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.
Mark Moudabber (MMF’20)
Wealth Associate, Sarwa, United Arab Emirates
Mark Moudabber (MMF’20), born in Lebanon, always intended to join his family and brothers born in Montreal after completing his undergrad. “I was supposed to come to Canada right after high school, but things got deferred.” For Mark, who currently works as a Wealth Associate at Sarwa—aka the Wealthsimple of the Middle East, when the time came to apply to a Master’s program, the logical option was to look at McGill’s relatively new Master of Management in Finance (MMF). What truly stood out to Mark about the program at the Desautels Faculty of Management was the mix between the coursework and hands-on approach offered by Desautels Capital Management. “Desautels was always the first name to come to mind.”
As he began his degree, Mark quickly realized the benefit of being exposed to and working with individuals with a variety of skills, knowledge and diverse backgrounds. “Mixing our skills together was great,” he says.
"We welcome students from diverse academic backgrounds,” says Jan Ericsson, Academic Director of the MMF and Associate Professor of Finance. “Whether your background is in math or engineering, economics or the social sciences, you will join a like-minded group of peers who will become close friends and professional contacts throughout your lifetime."
Mark also credits professors and faculty for adding immense value to the program by offering plenty of insight as to what skills are necessary to make it in different industries. “The skills required differ from one area to another but professors were able to provide a comprehensive perspective of what would be awaiting us in the professional world,” says Mark. “There are a lot of paths and career options you can follow. You can put more focus on the skills you want to develop, depending on what career you want to you want to have.”
Experiential learning with the DCM
Building upon the foundation of the material taught in the classroom, MMF students benefit from the experiential teaching components of the MMF, such as the Guest Speaker Series, the International Study Trips and Desautels Capital Management, Canada's first university-owned, student-run, licensed and regulated investment firm with assets totaling over $8 million.
“The MMF prides itself in not only preparing students for a future in finance in the traditional sense but really pushing that further,” says Ericsson. “We prepare students for a career in finance through a comprehensive curriculum that integrates advanced financial concepts and quantitative methods with real-world business practices.”
“Learning from textbooks is one thing but the big value-add for me was the experiential part, in the sense that you actually get to test a few things that you learn and see that there may be important things you’re not fully exposed to in the classroom,” says Mark.
He credits the DCM with helping him gain real world experience with crucial things like presentation skills and being pushed out of your comfort zone, be it working with new colleagues or on projects you’re uncomfortable with. “These are things most professionals can relate to and having exposure to it at the DCM level was very helpful.”
The postgrad path
Mark believes the McGill MMF was the push forward he needed after his undergrad. “I thought I was ready back then and did a few internships in various industries. I saw there was a gap between what I'd been doing so far, and what was actually needed in the working world. McGill filled that gap,” he says.
By leveraging the expertise acquired from the academic material and exposure to hands-on projects at the MMF, Mark felt adequately prepared when applying for a role in the workforce after graduation. “You can be in an interview scenario whereby you’re asked to pitch an investment idea. That’s all you've been doing at DCM! Recruiters really value this.”
Now at Sarwa, the first regulated robo-advisor in the Middle East, Mark aids the online investment platform in its mission to make investing simple, accessible, and affordable to everyone. Assistant Professor (Teaching) of Finance Jiro Kondo, also Founding Advisor and Head of Portfolio Construction at Sarwa, helped Mark secure this role. “The investment space in the Middle East has typically had high barriers to entry, such as high starting amounts and hefty fees; Sarwa’s aim is to democratize this market. We are advisors, but we have a hybrid approach to it.” Mark credits the MMF program with teaching him to be proactive, an indispensable skill in the dynamic startup environment he found himself in.
From juggling projects for courses and DCM, to preparing for exams and building CVs for recruitment season, MMF students learn to jump from task to task in a structured and smart way. “It’s something that's helped me and given me an advantage,” claims Mark.
The bottom line
Mark’s parting advice? Tap into the biggest resource, Desautels professors. “One area that people should take advantage of more, which I did, was reaching out to, talking, and networking with professors. I got my job through a connection with Professor Kondo! Whether it was the program director or any professors out there, they were all supportive.”
While he acknowledges the program is condensed and has heavier portions throughout the year, Mark confirms all the effort put in really pays dividends down the line. As the MMF continues to scale up from a ranking perspective, the value of the program continues to come through. “It’s a very valuable program to be part of.”
Next up, meet an alumna working in Risk Management: Spotlight on Aïcha Traoré
- Attend an upcoming information session to learn more about the MMF program