It’s incredibly inspiring to follow the career growth of our Rotman alumni. Recently, we got a chance to follow up with Krati Chhajer, MFin, CFA. She is an alumna from the inaugural Rotman Master of Finance class of 2009 and is currently a Director in Corporate Banking at CIBC.
Thank you for taking the time to share your finance career story with us today! What made you first consider the Rotman Master of Finance program?
When I started to contemplate a graduate program, my options were endless. My credentials at the time were a Bachelor of Commerce degree with specialization in Finance and the CFA designation, with four years of work experience in capital markets. I wasn’t looking for a career change but wanted to enhance my knowledge from the basic and intermediate foundation that were set. First year MBA classes would have been repetitive with only second year offering the specialization that I was looking for. I wanted to focus my immediate learning on quantitative skills with a deep dive on corporate structure and derivatives. The Rotman Master of Finance program offered these topics from day 1. Also, Rotman’s downtown location and vicinity to my workplace in the financial district was definitely attractive.
Has the Rotman MFin impacted your career in finance?
Definitely! I’d say that the critical thinking skills I learned had the biggest impact. The Master of Finance gave me the analytical skills to assess and understand how markets work, and to comprehend the theories and assumptions behind pricing and tail risk. The combination of critical thinking skills and learned knowledge affected how deep I could dig into my work.
All this being said, you have to evaluate for yourself what your finance background is and what the MFin program offers. At the end of the day, your MFin credentials will be compared to that of other masters’ programs. What will help is the incredibly deep finance knowledge you have gained from the program.
Tell us a bit about your professional journey.
Getting into the rotational program at Scotiabank with my MFin was a huge step, as I had rotations in corporate lending, market risk and economic capital – giving me the opportunity to see many aspects of the business. After completing the rotations, I took on a Senior Manager position in Global Risk Management with Scotiabank, where I adjudicated on trading lines to hedge fund counterparties. From there, I moved to Corporate Banking as a Director at CIBC, with a focus on non-bank financial institutions. I know the industry well, and have developed the technical skills with experience and with education – which helped me move effortlessly between these roles.
Krati, we know you’re a mom as well – any advice on balancing your career and home life?
I have two great kids who are three and five. I can’t say that I have all the answers on maintaining a good work/life balance all the time. You definitely have to stay on top of things. I have never held myself back because I am a mom but have acknowledged that having children does delay your career progression to some degree in the first few years. You do catch up, just don’t expect too much in the first five years with kids.
What I found really encouraging was listening to and meeting up one-on-one with other successful women with children. Hearing them talk about their experiences also helped to put the career and home balance into perspective.
If you’re interested to learn more about the Rotman Master of Finance program, visit our website at www.rotman.utoronto.ca/MFin or contact us. Our next MFin application deadline is in April and we look forward to reviewing your application.
Tip: the earlier you apply, the greater your chance of an entrance award.