Career Life Advice from Industry Professionals

jennie The AFM 415: International Study Course to New York City, offered us the opportunity to interview professionals from a variety of industries ranging from accounting, finance, consulting and entrepreneurs. Aside from the knowledge we were given on the effects of the pandemic on certain industries, each one of our dignitaries provided our class with career and life advice that I will continue to carry with me throughout my journey at Waterloo and beyond.

One common lesson shared amongst all of our meetings is to be open to opportunity. Similar to how one industry could ride the high tide of COVID-19, and others ride the low tide, I believe that our career paths are often the same. COVID-19 may have closed the door on some businesses, but it opened the door for others and I firmly trust that this principle holds true in life as well.

As mentioned by Dritan Muneka (KPMG), Carmen Chung (Manulife), Homan Lau (Mizuho) and Shubham Datta (Shopify), opportunities will continue to present themselves when you keep an open mind. During our meeting with KPMG, I learned that Dritan had never planned to go into accounting advisory, but rather he made the career transition when a friend brought the role to his attention while he was working in the UK. Similarly, Carmen and Homan never intended to stay in Hong Kong and develop their careers in Asia, but they kept an open mind and took each opportunity as it came along their path. And with Shubham, he never intended to work in Corporate Development at Shopify, but he was open to career exploration and sits in his position today because he embraced the opportunities that arose.

In addition to maintaining an open attitude to my career, I learned from Rudder Zhang (Blackstone), Joanne Gutwinski (Blackstone), Jonathan Yu (RBC, Capital Markets) and Kelvin Tran (TD NYC) the importance of following my passion and displaying a positive attitude. Prior to joining the AFM 415 course, my goal was always to work in New York City, the center of the finance world. Somewhere along the way, I had forgotten my passion and became comfortable with life. It wasn’t until I participated in the AFM 415 virtual trip and met such inspiring individuals, that I took my dream off the backburner. I learned that if I have a goal in a mind, I should chase it by having a positive attitude and approaching every aspect of life with my best effort. As Joanne taught me, I may not be a hundred percent satisfied in my current role or my current progression in life, but you can still give it your all. Individuals like Joanne and Rudder gave me a new perspective on my career and where I want to take myself in the next three to five years. Kelvin and Jonathan, likewise, taught me that it is the soft skills such as taking initiative, giving back to the community, and good work ethic that will take me to where I want to be in life.

AFM 415 has been a journey of self reflection and progression for me personally. I was able to not only see the pandemic through the lens of different companies and industries, but I was also able to gain a clearer vision of where I see myself heading in the near future thanks to the wise words provided by all of our dignitaries.

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