MMF Series: Where Are They Now? Spotlight on Mitchell McEwen (MMF’20)

In this series, learn how the MMF has been an asset and opened a variety of doors for careers in Fintech, Risk Management and ESG.

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.

Mitch McEwen (he/him) (MMF’20) Photo of Mitchell McEwen

Senior Manager, Enterprise Sustainable Finance, TD Bank Group

Mitch McEwen, Senior Manager of Enterprise Sustainable Finance at TD Bank Group, first joined the Bank as an Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) intern in May 2020.

“In my role as a senior manager, I focus on sustainable finance levers that support the Bank’s ESG Framework,” says Mitch. The Enterprise Sustainable Finance team develops Bank-wide strategies that aim to support business opportunities and progress in the focus areas of TD’s ESG Framework.

His passion for ESG can be attributed to his curiosity about the intersection between finance and sustainability, something he explored in depth during his studies at the McGill Master of Management in Finance program. Wanting to further explore what role financial institutions would play in driving a just transition to a low-carbon economy, he was drawn to the MMF by the Desautels SRI Equity Fund, a new fund dedicated to Socially Responsible Investing (SRI) under Desautels Capital Management (DCM).

“What really piqued my interest and what I loved about the program was that it was more than theory-based; I really wanted that hands-on experience,” says Mitch.

An edge in an emerging area

While ESG is not a new discipline, it has become a new normal, as the urgency around climate crisis and social issues continues to grow.

During his time managing companies within the DCM portfolio, Mitch took on the role of Chief Sustainability Officer, even co-launching The Sustainable Investor, a newsletter providing insights on specific topics related to sustainable investing with the hope of fostering discussions around sustainable finance.

“All of it was an amazing opportunity to think of how we view ESG. I worked with many analysts and set the foundational elements to educate colleagues on what ESG is and why it is important for a sustainable and inclusive future. And ultimately, how does ESG considerations intersect with finance from a materiality point of view,” says Mitch.

Benefitting from layers of expertise

“What I love about finance is that it is interdisciplinary and applies to a wide range of industries,” he says. While not necessarily part of the MMF’s condensed core curriculum, Mitch witnessed that intersection through the knowledge his professors brought from other fields in finance. “Professors were extremely knowledgeable and brought their subject matter expertise to the table,” he states. “They were definitely engaged in the topic of ESG and sustainable finance, and were able to indulge me when I had a lot of questions!”

He also credits the Career Management team at Desautels for its amazing support in terms of getting students in front of different companies and positioning graduates in a what he believes is an unparalleled way.

Another asset to the MMF experience was the opportunity students are given to talk to, not only program alumni, but also to Desautels Global Experts, top level executives and practitioners in the industry.

“The Desautels Global Experts provided great feedback, insights and expertise in finance within a real-world context to really prepare us for what would come next when trying to secure a job, whether in finance or any other industry.”

A rich network

Mitch also highlights the numerous opportunities offered to him through the MMF program to build connections and grow his network. “I had the opportunity to meet many successful McGill alumni in Montreal, Toronto and New York. I still stay connected with many of them today.”

During the MMF, Mitch and fellow students were also able to collaborate with external institutions. The group won the Quebec regional CFA Research Challenge, making it the first team to win for the MMF. Although the pandemic impeded planned travel to New York, they were able to represent Quebec at the Americas Regional by videoconference that April. “We owed a great deal of gratitude to our advisors, including MMF Associate Professor and Chief Investment Officer of DCM Vadim di Pietro.”

Adapting to an ever-evolving landscape

As a constantly evolving space, solutions on how to preserve and save the environment and address social issues are not always clear—it’s like trying to hit a moving target.

“The amazing thing about working in this space is the ever-evolving landscape,” Mitch explains.

Since Mitch first joined TD, he’s been able to witness and play a key role in the shifts that have occurred in sustainable finance. In 2022, TD achieved its $100 billion low-carbon economy target and set a new $500 billion Sustainable & Decarbonization Finance Target with a focus on supporting environmental, decarbonization and social activities through its lending, financing, underwriting, advisory services, insurance and the Bank’s own investments. This is a project Mitch helped lead.

“It's honestly incredible,” he says. “You work with many brilliant colleagues in a room to design a strategy or initiative. And then the real work begins when you start to execute on it.”

Broad applicability

Originally inclined towards sustainability, Mitch did consider going into pure play finance. As he dove more deeply into the topic and recognized its importance, he felt a larger call to action. “I made the program my own and took it upon myself to build upon what was laid out in front of me to integrate a sustainability angle. The MMF offers that flexibility and support from the professors. There is a broader applicability to the program, and you do not have to follow a traditional career path in finance.”

He credits the MMF with providing students with exposure to the different types of financial activities that exist, something he says has been very helpful to him in his work with business partners across TD.

He believes the MMF is for those looking to challenge the status quo in finance by thinking critically about how unprecedented and challenging issues are tackled. “Whether it was the theoretical or the practical experience, I am a big fan of the program because it helped me enter this exciting and emerging space.”

MMF Program

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