Chaoran Wang is a graduate of the Computing and Financial Management (CFM) program from the class of 2013. We asked him to share his experience with the CFM program. Here is his story.
My name is Chaoran Wang and I graduated from the CFM program in May 2013.
I first came across the CFM program while browsing through the program offerings at UWaterloo. Though computer science was a topic that greatly interested me, I wanted to build a career in the financial world and CFM seemed to perfectly match what I was looking for by offering a nice balance between the two.
Looking back, the CFM program offered several advantages over similar programs. Among them, a unique degree that stood out to employers, as well as smaller class sizes that allowed for me to get to know my peers better and form long-lasting friendships. When I joined, there were roughly forty of us in our year.
Being in CFM, both in-school and during coop taught me many important skills; among them, getting comfortable with presenting in front of an audience like a class, as well as time management through juggling coop interviews and class times. Finally, being in CFM provided me with numerous opportunities to solve a variety of problems that constantly tested my skills; from debugging segfaults in my code to consolidating financial statements.
I graduated after having completed six co-ops; the first with Four Seasons Hotel and Resorts where I assisted the IT Director at the corporate office with various projects. Then with Asset Management at Economical Insurance in Waterloo where I managed the physical assets of the company, such as computers, servers, monitors, and cell phones. My last four co-op terms were also with Economical Insurance, but under the Finance department where I took on various roles such as financial reporting and performance management. Here, I was responsible for regular month-end tasks, building financial models and producing profit and loss reports.
I am currently working at Auvik Networks as a Financial Planning and Analysis Manager. My responsibilities include overseeing the budgeting and planning for the company from topline growth forecasts down to department-level resource planning. In addition, I also work closely with department heads on monthly expense reporting and KPI tracking.
For current CFM students, I have just a few points of advice to pass down. For one, I cannot stress the importance of networking. I too was told about how important it was during my first co-op by my immediate manager; however, I didn't understand what it meant or how to do it at the time. My advice is to build your network as early as you can; get out there and attend events, meet different people and use tools like LinkedIn. You want to surround yourself with people you want to become and learn off their experiences and wisdom - it’ll save you from making a lot of mistakes down the road. Start as soon as you can; it’s never too early. Beyond just students, get to know professionals in your chosen field as well and learn their stories. Finally, do a lot of reading and travels lots while you can. However busy you may think your life is in school, it’ll likely be even busier once you leave.
Each month, the CFM program will share stories of its alumni in the aim to help future and current students learn from their experiences, and help alumni stay connected. Contact Heather Steinmetz if you wish to share your stories. We look forward to hearing from you and what you have to say about the CFM program.