-curricular activities are you involved in on campus?: For my long-term extracurriculars, I was a part of this yearâs Math Orientation planning team and I was in the UW Concert Band. For short-term events, I was a Special Events Residence Ambassador twice for Fall and Winter Open House Days, and I volunteered in the Tax Clinic in March. Generally, I find that I seek extracurriculars that give me a feeling that I helped other people, like this mentorship! I regret not joining any technical clubs and going to many hackathons last year, so Iâll try to involve myself in them this upcoming term so I can improve and work on challenging projects.
- What are your hobbies or interests?:Â I like to cook food, then plate it really prettily (thatâs the best part). Iâve also been a mostly-casual fan of Kpop since 2013, so let me know if you also listen to any groups :)
- Where is your favourite place to study?:Â Dana Porter Library 6th floor! It can get crowded though, so go early.
- Where is your favourite place to eat in Waterloo?: Unfortunately, because I lived at Columbia Lake Village last year, I didnât eat out much.
- Tell us one fun fact about you:Â I lived in Montreal for 13 years, so I speak French! Let me know if you want a friend to speak French with, because Iâm rusting away from lack of use :)
- Hometown: Toronto, Ontario
- What do you wish you had known as a first-year student?:Â I wish I had known that there were great math tutoring services in residence that are open to all first-year students regardless of housing (on and off campus).
- Describe your favourite or most recent co-op work term?:Â My favourite work term was when I was a front end developer for RBC during my third co-op term.There I worked on a user interface, named Vantage, for an algorithm suite named Logan. I enjoyed being able to learn new languages/APIs as well as see my work go from code to the interface to deployment.
- What are your plans for life after CFM?:Â I plan to complete a quantitative finance internship with RBC next summer which will hopefully turn into a post-grad opportunity. If it does, I plan to move to the US and pursue a career in finance technology!
- What extra-curricular activities are you involved in on campus?:Â : I am a dance instructor with Waterloo's Athletics and Recreation as well I play the cello with the UW orchestra. I also am part of the SAF Student Venture Fund as an analyst.
- What are your hobbies or interests?: Playing cello, painting (usually video game/fantasy characters), finding new coffee places, helping other students study, studying with friends, going out for food,Â playing board games with friends.
- Where is your favourite place to study?:Â Outside Starbucks in AHS.
- Where is your favourite place to eat in Waterloo?: Ken's Sushi House
- Tell us one fun fact about you:Â I own both a classic (acoustic) cello AND an electric cello (it's a Bridge Draco in blue). Yes, it does plug into an amp and sounds like a really intense bass guitar.
- Hometown: Shanghai, ChinaÂ and Mississauga, Ontario
- What do you wish you had known as a first-year student?:Â I wish I attended more hackathons. There are several hackathons held on campus, and also within Ontario and even in the States. I didn't have much coding experience before entering university. I think putting the 2 hackathon experience on my resumÃ© definitely helped me finding my first co-op job, as many employees were interested in coding-related projects, and asked me details on my hackathon experience.Â By the way, downloading the UWaterloo portal mobile app can be very useful for finding spare classrooms to study on campus!
- Describe your favourite or most recent co-op work term?:Â I just completed my first co-op term as a full-stack web developer in a start up e-commerce company. My daily job is mostly front-end related tasks, including designing creative assets such as banners, social ads, and setting up new web pages. I really enjoyed the fact that I was granted the freedom to create any designs I wanted, and my graphic design skill was greatly improved over the co-op term. I was also surprised that I learned a lot about things that are important for running an e-commerce business, which I have always been interested to. I learned aboutÂ affiliate programming, tactics used by companies to gain followers and users, and the importance of using Google Analytics to track traffic and performance.
- What are your plans for life after CFM?:Â Right after completing CFM, I want to take some time traveling and exploring places I have always wanted to go to. After that, I would like to work as a front-end developer or a graphic designer at a start-up company as I really enjoy the atmosphere, especially the tight community. In addition, I also plan to start my own company if possible, and hopefully create my own personal brand on graphic design related goods.
- What extra-curricular activities are you involved in on campus?:Â I am an executive of Crafts 4 Charity, where we hold multiple craft workshops and creators' market every term to raise money for World Vision. I also got to meet my 4th year mentor who is part of the entrepreneur in residence (EIR) program. She held small workshops as well teaching me and a couple of other students how to do graphic design. I also joined the Waterloo Toastmasters club, where I tried to improve my public speaking skill. Occasionally, I would go to the gym in residence or PAC to workout or play badminton with my friends.
- What are your hobbies or interests?:Â I enjoy doing graphic designs, illustrations and making handmade crafts such as origami, shrink plastic and resin charms. I also like to roller skate and do hip-hop dance sometimes.Â During my free time, I would watch some anime, k-drama and comedies or read manga to destress.
- Where is your favourite place to study?:Â ? Usually, I like to study by myself in my dorm room or in the meeting rooms in the residence. Sometimes, I would go to the DP library, and the Hagey Hall(HH) study area, or just find wherever quiet with few people, like the staircase in HH ,hallways in DC and a few empty classrooms inside MC.
- Where is your favourite place to eat in Waterloo?: Â On campus, I go to CMH for burrito bowl and SCH for DIY noodles & Dynamite sushi. Off campus, I go to Nuri Village in the plaza.
- Tell us one fun fact about you:Â I am an entrepreneur who runs my own handmade craft business, and I have been running it for two years now. I also just started expanding my business into graphic designs and illustrations this summer, and I am hoping to make some enamel pins of my own designs.
- Hometown: Mumbai, India
- What do you wish you had known as a first-year student?: As a first-year student, I often tried to get my hands dirty with everything, may it be student government, academic clubs, advanced classes, startup pitches and so on. Add CS side-projects, interview and co-op preparation, and you've gotten an overload. The art of balance is integral to a memorable first-year. Chart out your priorities amongst course commitments, extracurricular passions, and social life for a successful term.
- Describe your favourite or most recent co-op work term?: I recently completed my first co-op term as a Data Scientist Intern at Genworth Financial! The term was an immense learning opportunity to say the least, with the ability to contribute to their Canadian insurance vertical. I worked on developing underwriting machine learning models, loss reporting statistical forecasts and policy status simulations that help automate risk mitigation measures. I thoroughly enjoyed the freedom to experiment with a variety of packages, modules and frameworks, or more importantly the incredible mentorship, guidance and support I received.
- What are your plans for life after CFM?:Â I currently find myself leaning towards data science/ financial engineering. The pursuit of meaning or patterns in underlying chaotic structures truly intrigues me. Through my co-ops, I plan to find my passion within the analytics space,Â may it be consulting, algorithmic trading, statistical modelling, or so on.
- What extra-curricular activities are you involved in on campus?: Throughout first-year, I kept busy with numerous extra-curricular activities on campus, including the WATOnomous Self-Driving Car Design Team (Project Manager), Equithon (Operations Coordinator), UW Fintech Club (Technology Director), Residence Council (Vice President - Finance), and IT Advisory (Board Member)! I also volunteered and participated in events across campus, including Hack the North, Data Science Club, Mathematics Society and more. I currently also serve (2019-2020) as Math Councillor on the Federation of Students! Lastly, I spend my time working with an analytics startup - Hoodsprout - to help build their data framework.
- What are your hobbies or interests?:Â Road trips, rock climbing, kayaking, rafting, cricket, volleyball, and of course sub-par soccer. Can't forget food or binge-watching Netflix dramas (may it be Designated Survivor or AD).
- Where is your favourite place to study?: Well, the only place I always studied in was the REV social area. Most people do prefer studying in DC or DP, but the bliss of alternating between mind-numbling delta-epsilon proofs and residence-wide pool tournaments at 4 am is truly underrated.
- Where is your favourite place to eat in Waterloo?: Jane Bond! The best upbeat retro location I've seen so far.
- Tell us one fun fact about you: I've almost broken a bowling arcade, rafted (and gone overboard) through class 5 rapids, and stand unbeaten at axe-throwing.
- Hometown: Hamilton, Ontario
- What do you wish you had known as a first-year student?: ? I wish I knew about all the great places to get food near campus, and about the non-academic clubs UW has.
- Describe your favourite or most recent co-op work term?: I worked for the Ontario Internal Audit Division, a division of the Treasury Board Secretariat last term. I was an IT internal auditor. Mainly, I did research for audit planning and for report writing. There were a lot of different subjects that I really liked learning about - and cannot disclose here! What really surprised me was that there were other types of audit apart from financial auditing.
- What are your plans for life after CFM?:Â I believe that I donât know enough about finance or computer science to form a life plan, but I really would like to find a career than has equal parts computer science and finance.
- What extra-curricular activities are you involved in on campus?: I joined UW karate, ballroom dancing, puzzles club, and math ambassadors.
- What are your hobbies or interests?:Â I like playing video games, reading fantasy books, watching anime, playing a bit of guitar/piano, and finding good places to eat!
- Where is your favourite place to study?: I like cozy places - I like to study in my room. If Iâm on campus, Iâll go to the top floor of DP (that cube-like library).
- Where is your favourite place to eat in Waterloo?: I like all ramen places, The Works, and Share Tea.
- Tell us one fun fact about you: Donât let my Chinese name fool you - I canât actually speak a lot of mandarin!