Alumni Corner

How This MSc Finance Student Landed His Dream Job

The CMC sat down with Tim Dinger to learn more about his educational and career journey. Read more to see what Tim attributes to his successes and how he overcame his struggles.

Tim Dinger, an MSc Finance student, moved from Germany to Canada last year to pursue his dreams of working and living abroad. After much hard work and dedication – and some bumps along the road – Tim secured a role at the Bank of Montreal (BMO) as an Investment Banker. We recently sat down with Tim to learn about his story, where he had a lot to share about how the CMC’s resources and staff supported him in his success.

Tim completed his undergraduate degree in Frankfurt, where he pursued a dual-study program that allowed him to work in the bank while completing his degree. He worked in various departments of the bank, thereupon gaining invaluable work experience right from the get-go of his degree. After looking for a change, Tim decided to pursue a semester abroad at the University of Victoria:

“That’s how I fell in love with this country and the west coast. I then worked in New York for a while, and after heading back home to finish my undergrad, I decided I would do my Masters of Science in Finance at SFU for the opportunity to move back to Canada.”

After moving to Vancouver, Tim had to rediscover himself and his potential, which is exactly what he did. He shared this as his key to long-term success:

“What I first experienced was impatience. We all try to over pace, do as much as we can and apply for any job out there. But what I learned from my journey is that it’s important to rely on your skills and learn about yourself and the opportunities out there. University should not only be about what you learn in class, but also should be about learning who you are and what you want to do.Some really good advice I can give is to make sure you have as many different experiences as possible and really make sure you learn what you want in life. Once you figure out who you are, it’s much easier to find the right fit in the long run. I think this is the formula for long-term success.”

When questioned about the challenges he faced, Tim acknowledges the pressures faced by students from home and school environments, and how he used his own failures as lessons to help him overcome his struggles:

“You see all other students get job offers and you also want to stand out. In that time it’s hard and you deal with disappointments, but part of the journey is making mistakes and learning from them. You learn to prevent them from reoccurring and to use them as lessons when overcoming your struggles.My ups were really when I stepped out of my comfort zone and learned about my capabilities. As much as it is about disappointments and failures, school is also about success. Having the opportunity to get to know myself and using that to become successful was one of the greatest parts about school.”

While many students discover their career choice later in their educational journey, Tim knew what he wanted to pursue before he even arrived in Canada. However like most students, he struggled to believe he was good enough at first:

“For me it was a bit different. I had this great experience in Germany and then I came to Canada and had to start from zero. I didn’t know anyone here, but I came here for the lifestyle and to live the dream rather than going for the ‘financial capital of the world’. It’s a small market, so at that point I was willing to settle for less than I wanted, meaning I wasn’t going for the big jobs because I was telling myself ‘you’re new here, you’re foreign, there’s no way you’re going to get an investment banking job.’After consulting with my advisors, taking part in lots of networking and being successful at school, I was like ‘why not try for the big job? Don’t talk yourself down just because you’re not Canadian.’ At that point, I was willing to do anything. I networked a lot and eventually secured the dream position at BMO. For me, landing a job at a top company in investment banking was considered to be the best opportunity for my chosen career path.”

While on his self-learning journey, Tim attributed the CMC to much of his success. He recognizes fully utilizing the resources provided, such as Mentors in Business, informational interviews, and his advisors:

“I had my back against the wall, not knowing anyone here or anything about the local market. The CMC staff were the ones who helped frame who I am today. They told me where to network and gave me the tools to be successful here in Vancouver. I made use of the CMC in any possible way and took the time to get to know them and them to know me.They helped me to learn more about being well prepared for job search. They contributed to my success in a lot of ways. You shouldn’t go to them expecting a job offer, but go to them expecting lots of help.”

All in all, Tim attributes networking as the biggest asset to his job hunting success.

“At the end of the day, it comes down to the networking. I had good grades and good experience, but getting in front of people is the hardest part. Many people underestimate the power of networking.Vancouver is a small market; everyone is connected and knows each other. I met people working for start-ups at the Venture Capital networking event, and one of the guys connected me to my BMO role. After the event, we stayed in touch and the second time I met him, he told me he used to work in investment banking and eventually put me in touch with BMO.You never know who is connected to who. Building relationships through networking is the biggest thing that helped me.”

Of course, like most people, networking didn’t always come easy for Tim. In fact, he stated:

“Even the most outgoing person will be nervous when networking. Even though I’m a bit more outgoing than most people, it was still a challenge for me to go out and meet people in my desired industry. Being surrounded by other students makes it even more challenging to stand out. From a student perspective, overcoming that challenge of talking to people will help you meet people and step out of your comfort zone.Another challenge is finding that balance between being annoying and not staying in touch enough. Pick up on personal things as well as wish them well on holidays so that you aren’t only contacting them for job opportunities.”

On a final note, Tim left us with a summary of tips for students who are currently job hunting:

“First of all, make use of the CMC to learn about who you are, about your desired industry, and to help you find your niche and passion. They exist to help you.Secondly, go out, network and meet people; show them your passion and who you are. Not only should you have them get to know you, but also get to know them.Finally, work on your social skills. At the end of the day you are selling yourself like you would sell a product; if you are passionate about the product you sell, then you’ll sell it much better – apply this to yourself.Show that passion, enjoy what you do, meet people, and tell them your story so that they can say, like they said to me, ‘you really are passionate about investment banking and you would be a great fit for our team.’”