MMF student Mathew Kwan honoured for academic excellence

Mathew Kwan, a 2020 graduate of the McGill Master of Management in Finance (MMF) program, was recently awarded the Peter Christoffersen Award in recognition of his outstanding CGPA and contribution to Desautels Capital Management (DCM)—Canada’s first university-owned, student-run, licensed and regulated investment firm designed to give McGill students invaluable experience in the industry.

As soon as Mathew joined DCM it was clear that he would be a leader in the program. He made important contributions as the head of our Quant Strategy team and was responsible for a number of successful investment decisions as part of the Information Technology team. In fact, our Alpha Squared Fund’s outperformance this year is due in part to Veeva Systems, a stock that Mathew’s team pitched, which is up over 100% since purchase!” says Vadim di Pietro, Associate Professor of Finance and Chief Investment Officer of the Desautels Capital Management.

We recently spoke to Mathew about his experience in the program, how it has helped progress his career, and what the award means to him.

Can you please tell us a little about yourself?

I was born and raised in Montreal. I completed my undergraduate degree in finance and math at Concordia and worked a few years in the insurance industry in Montreal before deciding to complete my graduate degree at McGill. I was attracted to McGill’s worldwide recognition and was really impressed with the school’s alumni. I enjoy video games, board games, and road biking.

At Desautels Capital Management, I took on a leadership position as Head of Quant and I was responsible of the technology sector of the Alpha Squared fund.

Where are you working now?

Since graduation, I can proudly say that I have strengthened my tie with the University by working at McGill’s Office of Investments as Investment Analyst. Through the role, I will be helping manage the Endowment Fund and Pension Investments to promote advancement in learning of future students. I was very fortunate to join the amazing team at McGill during these difficult times. I have learned a lot from my team and really see myself growing within the team.

What is the most rewarding part of working in this role?

The most rewarding aspect of working in the Investment Office at McGill is our overall objective to help our client (the McGill Endowment) grow their wealth through value added investments. I really enjoy the quantitative aspect of the work and learn a lot from my co-workers through their years of experience in the industry. I enjoy the fast pace of the work.

What drew you to a career in finance?

I was interested in pursuing a career in finance after completing a high school course in economics. I was intrigued by the fast-paced environment and wanted to learn more about it. When I started to study finance, I quickly developed an aptitude for the quantitative topics in finance. I love the analytical and quantitative side of the work and the high pace of the work environment. I enjoy being surrounded by professionals who are passionate at McGill. The different alumni in the industry were also very open and available to help when reaching out.

What was the highlight of your MMF program?

Through the one-year program, I have developed strong relationships with classmates and developed a strong network of alumni and faculty members. I learned a lot from the fast-paced program and its challenges helped forge the strong bonds with my peers. The highlight of my MMF program was winning the Deloitte Synergy Challenge. We conducted an in-depth analysis of a mergers and acquisitions (M&A) case in quantifying synergies and presented result to panel of Deloitte M&A professionals who unanimously chose our presentation and analysis over 13 other teams. I really enjoyed the teamwork involved in this challenge. I also enjoyed the networking opportunities that we had by taking a leadership position at DCM. We had the opportunity to present our work to DCM board members, investors and alumni at our annual investor presentation.

What does it mean to you to be the recipient of this year’s Peter Christoffersen Award?

The prestigious award means a lot to me as it cemented my year of hard work during MMF. I worked very hard to maintain good grades and by taking extra responsibility at DCM, and I was elated when I learned I would be receiving the award. It also helped strengthen my tie with my current role at McGill as the team has taken steps to promote the recognition on the Office of Investments’ website. I hope to be a helpful MMF alumnus by helping future MMF cohorts in navigating through the program’s curriculum and work recruitment.

This award was established in 2018 by the Desautels Faculty of Management in memory of Professor Peter Christoffersen, a renowned scholar of economics and finance who taught at McGill and the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto. The award supports outstanding students enrolled in the Master of Management in Finance program in the Desautels Faculty of Management. It is awarded on the basis of academic merit and demonstrated leadership skills. The value is $5,000.

More about our MMF

The McGill Master of Management in Finance (MMF) degree is a pre-experience, specialized program in finance that can be completed in 12 or 16 months.  

Photo caption: Mathew Kwan at the Desautels Capital Management 10-year anniversary reception in October 2019.
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