Student experience blogs

Students from our Sustainability and Financial Management (SFM) program recently won the final round of the Accounting for Sustainability (A4S) International Case Competition.

Learn about their experience and prize-winning solution that led them to surpass teams from Germany, Norway, the United States, and Canada, to securing the top spot and a coveted prize of $10,000.

As the lucky students who recently travelled to Switzerland for the winter School of Accounting and Finance (SAF) 2024 International Study Course trip, we are reflecting on and sharing our once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Meet Hana, a second year Honours Arts and Business student majoring in Communication Studies who has just finished a co-op term at the School of Accounting and Finance (SAF).

Hana worked as the competition coordinator associate, creating digital communications, assisting with the administration of the Financial Literacy Competition, and working on events for SAF students.

Since I moved from Hong Kong at fourteen years old, finding “home” in a new country was a scary thing. With time and new experiences, I have learned to be independent, gained intercultural skills, and developed curiosity for the people and things around me. Starting university at Waterloo was a learning curve too (with co-op as well). 

Hi! I’m Jaiden, an upper-year student in the Sustainability and Financial Management Program (SFM). When I first applied to SFM in grade 12, I was super excited, but a bit nervous. It was a brand-new program, and although I knew I would love my classes, I wondered how potential employers might react to this new degree offering.

Our team was comprised of two Master of Accounting (MAcc) students who completed all their co-op terms in audit and a fourth-year Accounting and Financial Management (AFM) student who only completed one of his co-op terms in a tax-related role. With a limited background in tax, we all felt underqualified heading into the case competition since we knew we would be competing against peers with much more relevant tax experience. Although our success in the competition was down to our own research, collaboration, and presentation efforts, we would like to give a special mention to our professor, Julie Robson. Professor Robson reached out to us initially and encouraged all of our team members to compete. Without this nudge from her, it is unlikely that we would’ve signed up and achieved this successful win. Tax is definitely one of those areas that can be intimidating, even to accounting professionals, and so sometimes all that’s needed is a little encouragement!

We are a team of Accounting and Financial Management students from the University of Waterloo who had the opportunity to participate in this exciting Eclipse Case Competition open for undergraduate students across Ontario. Our team, consisting of Mohammad, Robert, Bryce, and Nathan, had an incredible time at the competition, and we’re excited to share our experience with you.

Our team (from left to right: Anshul, Baldwyn, and Rebecca) recently had the opportunity to compete in the Young Tax Professionals (YTP) Case Competition on June 16, 2023. We had a great experience where we got to use the tax knowledge, research abilities and presentation skills that we have learned from our undergraduate and master’s programs.

Tuesday, September 12, 2023

Taking the Bespoke Approach

The 10th edition of the School of Accounting and Finance’s (SAF) Investment Research Challenge (IRC) brought anticipation and excitement. As a team of students who enjoy pitch competitions, we knew we had to try our best during the competition if we were to win the top prize. After weeks of preparation and a day of competing, we were incredibly happy to hear that we won first place!

After competing in several case competitions together, our team decided that the SAF Strategy Competition was an amazing opportunity for us to apply our skills at home in Hagey Hall.

For this year’s competition, we were tasked with developing creative strategies to help Tesla stay ahead in the electric vehicle (EV) market. With such an ambitious ask, our team took advantage of the room for creative freedom and presented a three-pronged strategy to tackle this challenge: addressing current issues in Tesla’s customer journey, launching a new brand to compete with lower-cost EVs, and establishing a strategic partnership with a rideshare company to drive further product awareness.

As first-year students in our 1B term, all with diverse backgrounds and experiences, we came together to take on the Schulich Accounting Society (SAS) Pathways Case Competition. 

In early March, School of Accounting and Finance (SAF) students Mahek, Puneet, Daniel and I competed in the final round of the National Investment Banking Conference (NIBC) in Vancouver. I participated in the conference because I believed it would offer a glimpse into what a career in investment banking would be like.

A Journey of Learning and Collaboration

Participating in a case competition is an incredible opportunity to challenge oneself and learn from talented peers. That's precisely what myself and my colleagues, Pratham, Katherine, and Chloe, experienced when we competed in the ACHIEVE Case Competition in January. 

The Inter-Collegiate Business Competition (I.C.B.C.) is one of the oldest case competitions in Canada and is known for its complex yet integrative cases. This year, we had the pleasure of competing in the accounting stream.

As previous analysts on the Student Venture Fund and AFM 433: Business Strategy, enthusiasts, we had always been interested in analyzing companies and thinking of strategic possibilities for them. This drew us to the Inter-Collegiate Business Competition (I.C.B.C.), where we became finalists in the business policy event.

A very big thank you to everyone who came to enjoy chilli, a candy bar, midterm survival kits, and tons of board games at Games and Sweets Night. It was a pleasure to see you all having so much fun! A special thanks to CFM Program Manager Kim Tremblay as well. 

The event began with a delicious dinner of chilli and warm bread rolls catered by Jacqueline’s Catering. The bread rolls were a hit for sure! 

Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Setting yourself up to Excel

In early December, I had the chance to participate in the finals for the Microsoft Excel Collegiate Challenge hosted by the University of Arizona, and it’s something I encourage every student to sign up for next year. It served as a great chance to hone my Excel skills, network with top financial modelers in university and abroad, not to mention I was able to escape the snow for a few days

Wednesday, December 21, 2022

Approaching networking as an introvert

Meeting UWaterloo alumni to share ideas and experiences 

Hi there! I’m Colette, a second-year student in the Sustainability and Financial Management Program. In a few days, I will be meeting some SAF alumni through the Fellowship Program Café and will have the opportunity to speak to them about their experience in the program, how it’s helped them in their careers, and more.

Gurkomal, a second-year Accounting and Financial Management (AFM) student, had the opportunity to attend the Women in Accounting and Finance 10th Anniversary event and connect with speakers who offered her motivating advice as successful women leaders. This networking event was the most inspiring one she’s attended yet.

Hi, my name is Gurkomal, and I am a second-year student studying Accounting and Financial Management at the School of Accounting and Finance.

Thursday, December 8, 2022

How to make networking fun

Networking can be a scary experience, and you might be putting a lot of pressure on yourself because you think you need it to find a job or to advance your career. The truth is you can approach networking in a fun and lighthearted way to get the most out of it. Here are my three tips that I found made networking more enjoyable:

Jaiden outside

As soon as I accepted my offer for the Sustainability and Financial Management program at the University of Waterloo, I realized that I had one more big choice to make. 

Since I live in the Kitchener-Waterloo region, it made sense to stay at home (after all, I had my whole room set up just the way I like it, and the pandemic meant that my couch and I were very good friends). 

Tianna (in the middle) with her friends

September is a month of change and new beginnings where students across the world commence a new chapter of their life together at their respective universities. As Warriors, we are lucky enough to call the University of Waterloo our home. Specifically, as an Accounting and Financial Management (AFM) student, I get to call the School of Accounting and Finance my home.

Several thousand students along with their families attended the in-person Ontario Universities Fair (OUF) this year. They visited the booths of various renowned universities and collected information to help them make probably one of the biggest decisions of their lives, a decision that will influence their career and in a broader sense, the person they become.

As a current undergrad student at the University of Waterloo who was in the same place a few years ago, I couldn’t help but see a reflection of myself in these students. 

Accounting and Finance Orientation Week (AFOW) will be held in person this Fall with three days of exciting events!

AFOW is a student organization that plans additional opportunities for you to meet and connect with others in the School of Accounting and Finance (SAF). AFOW aims to help incoming first-year students start their university experience off right, which is why we have organized an exciting three days of events planned for you from September 11-15, 2022.