Spotting the ‘bad apples’
At age 15, I saw my father go through a traumatic experience. His biggest stock investment fell 70% after the company’s founder admitted that he had committed fraud. By age 19, I experienced a similar fate when two of my investments, fell to near-zero levels on similar grounds.
These two events, besides causing material financial loss, had a great impact on shaping my professional career. I realized the importance of investing based on good corporate governance. While to some people, it’s considered either a hassle or a ‘nice to have’, I consider it a powerful investment tool. Thus, when the opportunity arrived, I consciously decided to steer my career in the domain of corporate governance investing. The skillsets I assimilated are so niche that thus far, no computer or algo-trading techniques have been able to master effectively.
Today, after 5 years of hard work, I have developed my unique core competency in forensic accounting and company governance, spearheading Sustainable Investing at one of the largest investment houses. Recently I was appreciated by the Managing Director of Research for unearthing deceitful accounting practices in a UK listed company and such work helped the firm avoid a potential investment loss of more than CAD$ 170MN.
I believe Sustainable Investing will unfold over the coming decades as the biggest revolution in investing and thus my application to Rotman complements my desire to work in the asset management industry in Canada, a global leader in sustainable investing. Further, the school’s location offers the best professional opportunities to enter this space and interact with professionals across this new industry.
I want to broaden my skillsets in the field of sustainable investing and upskilling myself further to someone who can truly identify ‘clean’ investments that can deliver superior returns to investors. Through a a Rotman MBA, I aim to leverage on electives such as Value Investing and Security Analysis and Portfolio Management to achieve my career goal.
‘The best way to learn something is to teach it’
The ‘high-school me’ would often innocently wonder why my classmates did not understand a concept taught in class. I realized that some foundational concepts require more attention than that is generally given by teachers – without which the comprehension of advanced concepts that follow may become a nightmare. I made it my mission to help anyone I can, especially with Mathematics and Accountancy, during lunch recess or even after school. Aged 17, I implemented my unique ways of helping out my classmates in school, making use of practical examples, props and group activities to make learning more creative and fun. To this day I feel blessed that several of my schoolmates remember my interactive learning sessions.
My curiosity to teach in a non-traditional fashion manifested into reality in subsequent years. A decade has passed since I first started (unofficially) teaching and today, pro bono teaching by choice is a way of life for me. I have progressed to taking guest lectures on corporate governance and financial analysis at India’s finest schools.
Such experiences have had a profound impact on my personality by improving my public speaking and presentation skills, along with the need to constantly expand my knowledge base to keep up with current trends. On a personal level, the opportunity to influence and create a positive impact on young students acts as the biggest driving factor in this pursuit.
I aim to have similar learning discussions with my peers at Rotman. I would like to impart whatever domain knowledge I have in the field of forensic accounting and corporate governance, and am truly excited to be able to learn from my classmates who will surely be subject matter experts in their own domains.
“Mentoring is a brain to pick, an ear to listen, and a push in the right direction.”
I owe all my professional excellence to the mentors who guided me when I faced my biggest challenges and dilemmas. I was fortunate to have the ability to talk to people who I knew will always maintain objectivity and care before advising me. Notably one mentor pushed me to take the bold step of focusing on pursuing two of the toughest professional certifications – CA and CFA – concurrently along with full-time work. His carefully thought-out advice significantly shaped my professional career.
Witnessed first-hand how critical it is to have a strong and supportive mentor, I decided early on to find time to assist younger finance enthusiasts. I enjoy supporting them with advice on which courses in finance they should pursue to improve their employability, or the best strategies to clear competitive exams such as CA and CFA. The satisfaction I get after hearing mentees get their dreams jobs or acing their exams is truly therapeutic!
While I can see the value I bring to others, mentorship has also greatly shaped my personality. It has given me the chance to hone my leadership ability and coaching style, especially to enforce accountability along with offering encouragement at crucial times to the mentees. Hearing out others has strengthened my listening skills and improved the art of delivering feedback. Further, listening to people with diverse backgrounds and different perspectives necessitates a dynamic approach towards mentorship and as a result improves one’s Emotional Quotient.
While I don’t plan on mentoring any of my classmates in Rotman (unless they ask), I plan on learning from and supporting my classmates in discussions, competitions, job search and even in organizing social activities. I cannot wait to learn of the different spike factors I will discover in such a diverse and buzzing community at the Rotman School of Management’s MBA program.