GEM girls visited a leading global investment office, Burgundy Asset Management, on Friday, May 1st, 2015. Burgundy Asset Management is located on the 45th floor of the Bay Wellington Tower. The GEMgirls were in awe as they looked out the tall, glass windows to see downtown from high above. Roz McLean, an Associate at Burgundy and recent graduate from the University of Western Ontario, gave an informative presentation about how she found her way from university student to financial services Associate at Burgundy. She stressed that networking and gaining experience is very important during your time at university. One thing that stuck out to all of us was how she emphasized that your friendships can help you more than distract you by enabling you to enhance communication and problem solving skills.
At the midway point of the presentation, the GEMgirls were asked to break into a groups of three to analyze a company like a real investment analyst. Each group was given a company: Apple, Nike, and Starbucks. We used the questions given to each group to determine if Apple is a company we would invest in and why. We answered questions like, “What is the cost to make their product?” and “What has the company done for the community?” This exercise gave us all insight into what makes a business profitable and popular.
At the end of the presentation, GEMgirls had a chance to ask a few questions.
Our major takeaways were:
- Make connections! – never underestimate the importance of networking and friendships. This is a great way to find opportunities.
- It’s YOU not the school! – GEMgirls wondered if employers were influenced to hire you based on the university you received your degree from. Roz answered, “No. You make the influence. What you bring to the table is all that matters.”
- Key factors for success – Roz said, “ask a lot of questions, set goals, and follow your own path”.
- Relevant experience matters – Some GEMgirls were surprised to know that you do not need a degree in business studies to work in the world of finance. Get relevant experience in the field, and a social sciences degree works just as well!
The GEM girls enjoyed the experience at Burgundy and were glad to get a peek at what the world of finance looks like!
Selina McCallum is a GEMgirl in the 2014/15 cohort, student at Marc Garneau C.I. and a Digital Journalism Intern for GEM.