CFM alumnus Asad talking about his experience

Monday, October 22, 2018
Here is my story as a recent CFM graduate alumnus. I graduated in April 2018. 
 
Initially, I heard about the program while I was looking at the Double Degree program at UW and Alumnus Asad Awadiastumbled upon CFM. I really liked the more technical nature of finance compared to business and decided to apply for CFM instead. I think the biggest advantage of the CFM program is being able to meet people in both specialities of CS and Finance. The students and faculty you meet in the two extremely diverse fields help kickstart your network. The CFM program was still pretty small when I applied, at only forty or so students starting. Over the course of five years in the program, I worked as a junior accountant to Software Developer. I had a wide array of positions over the six co-op terms, I also got a chance to explore other parts of the country as well. One of the most important skills I learned in the CFM program was being able to context switch quickly and efficiently between the finance course load and the CS course load because in the real world you are always juggling multiple things and constantly switching from one fire to another.
 

After graduating I was aiming to get a position somewhere in a FinTech company on Wall Street doing something like high-frequency trading or be a quant. But instead, I found a better culture fit at a local Waterloo tech company called TextNow and so I decided to put that quant goal on hold for some time. Currently, I am working as a backend developer at TextNow.

Looking back, there are couple of things that I wish I could have changed, especially from the perspective of time management and task prioritization. I wasted quite a bit of time trying to get all the test cases working on marmoset for an assignment that was weighted only one per cent where I should have switched to studying for the more important midterms. I would advise current students to be aware that a midterm worth twenty per cent is more important than an assignment worth one percent. If I could go back in time, I would tell my first-year self to take more finance courses than CS courses if possible. There were many more interesting finance courses that I wished I had taken such as Tax 3 but I had not. Now, as an alumnus, I realized that a lot of the work that you will do as a developer will come from your own self-studying more so than taking CS courses - Finance courses, on the other hand, are a lot more real-world specific and applicable.

I wish my experience could help current students. I am proud to be a CFM alumnus.


The CFM program takes on a new initiative starting from this month. Each month we will share stories of the CFM alumni on our website in the aim to help current students learn from other's experiences, and help alumni stay connected. Contact Heather Steinmetz if you wish to share your stories and stay connected. We look forward to hearing about your experiences and what you have to say about the CFM program. 

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