A Snapshot of Our Students

Our students have been hired by large and medium-sized banks, large pension funds, the Bank of Canada, the Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation and Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation. Here are some of their stories.

Class of 2017

Moustafa El-Gabaly

After two years of experience in wealth management, I decided to enrol in the RPRD program to transition into risk management and it was one of the best career decisions I made. RPRD students receive a comprehensive overview of risk management and regulation that prepares them well for the job market. We covered a wide range of topics on credit, market, and liquidity risk. Some of the key topics covered were risks inherent to the banking sector as well as the regulatory reforms brought about by the FSB after the financial crisis to enhance financial stability.

What I found particularly appealing about the RPRD program was its unique structure and emphasis on developing professional skills. Students give several presentations on topics they are interested in, which strengthens their presentation skills and gives them the opportunity to master a specific area in risk. There is also a weekly seminar class in which students can interact with distinguished scholars and senior industry professionals. During the seminar students gain invaluable insights on current industry trends and are given the opportunity to network with industry professionals. I found this to be a key feature that distinguishes the RPRD from other programs.

After completing the RPRD program, I joined the Investment Risk team at CPP Investment Board. The RPRD program has prepared me well for it and provided me with the knowledge needed to answer interview questions with confidence. It should certainly be considered by any high-achiever looking for excellent preparation for a career in risk management or financial sector regulatory policy.

Zihan Wang

The RPRD program opened my mind to different possibilities and expanded my career options. The program is deliberately structured to provide a contrast between the regulatory side and the industry side. We are exposed to key figures from both sides, and their perspectives led to insights that cannot be gained from books.

The lecture materials came from the newest developments in financial economics, and we went through them at a blazing speed. We quickly learned that paradigms and conventions were often based on shaky assumptions.  Therefore, we abandoned our pre-existing biases and gained new understanding. We developed a penchant for open-mindedness, which was extremely beneficial when I started working. At times, we felt we could not learn fast enough, and then the speaker would come to fill in the ‘missing link’ with their practical experience. Because the speakers tailored their talks to our individual questions, each of us gained something different. Some people like market risk better, others like operational risk; some wants to work for securities firms, and others want to work for banks.

Without any prior experience, this program allowed me to demonstrate my knowledge and my desire to work for a Canadian bank’s risk management unit. Because I could see the big picture and how my role contributes to the risk governance, I learned quickly and worked with passion.

Despite the meticulous course preparation from Professors Milne and Longworth, I wouldn’t have gained nearly as much without my fellow students. RPRD brings hardworking and like-minded students together. They each bring with them a unique background and experience. This friendship will persist and continues to be my most significant asset going forward.

Class of 2016

Annetta Ho

Before entering the RPRD program, I had worked for a few years in risk management and financial sector policy. While returning to full-time study was a challenging adjustment, the knowledge that I gained from the program was an excellent complement to my work experience. I hope that more individuals working in financial sector policy or supervision consider the RPRD program.

The curriculum provides broad and in-depth exposure to financial sector issues. It starts with first principles – understanding the role of banks and different types of market failures – before tackling financial regulations and how they have evolved in response to the crisis. I now have a better understanding of why financial crises occur and how the patchwork of regulations fit together.

Financial crises can have serious, adverse impacts on our economies and individual welfare. For those who are interested in helping to reduce their frequency and severity, this program should be of interest. I hope that the RPRD program will continue to provide public sector professionals with the necessary tools to build a more resilient financial system.

Class 2015

Winston Fortowsky

“My interview process went very smoothly because of my knowledge from the RPRD program. Almost every technical question asked was covered in detail at some point during the program. Thus, I felt extremely well prepared.   I had the luxury of being called for interviews at multiple large banks and hedge funds. That allowed me the opportunity to accept a position with a company that most closely matched my goals. As well, I was able to choose a workplace culture that promoted values I respect and admire. In other words, the wide choice provided me strong options so that I could decide my best career direction.Winston pic

I accepted my position at a bank as they were looking for someone beyond a quant. They wanted someone who knew risk management, economics, math, programming techniques, and had business acumen. This is exactly what the risk program provided me.   After hearing about the risk program the company decided that they would find a position that best fit my skills and potential. This is why I accepted my current position. It felt like a job offer that was tailored to me rather than a generic position.

In conclusion the RPRD program gave me everything that I needed to successfully begin my career. I do not hesitate to highly recommend it to others.”

Yang Xu

The RPRD program gives the students a comprehensive overview of various risk management tools, as well as the caveats behind the various techniques. When I showed one risk-management interviewer the course topics, she was surprised by the breadth of material in this program. She mentioned that sometimes their associates are good at credit risk while weaker at market risk or vice versa. It is not easy to find students who have a complete skill set. The program teaches you the various topics and also teaches the critical thinking skill required to tackle the problems. It taught me how to critically examine many of the prediction issues by asking if there is model risk caused by unrealistic assumptions. Yang pic

Not only are you exposed to comprehensive topics, but also the format of the program is excellent. With RPRD 804, the speakers’ presentations and anecdotes complement the lecture material. They provide you with insights that usually only come with years of working experience. I received an in-depth view of the Canadian housing market through a discussion with one of the speakers. I was better informed of the weaknesses and blind spots in the empirical literature—the hidden problems that can cause damages.

Personally, I was rather hesitant to take the RPRD program. The program seemed very unique, and I did not know much about the role of risk managers. However, I did want to learn more about finance because of the various direct and indirect impacts on the real sectors. Eventually, the passion and the credentials of the professors convinced me that the RPRD would be an excellent program.

I am quite thrilled that the knowledge from the program helped me to secure a public sector job in the field of financial stability. RPRD is a program for someone who embraces challenges and wants to be the best. The demand for risk managers is strong, the market supply is small, and the quality of the RPRD graduates is excellent!

Darryl Davies

The RPRD program was a great complement to an MA in economics. The focus of the program is on real issues that banks and other risk based operations need to focus on when conducting their business. In other words, there is practical knowledge to be gained from this program that I was missing at the conclusion of my MA.Darryl Davies pic

We covered all of the major areas of risk management in the three months, including regulatory and compliance issues. There is an emphasis on students presenting material to the professors and their peers, as well as a seminar class with invaluable insights from senior industry professionals. The emphasis is different from that of an MA, due to the specialized nature of the program. We spent more time on concepts and real issues, with less focus on mechanical calculations.

The RPRD program certainly helped prepare me for interviews. I was hired into a risk management rotational program at a major Canadian financial institution who saw the value in the program. I think the biggest advantage of the program is its unique focus on risk, as opposed to general financial economics, which will help candidates gain a competitive advantage in looking for jobs.

Nicholas Garmulewicz

Nicholas Garmulewicz completed the RPRD program in the fall of 2015 after completing an M.A. in economics at Queen’s University. During his graduate degree he wrote on the effects of German algorithmic market makers on the quality of the limit order book. Prior to his graduate work at Queen’s, Nicholas worked as a summer intern as a charity analyst and as a research assistant for offshore oil and gas engineering companies.Nick pic

I chose to enroll in the RPRD program due to its unique structure and approach to teaching financial risk management. I’ve always been attracted to financial markets and the RPRD program offered a novel way to analyze them from a risk perspective. Every week of the program I was challenged in the way I viewed risk from the perspective of a market participant but also from the perspective of a market regulator.

Due to the structure of the program I not only learned about the fundamentals of risk management and regulation but also got to actively participate in seminars given by world-class scholars and professionals. The program left me with a rich and fundamental understanding of risk management and regulation that I now draw upon daily.”

After completing the RPRD program Nicholas accepted a job at RBC in their Group Risk Management Leadership Development Program. Currently, he works in GRM Credit where he analyses, rates, and executes credit transactions for RBC’s Diversified Industrials corporate banking teams in the US, Canada and Europe.

Victoria Graham

There are a number of reasons why I would recommend the RPRD program to potential candidates and I think that anyone planning on a career in financial markets, whether in risk management or not, would find the program beneficial.VictoriaGraham0087

Firstly, I found the content covered in Frank and Dave’s courses to be very valuable. Starting a job in risk management at OMERS Capital Markets there was a lot to learn but the preparation I had from the RPRD program made the process significantly easier. I can say that almost every topic, if not all, have appeared in my work and I am very grateful to have had the concepts previously introduced to me by two such insightful instructors.

The RPRD program is unique, both in the scope of its course material but also in the extent of knowledge and experience the students are exposed to by way of the professors and guest lecturers. It is a rare opportunity as a student to learn from so many well-respected specialists at one time and an experience that should be held in high regard.

For those deciding on their next step, this program is an excellent learning opportunity and an advantageous way in which to enter the job market.

Class 2014

Philippe Grégoire, Risk Management Associate at TD Bank

The RPRD allowed me to gain a complete and deep understanding of the important concepts and theories in banking, risk management and regulation. I consider it an important factor of why I was hired by TD Bank before the end of the program, as it allowed me to be comfortable answering risk management questions during interviews. The benefits are not only limitPhilippe Gregoire new photoed to the hiring process; I also believe that the RPRD helped to ease the start of each of the roles that I’ve been through at TD. Mastering the risk management theories and concepts allowed me to settle faster into different risk management roles and made learning easier and faster. Overall, in today’s competitive job market, it definitely gave me an edge and I highly recommend it