For our first CFM of the Month, we talked to Kamaljot Dhaliwal (BCFM ‘ 17), about his experiences in the program. If you are a graduate or upper year CFM student who would like to get involved as a future ‘CFM of the Month’, please contact Amy.
1. Could you tell me a little bit about what you are doing at your co-op now, and how you got there?
Kamaljot is currently completing a co-op term as a Data Engineer at Raven Telemetry Inc, a start up that leverages data analysis to create software solutions for manufacturers. Find out more about the company here. In a company which had only 8 employees when he joined (and is up to 14 now), Kam finds that he enjoys the smaller scale of operations. “In this kind of environment,” he says, “you can really experience the nitty gritty of the business. I find that it is a very transparent and open environment, with a lot of opportunity to experience all sides of the business.” As to what Kam’s responsibilities are, he has a hand in many of the technical aspects of the company, and he does “whatever needs to be done.” This includes many high level challenges such as helping improve the scalable data processing system, finding solutions to unique processing challenges, doing research to keep up in the industry.
2. What made did you choose your current co-op placement? Where do you see yourself heading in the future?
With past co-op experiences at Bloomberg, Millennium Advisors, and TD, Kam has had to opportunity to work in many successful and well-established firms. He chose to do his latest at Raven Telemetry because he wanted a change from the usual. He firmly believes that the co-op experience should be spent trying as many different things as possible. In a smaller company, “you are able to see the messy guts of the operation,” he explains. While at larger companies, your role is more defined. For example, when he was at Bloomberg, he found that as a developer, he didn’t have as much contact with financial side of the company. In his few months at Raven, he has already been involved in many different facets of the operation, and seen real growth.
When considering his next steps after graduation, Kam would like to find a role at a smaller finance oriented company. He would like to have an active role in shaping the direction of the business.
3. Tell me about some important skills that helped you be successful at your jobs?
Kam believes that being a student in Waterloo gives him an enormous advantage in the technical skills that are taught. The courses in CS and finance have really prepared him for work in industry. When it comes to soft skills however, Kam has found that they were developed through the course of his co-ops, in which he set different goals and strived towards them. To him, soft skills are not just about confidence or speaking skills, but also being a reliable member of a team.
4. What is one elective that you have taken that you really enjoyed?
Kam has enjoyed all of the courses that he has taken as a CFM student. In particular, he names CS 350 (Operating Systems), STAT 373 (Regression and Forecasting Methods in Finance, and AFM 425 (Fixed Income Securities) as some of the most interesting. He is also looking forward to taking ECON 423 (Time Series Economics), and CS 476 (Numeric Computation for Financial Modeling) in his next term at Waterloo.
5. What advice do you have to first year CFMs who aren’t sure about which path they want to choose in terms of their career?
Kam believes that the most important thing that first years need is a positive, open minded attitude. To find what they want to do, they should give different clubs a try, and participate in as many social situations as they can. Especially when it comes to co-op, he suggests that students use the opportunity as a sandbox, to try different careers paths before they graduate.
6. What do you like to do in your spare time, outside of school and work?
When Kam is not busy with school and work, he likes to try different things every term. For his final school term this winter, he plans on learning the guitar.