My name is Christine, and I am currently in my fourth year of the AFM program. When I started out in AFM, I was very passionate about accounting and getting my CPA, so I did my first two co-op terms at EY in the public and private sectors. I learned a lot from my accounting co-op experiences and I’m always glad that I started in audit because it taught me a lot of important transferable skills. Later on, I wanted to experiment with finance and ended up completing my third co-op term at Intact Ventures, a corporate venture capital fund. I was first exposed to the world of venture capital through the UWaterloo Student Venture Fund. The knowledge and skills I gained from this extra-curricular helped me as I recruited for finance co-op roles. Currently, I’m helping lead the Student Venture Fund this winter term.
7:00AM to 9:30AM
My co-op at Intact was during the fall 2021 term and we had a hybrid model, which meant that my routine would change depending on whether or not I was going into the office. My team decided that working from home on Mondays and Fridays and going into the office from Tuesday to Thursday worked best for us. I would usually wake up at 7:00a.m. and if I was going into work, I would take the 8:30a.m. GO train, arriving at work around 9:30a.m. Near the end of my co-op, I would spend my commute looking into podcasts that were related to some of the interesting investment areas I was looking into in venture capital. I am really passionate about VC funds that help fund female founders, so I would listen to some podcasts related to that. I remember hearing a statistic about how only 2% of VC funding in the United States goes to female founders. Apart from listening to podcasts during my commute, my version of mindfulness exercises consists of reading the Bible and praying because I find that these activities help my mind relax before the busy day ahead.
9:30AM to 12:00PM
Once I get to work around 9:30a.m, I have about an hour allocated to catch up on all the big VC news stories within the last day. I had all my newsletters set up in my work email, so I would brief myself on all the deals that had happened and take note of any start-ups that I thought Intact could potentially talk to and invest in later. Intact primarily invests in Series A and Series B companies, so I would try to find companies that were in stages prior to this (i.e. the seed-Series A stage). Generally, Intact Ventures has four main investments areas: Distribution, Mobility, Data & AI, and Sharing Economy. So, I would often focus on any deals related to InsurTech, PropTech, FinTech, Autonomous Vehicles, RegTech, and supply chain areas.
Sorting through all these newsletters would usually take me up to 10:00a.m. Additionally, I would address any time sensitive emails and try to complete any admin tasks (e.g. coordinating with the internal finance team to wire money related to capital calls) in the morning. Throughout my co-op, I was usually working on a big project, whether it was helping my colleagues with due diligence or working on my own personal research project on data privacy. I would also help write investment memos to and, in the second half of my co-op, I got to work on a new deal. Aside from deals, I also did my own deep dive into the world of data privacy. I was interested in how data privacy was changing throughout the world and the impact of legislations (e.g., GDPR) that regulate how companies utilize data. I also researched into technology that made processes such as handling customer data easier. I would tend to work on these big projects around 11:00a.m., which would lead me into lunch.
12:00PM to 3:00PM
After finishing my morning tasks, I would get lunch with my team at around noon or 1:00p.m. We would usually go to a salad place nearby, but we also loved to try out new things. Sometimes we would go to Kensington for some really good food or, if work was a little calmer, we would go out and actually sit in a restaurant to have a meal. Though, we would usually get take out and eat at the office. The majority of our meetings were scheduled to be after lunch, so between 1:00p.m and 3:00p.m. These meetings could be with internal team members or founders pitching to the team. I would also attend webinars and pitch days, taking note of any interesting companies and relaying the information back to my colleagues.
3:00PM to 6:00PM
During the late afternoons and evenings, I would go back to work on any original tasks or projects I had. If I had any more calls, I would take meeting minutes while listening to business pitches. To end off the day, I would also touch base with my associate on what I had worked on during the day and asked any questions I had. The team was pretty small, composed of 3 other full time employees. The day would usually end around 5:30pm to 6:00pm.
During my downtime or when I needed to take a break, I would work on any PD assignments or read about other investment areas that were different from what I dealt with at Intact such as fashion startups. I also really enjoy networking, and I would talk to people in industries I was interested in when I had time.
To completely de-stress, I would blast music on the train ride home. When I get home, I would catch up with my family and help cook dinner. I would usually end my day off relaxing and I’d watch TikTok, YouTube, or Netflix. On the weekends, I’d always try to hang out with my friends and hear about how their co-op or academic terms were going.
To close off...
Some tips I would give to students are to use WIF’s resources to branch out and try new things such as attending their different events. I believe trying new things is very important because personally, I was scared to leave the stability that an accounting career offers. However, I found that moving to VC was a lot more fulfilling and aligned more with what I value out of a career (e.g., my passion for entrepreneurship). It’s okay to not be completely sure what your next career move is – I’m currently still figuring out what I want to do full time. However, I always recommend staying curious and exploring new opportunities because they allow you to learn more about yourself and what you are capable of.