January 2019

David's road to Concept $5K

When I first entered AFM, I really had no idea what I wanted to get out of it. I’ve always been a poor long-term planner, so for first year, my goals were – find a job, do well in courses, and have a good time.

Hellen judging the 2019 Concept $5K semi-finals

The first time I served as a judge at the Velocity (now Concept) $5K semi-finals was winter 2019. As I observed presenters rehearing their pitches prior to the start of the event, I recall saying to myself that I was likely just as nervous as the presenters, if not more so. The other judges on the panel were all founders of their own start-ups, and I was petrified of having no feedback to provide or providing feedback that the presenters did not find helpful.

Raising Early Stage Capital

A primary consideration for most high school students contemplating post-secondary education is the name of the institution or program and the associated brand and post-graduation career opportunities. Reflecting on my four years in the math/CPA program, my recommendation to those students would be to also consider the supplementary learning opportunities because they will provide a more well-rounded university experience.

Student Venture Fund Haiku

Student Venture Fund

Graced by Feridun in class

Last year in review

Six new companies

Many thousands of dollars

What will he think now?

Industry events

Conferences and partnerships

What will he think now?

Cross-faculty work

Day 6: Germany International study trip

Day 6 Munich. On the schedule was Deloitte, Target Partners, and a German venture capital firm. Finding Deloitte turned out to be one of the biggest challenges we’ve faced so far due to our lack of experience in navigating the underground station.

Day 5: Germany International study trip

Day 5 at 6:30AM and the team was bright and ready for our three breakfast presentations for the AFM 415 International Study Trip: Deutsche Bank, Moody's and PwC.

Day 4: Germany International study trip

Eight meetings are done, four more to go.
Today’s schedule for the AFM 415 International Study Trip: BMW and IBM Watson.

Should I take a gap year?

Should I take a gap year or should I go straight into University? I’ve asked myself this many times and have even sought opinions from family and friends, however, I’m still undecided.

Day 3: Germany International study trip

Monday in Frankfurt Germany was the first day of our company meetings for the AFM 415 International Study Trip. Our first meeting for the day was with the European Central Bank (ECB) at 10:30 AM.

Day 2: Germany International study trip

The second day of the AFM 415 International Study Trip was in Frankfurt, Germany. The day started with a complimentary breakfast, to which the highlight were delicious Nuremberg sausages!

Application process: Application fees

A big thing that comes with applying for University is the cost, not tuition fees but the application fee. When I started looking into University, I knew there was a cost that came with applying but I didn’t know how much it was.

Day 1: Germany International study trip

The anticipation of visiting Germany as part of the AFM 344, formerly known as AFM 415, International Study Trip was finally over when we arrived in Frankfurt and stumbled upon two cultural festivals.

BEYOND EXPERIENCED: Never underestimate your experiences

I liken my university experiences to a sports analogy. You never know when your coach will call on you to play, but when you’re sitting on the bench, you have to be prepared. For me that meant maintaining strong marks with extra-curricular involvement and never…ever take anything for granted.

Why are there so many choices?

Before applying for University, we are faced with the important decision of figuring out which schools we want to actually apply for. For me the choice was easy, the University of Waterloo, however, I still wanted to find out more about other schools just in case I found a better fit for me. That is why I attended the OUF (Ontario Universities fair) in Toronto this year.

BEYOND THE CLASSROOM – Lab Coats and Business Suits

In my 1A term, people often asked me, “Why biotech/CPA?” My preferred response would have been: “Because wearing both lab coats and suits is really cool.”

But what I usually responded with was, “Because having both science and business backgrounds will allow me to develop and contribute a unique perspective.” Stating this really didn’t help me realize the true meaning.

Now, as a 4B student, I realize that developing a unique perspective means being open-minded, having the courage to follow your curiosity, and connecting seemingly unrelated things.

BEYOND THE CLASSROOM: Launching your career

A couple of weeks ago, I attended a SAF hosted professional development conference called Launch Your Career.

I’d summarize Launch Your Career as: “a big ol’ introduction to some really key points of life and not just the business world.” Sure, there were speakers who talked about everything in the context of a “business setting”, but, if I’m being honest, I was surprised at how little the language was focused on something like a corporate setting. I basically just spent hours learning tips and tricks to succeed in life in general, and even got the opportunity to do some networking – which was one of the topics of discussion – with the speakers!

Figuring out what program you want to apply to

How Do I Decide?

Picking a program is the most important part of applying to University, without a program I can’t apply. The program(s) I choose will depend on what I enjoy doing, what I am capable of doing, and the required high school credits I need. I am interested in potentially applying for AFM and Arts&Bus (arts and business) at the University of Waterloo, however, I am undecided.

Furthering your University research

Researching University is something I’ve already done, but not as much as I should have. I’ve only looked into the University of Waterloo and their programs while doing my research, when I should be looking into other Universities that offer the program(s) I am interested in.

Preparing for Grade 12

Preparing for grade 12 is something I hadn’t really thought about as it’s technically just another year of high school, but it’s not. Up until this point, I’ve just been skimming by on everything involving school. I hadn’t done my homework unless I had to for marks.

BEYOND EXPERIENCE: Rising in the face of failure

A solitary figure stands in the middle of the stage as a bright beam of light surrounds her. Suddenly, she takes a deep breath and realizes – it’s show time.

BEYOND EXPERIENCED: Global awareness = global opportunities

It's easy to maximize your success, both personally and professionally, if you’re willing to take advantage of the resources offered. For me, that meant using two key features within the AFM program. As a result, I was offered full-time employment even before I graduated. 

BEYOND EXPERIENCED: Leveling up through lost luggage and nearly missed flights


The trip to Asia I took between first and second year sparked my interest to see the world and experience different cultures first-hand. I certainly didn’t feel that way when I landed in Hong Kong in error and realized that my luggage was as lost as I was.

Transitioning into first year of AFM studies is similar in many ways:
1) you feel a bit lost,
2) you’re unsure of what the expectations for you are, and
3) you have to level-up your skills in a hurry.

BEYOND DISCIPLINES: Not knowing creates opportunities


Where do I want to start my career? I know I want to be a business professional and I want to make an impact. As I learn and explore opportunities, my interests may change… and that’s a good thing. 

I’ve worked for Deloitte in their tax and corporate development divisions to build my business acumen. Networking with upper-year students and alumni exposed me to diverse career paths. But my most impactful experience to date has been participating in “Success Beyond the Classroom”.

A Road Map to a Successful Speech

Speaking to strangers or talking in front of a large crowd is often an activity that most individuals dread. “Speak with Impact and Impress them” by Marco Yim was an inspirational workshop that taught me how to step out of my comfort zone and take the next steps in building my networking and public speaking skills.

Failure, why is it something we are told is bad?

“Fail to Succeed”, was a session led by four senior AFM students who spoke of their academic journey. They talked about meeting their goals and how those goals changed over time due to either a change in their interests or failing to achieve their original goal.

2019 DECA Leadership GRIT Conference

DECA GRIT Students

The DECA Leadership GRIT Conference (DECA GRIT) was more than I expected, not just discussing DECA but also the rest of the business world. It was filled with interesting and informative lectures and workshops, along with hundreds of students networking and talking about their one common interest of DECA. DECA GRIT was held to help further enhance your skills to prepare you for future leadership roles in DECA and beyond, discussing leadership within all aspects of business.

Extracurricular activities

Too many to choose

When I think of university, I think of all work and no play. That is not the case at the University of Waterloo. At UW, there is a multitude of  extra-curriculars for anyone to take part in.


Never alone

Choosing between residences

Your home away from home


Where will I live?

Exchange Students

Bianca and Tiffany in Scotland

Current 4th year AFM students, Bianca and Tiffany spoke with the SAF Communications and External Relations team about their experiences while on an exchange trip. Bianca went on an exchange to Sweden while Tiffany enjoyed a study term in London, UK!

Student Athletes

David Larbi ruby fight

David, Amaris, and Zao took the time to talk to SAF’s Communications and External Relations team about their experiences being on a varsity team. They shared some tips on how they managed their time between academics and sports. In addition to these three student athletes, seven other student athletes from SAF programs were named on the 2018 President’s Academic Honour Roll, making the university proud.

International Co-op

Kyrie at Tatham Centre standing beside the Tatham Centre sign

How far I will go

Co-op opens up many doors, like the opportunity to travel and pursue international experiences. Co-op gives me the opportunity to become a globe-trotter.

Exploring new jobs

Kyrie looking at a bulletin board in the Tatham Centre

Expansion and Experience

Having to stay in the same job for all my co-op terms was a concern when I first looked into co-op. With co-op, I would be able to experience different ways of working based on environment and the way my employer runs operations.


Kyrie walking up the stairs at the Tatham Centre

Off to work we go

At the start of my research into university, I had not even considered co-op as an option. I originally thought that co-op seemed like it was bringing me into the working world early, but after looking into it a little more I realized it is rather useful.

Tuition Fees

University costs how much?

When I was younger, I thought that everyone had to pay the exact same amount for tuition. I also incorrectly assumed that your tuition included residence and a meal plan. The cost of tuition varies based on what program you apply for and whether you are a Canadian student or an international student.

Full-time vs. Part-time studies

Kyrie outside the SAF wing in Hagey Hall

Full-time or Part-time?

TV shows and movies has falsely taught me that students go to university throughout the year – fall, winter, and summer. After talking to people and researching more, I found out that you do not have to go for the full year and you do not even have to study full time.


Kyrie outside Tatham Centre

It is that easy!

Applying for university can be a very simple task if you know how to do it. After further research, I figured out how easy it actually is to apply.

Accreditation pathways

Kyrie with University of Waterloo sign, looking away.

The right pathway for me

Before looking into the Accounting and Financial Management (AFM) program, I had no idea what an accreditation pathway was and how it worked. University of Waterloo’s School of Accounting and Finance (SAF) has received the highest level of accreditation from the CPA (Chartered Professional Accountant) Canada and the CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) Institute, providing students with a direct pathway to the CPA and/or CFA designation.

Applying for a competitive program

Kyrie standing near the University of Waterloo sign on Seagram Drive

The competition is on!

One thing that I had not quite considered while looking into programs was, what if I want to apply for a competitive program? When I hear about people applying for competitive programs I tend to think of the stereotypes: universities only letting in people with a 98% GPA (grade point average) or higher, or you have to have 90’s in every math course you could ever take even if they don’t offer it at your school.

Academic preparation for AFM

Kyrie smiling as if she is in a conversation with someone

Be prepared

Something that surprised me about the requirements for the Accounting and Financial Management (AFM) program was that you do not need any previous knowledge of accounting or finance. The requirements to get into AFM are a minimum of 75% in grade 12 U level English, advanced functions, and calculus and vectors.

Is AFM the right fit for me?

Kyrie standing outside the SAF wing in Hagey Hall

Learning something new.

At the beginning of my research on university programs, I did not know what the Accounting and Financial Management (AFM) program was, but I was intrigued and wanted to know more.

Double major, minor, and elective courses

Kyrie with Vivian Diec outside Tatham Centre

How do I choose?

Have no idea what the difference is between a double major, minor, or elective courses? I didn’t either until I started doing research on university.

Understanding majors and minors

Kyrie wearing an orange beyond ideas University of Waterloo button

So many choices … so many opportunities to be unique!        

When I began looking into university programs, I realized that I was unfamiliar with what a major or minor was, or even the process of declaring a major.

Choosing a program and courses

Kyrie with Porcellino

Programs, courses, majors, oh my!

When I first started looking into university and university applications, I did not know the difference between programs and courses. I thought they were the same thing or similar to school subjects.

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