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Daniel Ding

Valedictorian, Master of Finance '23
“We are at a crossroads in our careers and lives.”

How does it feel to be valedictorian?

Humbled, grateful, and truly proud to represent an amazing class.         

Why do you think your classmates chose you for this honour?

Perhaps, they see something in me that reflects their hard-earned achievements: moving from home country to Canada for better opportunities; overcoming cultural barrier and challenges sometimes from unthinkable direction; trying to stay positive while juggling competing priorities including family and work over the past 20 months.

Perhaps, according to normal distribution from Professor Chay: my story is everyone’s story. I do really appreciate my classmates’ confidence and trust in me for this honour. I am very fortunate to get to know everyone. 

How has the program changed you?

I gained a new perspective on the time value of life through this program. I started my studies at the peak of the pandemic, with a hope to understand the world better, a world that we used to take for granted.

Battling through the classical training via theoretical projects and case studies, the class openly argued about the ramification of the unprecedented rate hikes, questioned the “rise and fall” of crypto-currencies, and debated the risk management practices of U.S. regional banks.

As for the time value of life, life is short, and difficulty is what wakes up the genius. This is a shared view among my talented classmates. I learnt to squeeze more productive time out of my schedule during the day, and to treasure more of the brief downtime with my class, friends, and family. Those term-end gatherings were absolutely memorable highlights. 

Describe a highlight of the program.

If I could answer this question with more levity, I would say: the food – freshly prepared by the school cafeteria between Wednesday evening classes and Saturdays lunchtime. We have many personalities in this cohort, and I truly believe that the same food we experienced is what made us work out differences and strengthen our bond together.

MFin program is highly adaptive, especially when it miraculously managed to maintain quality education via remote and hybrid environments during an extraordinary time.

There are decorated professors who we fortunately have made us bond beyond this specific cohort and with all other MFin alumni. Our favorite topics include but are not limited to: the Accounting Art of War, Time/Risk/Tax Value of Money, Put Writing Strategy, NPV vs. APV, Dynamic Weights and CDS pricing.

What makes my classmates / graduating year special?

MFin ‘23 might be the last cohort to deal with projects and exams without the little help of glorious Generative AI. Even this Q&A could be heavily sponsored by BingAI and ChatGPT.

I prefer to hold on to the tradition a little longer. We are at a crossroads in our careers and lives. The decisions we make will eventually align with or change the direction of this world.

This class was full of talented professionals from a variety of backgrounds and skillsets. I have confidence that my classmates will make the right choices because they are versatile and cultured. I would like to thank Professor Chay for helping to curate this amazing cohort.

I also hope that this program and this shared journey over the past 2 years will help bring my classmates closer to their dreams.

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