My name is Jin and I graduated from UW’s Math and Business Double Degree program with a specialization in actuarial science and finance in 2019. After finishing university, I worked at KPMG for 2 years in their valuation services under their deal advisory service line. My expertise was mainly around fixed income evaluation, but I was also responsible for tasks such as providing evaluation support for any engagements we had, working on restructuring files, litigation files, M&A deals, and financial reporting.
Eventually, I left KPMG and joined OMERS in August 2019 in their Capital Markets Portfolio Strategy team. Fun fact, it was actually known as the Investment in Research and Insight team when I joined! At OMERS, I spend a lot of my time developing top down, strategic initiatives for capital markets and helping build a new capital allocation framework. With this new framework, we’re essentially trying to help capital markets allocate capital across different strategies, asset classes, and programs more efficiently to generate target returns.
Since I currently work in a hybrid model, my morning routine really depends on whether or not I’m going into the office that particular day. I usually go into the office two or three times a week, so for those days, I wake up a little earlier at 7:30 a.m. to accommodate for my 40-50 minute commute. After having a coffee and something to eat, I try to be out the door around 8:15 a.m. so I can arrive at the office by 9:00 a.m. On the other hand, if I’m not going into the office, I like to take the time I save from my commute to sleep in a little bit and wake up an hour later around 8:30 a.m. After waking up, I freshen up and quickly grab something to eat, then jump into work at 9:00 a.m. Regardless of whether or not I’m going into the office, I like to take about ten minutes to just read over the market news and familiarize myself with any big events that have taken place in the last day or two.
Beginning of Work Day
After starting work at 9:00 a.m, I have a 30-minute meeting with my manager around 10:00 a.m. just to brief each other on the current stage of work and to ask any questions we may have. After this meeting, I make a list of all the things I need to get done by the end of the day, just to make sure I know which tasks I need to prioritize and what next steps I need to keep in mind while I work. Since my work is more strategic project based, there’s not too much repetition, so aside from my morning meeting and to-do list, I continue with my individual work for the day.
I am really lucky in that I can be flexible with my lunchtime. If my work from the morning is done a little earlier, I might have lunch around 11:30 a.m. or 12:00 p.m., but if I’m trying to finish something up, I might eat a little later around 1:30 p.m. or 2:00 p.m. My office also offers free lunches from Tuesday through to Thursday, so I usually come into the office on two of those three days. It’s really convenient for me because I can just pop into the cafeteria, grab something to eat, and get back to work. Since we don’t have any designated break times, I can also grab a coffee, take a walk, or stretch if I feel the need to. As long as you aren’t away from your desk for very long, you can be really flexible in how you take your breaks. I’ve also been able to have a few quick coffee chats during these breaks!
In the afternoon, I try to work on tasks from my to-do list made at the beginning of the day and focus on work that needs to be completed. These tasks can vary such as doing benchmark analysis and reviewing operating models in the earlier stage of the engagement if I’m working on higher level projects. I might also have cross-team meetings on how to implement items that will change reports. Then, around 4:30 p.m., I do a quick “progress check” just to see how many of my to-do list tasks I have completed and if there are any questions or concerns I need to bring up with my manager. Otherwise, I read the market news a little bit and check how much volatility there was in the market that day.
End of Workday
Luckily, I do not have many late nights, and I usually finish around 5 p.m. or 6 p.m. If I still have something I am trying to finish up, I work on that instead or take a short break, get some food, and then finish those tasks around 7 p.m.
During my weekends, I enjoy hanging out with my friends and catching up on sleep! I’m also preparing for the CFA right now, so I currently don’t have much time to de-stress.
To close off...
To close, I think it’s very important for people to try to reach out and network. I didn’t realize this in my earlier years of university, so I struggled to find co-ops and to break into the finance industry. Although it might be challenging and tough to talk to many people, there might be one person who really likes you and sees your value which could help you in the long run. When you try to connect with people, don’t just try to take advantage of the person’s knowledge--try to actively seek out a connection with that person. Be genuine, and show interest!
Once you’re in the industry, try to be open and pass on your support to those who are now trying to break into the industry. This can be really helpful, and it demonstrates a supportive community with a positive, virtuous cycle. Share your knowledge! This can help you learn about new concepts, build connections, and create lasting friendships.