Analysis, fintech, investment or commercial banking, ESG, real estate, corporate, wealth management, sales trading, risk or investment management…The possible career outcomes for graduates of the McGill Master of Management in Finance (MMF) are as diverse as its cohorts. Read ahead as we catch up with graduates in this series about coming out on the other side of the specialized program in finance.
Aïcha Traoré (MMF’20)
Senior Market Risk Analyst – VaR, National Bank of Canada
For Aïcha Traoré (MMF’20), her passion and pursuit of a career in finance was influenced by growing up in a finance and accounting oriented family. Born and raised in Côte d’Ivoire, she grew up watching her father serve as a financial manager for the government and witnessed the potential for impact firsthand.
After high school, she moved to Canada to pursue her BCom in Ontario, before joining the McGill Master of Management in Finance (MMF) program in 2019. “My older brother studied risk management and introduced me to it as a career path. Doing my research, I was confident joining Desautels would be the right stepping-stone to a managerial position in a leading financial institution," she says. Since graduating, Aïcha has secured a position as a Senior Market Risk Analyst at National Bank of Canada.
During her application interview with Jan Ericsson, Academic Director of the MMF and Associate Professor of Finance, Aïcha was clear what yield she wanted from the program. “I explained I wanted to work in risk management and he reassured me it was one of the many streams the MMF program could offer. I knew what industry I wanted to end up in and getting that confirmation made me want to join the program even more.”
The technical know-how
Between the MMF’s practical training and the curriculum, offered over 12 or 16 months, Aïcha graduated feeling prepared for the workforce. “The fast pace of the one-year program challenged me, but I quickly gained the technical knowledge needed to get me to where I wanted to go,” she states.
Learning about finance theories, calculating risk metrics and understanding regulation were some of the key fundamentals she took away from the program. The MMF also introduced her to tools like programming languages. “For my final class project, I used Python, an experience that has been very helpful,” she says. “You know, finance is a kind of exact science. You need all that.”
Another bonus was the experiential learning component. “I had the opportunity to work as the Head of Risk Management for the Desautels Capital Management (DCM) SRI Equity Fund, which provided incredible hands-on experience. Many questions I answered during job interviews were related to the work I completed with the DCM,” states Aïcha.
Value in habits
Beyond the technical skills needed in the fast-paced and most quantitative field of finance, Aïcha was also able to pick up crucial habits to thrive in risk management. Her time in the MMF helped her develop important presentation, communication and organizational skills.
She also learned the importance of networking and connecting with a variety of people, things she was able to accomplish through student study trips to Toronto and New York. “Career Management at Desautels was amazing too!", Traoré says. "They do an incredible job coaching us on things like how to connect with others on LinkedIn and how to prepare for a job interview.”
She still remains in contact with many colleagues from her MMF cohort. “Your network is one of your biggest assets,” she believes.
On the long-term horizon
“Thanks to the MMF, I was able to secure a role I love at one of Canada’s leading integrated financial groups and continue to gain experience.” Ultimately, she hopes to leverage the skills she’s picked up in the program and on the workforce, to return to Côte d’Ivoire to contribute to its economic development.
Next up, meet an alumnus working ESG and Sustainable Finance: Spotlight on Mitchell McEwen
- Attend an upcoming information session to learn more about the MMF program