WCM 2022 Canada Conference Recap

  • James Silva (HBA ’21), Investment Banking Analyst at Morgan Stanley
  • Athena Guo (HBA ’21) Investment Banking Analyst at BMO Capital Markets
  • Kazim Naqvi (HBA ’20) Equity Research Associate at National Bank of Canada
  • Stefan Losberg (HBA ’17), Senior Associate at Whitehorse Liquidity Partners
  • James Newman (HBA ’20), Analyst at Fengate Asset Management
  • Melissa Belbeck (HBA ’13), Principal at Whitecap Venture Partners
  • Arun Vinayagamoorthy (HBA ’20), Investment Associate at Polar Asset Management
  • Caitlin: This is where I expected to be, but increasingly, there are opportunities to go directly on the buyside from graduation compared to when I graduated.
  • Stefan: I had a traditional path working in Investment Banking at TD from Ivey. But where I am now, at Whitehorse, it’s PE secondaries, which is a more niche and growing segment within PE. In university, I had no idea what secondaries entailed, but I am super excited about where I am today.
  • Arun: I didn’t expect to end up in this spot — but I consider myself lucky and fortunate that I did end up here — it combines the two things I wanted to do — entrepreneurship and investing. So, combining risk-taking and a structured work environment.
  • James: It’s where I was hoping to be, even earlier than I expected. I found infrastructure a very natural progression from my real asset’s undergrad.
  • James: Two main reasons — first, the work is a lot more interesting, as you’re the one investing, so you need more conviction and to take more intellectual endeavors. Secondly, the hours are more predictable, and often overall less, as well.
  • Caitlyn: Being a female is your superpower — a lot of people want to mentor you, a lot of programs are there to help, and there has been improvement in the area with female leaders and mentors. Coming out to events like this is the first step and embracing these programs. Be ambitious, be driven, and don’t be intimated.
  • Arun: Polar partnered with the Ivey Business School to create a program for women in asset management that combines in-class learning and you get mentored. It’s during the summer and paid, so that’s an opportunity, so feel free to reach out to me.
  • Caitlin: Right now, I’m thinking of what groups I want to try out next. So, credit investing, direct PE, infrastructure, etc. — those are my direct plans and goals. One thing I know I want is to also work abroad.
  • Stefan: I want to be developing my decision-making skillsets. In Investment Banking, you develop a lot of technical skills, but where I am, at Whitehorse, every single day, we have a culture built on decision-making and input. So, in my career, I want to be consistently challenged while making those decisions and having the opportunity to speak my voice. In terms of exit opportunities, we’ve grown from 10 to 110 people. I haven’t thought about exit opportunities — the key thing is learning and expressing my opinion on a day-to-day basis.
  • Arun: I haven’t thought about exit opportunities, and in terms of hedge funds, the exit opportunities are entrepreneurship or perhaps other asset management firms. For myself, investing is an infinite game in the sense that there’s no limit to how far you can take it. I want to pursue it to the extent that I can, to the best of my abilities, and if I can’t, I’ll go into entrepreneurship. I’m quite flexible on what that means as an end result.
  • James: I definitely see myself being in this role for quite some time. In infrastructure, if someone wanted to make an exit, the options would be more of an operating role, starting a development firm, or going to a different infrastructure role.
  • Caitlin: I like to add things into my calendar, 15 minutes of walking in the morning, or going to work out — so working in small ways to balance my personal life. Things ebb and flow — when you’re on a live deal, you’re really busy, but there are also other times when that’s not the case. It’s really important to ask questions and get a feel for the culture of the place you’re working. But I think in the first few years, you might even be taking more hours than you need to. It might be really intense at the start, but as you continue, it gets better.
  • Stefan: You do have to put your foot down at a certain point and think about what makes you happy. For me, that’s fitness-related, so when I’m really busy, I say hey, I need to go to the gym for an hour, etc. And that’s really common for people in finance — they do a good job of carving out time. And wherever you decide to work, the people are so important. I’m very fortunate to work with similar people who understand this.
  • Arun: I’ve been in jobs where I’ve hated my life, and vice versa. The difference between the two is people and culture. To give an example of what makes my life better now versus prior jobs, you’re allowed to do things that you want to do personally, as long as you also get your work done.
  • James: What a lot of people don’t realize is you can really utilize your downtime a lot better from WFH. If you’re waiting for someone’s comments, you can take a nap, do some chores, or work out. That makes your work-life balance easier. If you have the luxury of choice when you’re recruiting, never sign with a sweatshop. I know a lot of friends who went into finance, worked terrible hours and left as soon as they could. Look for a place you could do that lifestyle consistently for years on end as a long-term career. It’s a lot easier to keep up with my friends not in finance as they’re not working those crazy hours. Take the effort to have a call or grab a coffee with them if you can.
  • Caitlin: Read the news every day.
  • Stefan: Be proactive and try to be two steps ahead. If you want to work in Investment Banking, work backwards — what are the 5–10 steps you need to do to get there and work every day to chip away at that goal.
  • Arun: Just do your own thing. When I was in HBA1, it was a very natural thing to compare yourselves to other people and create timelines in your head. Forget all of that and introspect and play your own game.
  • James: Working in finance is not necessarily a personality trait, and you don’t realize how important cultural fit is to a firm until you actually work with those people for a long time.

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Western Capital Markets

WCM’s mission is to educate, develop and provide real-world opportunities for members of the Western community to explore their interest in finance.