By Carrie Gilmour
It’s been a year since School of Accounting and Finance (SAF) students took the world stage by storm at the CFA Institute Research Challenge and a lot has changed in that short period of time.
In 2016 five students from the SAF (l-r), Kamaljot Dhaliwal, Daniel Zhang, Brent Small, Rudder Zhang and Adnan Khan, used their diverse co-op and program backgrounds to beat out over 1,000 teams from 70 countries to become the World Champions in a business valuation competition.
The team spent months preparing to present and defend detailed equities research report on a publicly traded company to a panel of industry experts. The SAF team advanced through several rounds over eight months to reach the Global Finals in Chicago, where they competed against University of Georgia, Ateneo de Manila University, and Politecnico di Milano, to capture the championship and a $10,000 prize.
So where are they now?
Brent Small, an Accounting and Financial Management (BAFM 2017) graduate was appointed as the CEO in winter 2017 for the SAF Student Investment Fund, managing a team of 30 students with $250K in assets under management. He is currently working as an Investment Analyst at Polar Asset Management Partners in Toronto.
I landed my dream job right out of school. I couldn't imagine a better job or workplace, and this is due in no small part to my experience at SAF.
Adnan Khan was awarded the 2016 Co-op Student of the Year Award for the Faculty of Arts for his leadership and role in enhancing Deloitte's use of data analytics software and his development of a co-op student-training program. Just one of the many projects this busy millennial has in his impressive portfolio. He is also the Founder of EduGate, a non-profit organization that brings education technology to rural communities in Nicaragua. The organization, started while Adnan was still a student, has since supported over 1,000 students to date.
I strongly believe that communication skills can always be improved. I have looked for opportunities to present. Whether my presentations have been in front of one person or 500, I have been able to elevate my presentation skills.
Adnan recently graduated from the Accounting and Financial Management and Master of Accounting (BAFM, MAcc 2017) programs, and is now a Consultant at Deloitte Consulting in Toronto.
Daniel Zhang (BSc, MAcc 2017) is a Biotechnology/CPA and Master of Accounting graduate and an Investment Banking Analyst at CIBC World Markets in Toronto. His work has been recognized in the field of scientific research in the University of Toronto Journal of Undergraduate Life Sciences. While in his undergraduate career, he was appointed CEO in the fall of 2014 for the ACE Consulting Group, managing a team of 15 students to complete pro bono consulting projects primarily for Kitchener-Waterloo start-ups and not-for-profit organizations.
I feel fulfilled to have built my foundation in life, but more-so, grateful for every influential catalyst [SAF offered] and obstacle that has helped bring me this far. With an entire future to build in front of me, my aspirations are simple – to have goals, to be inspired, and to continue pursuing life with a humble curiosity.
Kamaljot Dhaliwal (BCFM 2017) graduated from the Computer and Financial Management program and is currently working as a Trading Software Developer at Millennium Advisors in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Rudder Zhang (BMath 2016), a graduate of the Mathematics/Business Administration program works for Goldman Sachs in New York City as an Investment Banking Analyst in the Consumer Retail and Healthcare sector.
Success of the team can be attributed to the students being able to maximize the dual natures of their individual programs - accounting and finance in AFM, accounting and science in Biotechnology/CPA, finance and computer science in CFM, and business and math in Math/Business Administration – to bring a diverse set of skills and perspectives needed to capture the world championship. Additionally, Brent, Adnan, Daniel, Kam, and Rudder were all actively involved in the experiential learning offered through co-operative education, and extra and co-curricular activities to help polish the transferrable skills needed to set these SAF students apart from the rest. For each student, the Student Investment Fund was a launching pad for their finance experience and a foot-in-the-door for these driven students.
Brent Small reflects on the highlight of his university career, which certainly rings true for the others.
I’ll forever be grateful to SAF for providing my team and I the opportunity to compete, and win, on the world stage.