Before Samantha Chan had entered the final year of her undergraduate career, she had already secured a full-time job with RBC Capital Markets. And yet, she is quiet and humble about her enviable position.
In fact, when asked about her experience at SFU, Samantha isn’t the type of student who is ready to list off every single one of her accomplishments (even though she has no shortage of accolades). Instead, as she retraces her university career year by year, it becomes clear that for Samantha, joining student clubs and competing in case competitions was more about building experience than about building her resume.
While completing her International Baccalaureate in high school, Samantha considered pursuing a science degree but discovered an interest in business. In her first year at SFU, Samantha took some courses in accounting and finance but also took the opportunity to explore marketing through extracurricular activities. She joined the Student Marketing Association and helped organize the AIESEC Western Regional Conference as Vice President of Marketing and Communications.
Samantha landed her first co-op position with Fidelity Investments. “I was really fortunate to get that position – I was on the Advisor Sales team so it was the perfect way for me to pivot my experience from marketing to finance.”
From that point, Samantha’s academic and co-curricular interests naturally veered towards finance, eventually leading her to a position with the prestigious Beedie Endowment Asset Management (BEAM) team. BEAM is one of Canada’s largest student-run investment funds, valued at over $6 million dollars. As one of the few students who are invited to join BEAM each year, Samantha received Bloomberg certification in Equities and Fixed Income and gained valuable hands-on experience in managing real funds. She has also passed Level 1 of the CFA Designation.
Samantha also explored other opportunities through Beedie including spending six months studying in Copenhagen. She is honest about her experience abroad - admitting that she occasionally felt homesick – but is grateful to have travelled and to have met life-long friends.
During her last two years at SFU, Samantha began competing in case competitions including JDC West and CFA Research Challenge. When asked about her favourite memories of SFU, Samantha points to her experience of competing with two other team members in the APEX Global Case Challenge in Singapore. “Case competitions really bring together everything that you’ve learned – it requires academic knowledge, strategy, and presentation skills. I had an excellent team. We really balanced each other out.” Out of 16 teams in the competition, Samantha and her teammates placed first.
As Samantha prepares to move across the country to tackle her first job after graduation, she encourages younger students to try out different co-curricular activities. “That’s where you’ll meet lots of people and you’ll find that you motivate each other.”
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