SILHOUETTE: Career hook-ups

There is a demand for McGill grads from companies in financial market hotspots overseas, and the McGill Financial Ambassadors have answered the call. Clovis Couasnon, U3 finance and mathematics, and Amine Larhrib, U3 finance and accounting, co-founded the club as a way for students to make contacts and ensure future job opportunities. Students are recognizing the importance of such a forum-the club is new this year and already boasts 65 paying members. Non-management students take note: the club membership is open to students in all faculties.

After traveling internationally, both founders discovered an abundance of overseas postings and alumni eager to open doors for students. Unfortunately, while overseas postings may seem alluring, the challenges of working in a foreign country can be overwhelming, resulting in a high turn-over rate in international job posts. However, the MFA believes if students prepare themselves adequately, they’ll have a much better chance at success.

“McGill students should take full advantage of the network of their alumni,” explains Larhib.

The MFA aims to increase student knowledge of topics related to financial markets and the workplace. Through a variety of events, members have the opportunity to meet with working professionals. They are also the first student club to offer week-long international company tours. With 13 students traveling to Hong Kong this January and another group heading for Dubai in March, the value of these tours is about to be proven.

“We want to allow students to opt for an international career without any economic barriers by building a base abroad and by encouraging teamwork to fundraise for trips,” says Couasnon. “Travelling itself is an advantage for students, and a great thing for anyone. Professionally, careers go faster when you enter into emerging markets. It’s not as limited as it would be if you were in a mature market, like New York. As long as you take advantage of it, you can evolve rapidly.”

The MFA is also committed to environmental initiatives. This November, they’re holding “Green Finance Day” to discuss carbon trading and socially responsible investments, while trying to show that people in the finance sector aren’t all sharks after the bottom line.

Despite overseas support and financial savvy, operating costs at home have been almost too much for them to handle. For example, their on-campus events cost nearly as much as it would to rent a hotel.

Not surprisingly, these high costs hinder the club’s ability to run career development services for McGill students on campus. However, it is not an entirely lost cause among McGill’s higher order­. Management Dean Peter Todd and the Management Undergraduate Society are giving a guarantee of full support to the MFA. “We have to do the work and prove we’re relevant, and then we’ll get financial help,” says Couasnon. Both recognize the value of the Association, both in expanding student horizons and in augmenting McGill’s global identity in the professional world.

“The value of our degree never drops,” asserts Larhib. Especially not with the MFA presenting students with a large scope of possibilities to pursue a post-undergrad degree.

For more information, visit their website at www.financeambassadors.ca

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