On June 1, CIBC President & CEO Victor Dodig (BCom 1988) joined Dean Tiff Macklem for a live one-on-one conversation that touched on a wide range of issues impacting the financial services sector today – from Canada 150 and innovation to leadership and diversity. More than 110 Rotman students, alumni and faculty attended the event, including Krati Chhajer (MFin ‘09), Director, Corporate Banking, and a member of Rotman’s Financial Services Advisory Board (FSAB). We recently asked Krati to share her thoughts on the conversation between the two financial leaders and her Rotman experience.
What was your most important takeaway from the June 1 conversation with Victor and Tiff?
The most important takeaway was when Victor discussed his change in management style early on in his career, after his role as a consultant at McKinsey. His direct reports advised him that he should delegate more and let his team run with their responsibilities. The reason it impacted me, was that I have learned that every situation requires a different leadership style - it is up to the leader to focus and enhance the team's strength, rather than continuing to do things the leader is good at. One of the factors in becoming an effective leader is adapting to the new team, but also adapting to the team's strengths.
Victor and Tiff discussed the 150th birthdays of both Canada’s Confederation and CIBC. What do these milestones mean to you? How will you celebrate them?
Diversity and Inclusion - the country and the company work hard to incorporate these values into their citizens and their team members. To me, diversity is all about differing viewpoints, with the added feature of a wide variety of food choices! Inclusion is about accepting those viewpoints, which may not be agreeable to your taste buds. Capital Markets are intertwined, and history has shown that different parts of the world do impact home markets. If that’s the case, why should we put a fence around us?
CIBC is one of Rotman’s biggest recruiters, hiring over 250 graduates to date. What does it mean to have such a wide network of alumni within your organization? How has it helped your career development?
Rotman's connection and the University of Toronto’s connection are unique, and serve as an excellent ice breaker. The alumni at CIBC do have a bit of work ahead of us to remain connected!
As an MFin graduate, what was the single most important lesson you learned as a student? How has your Rotman education prepared you for the work you are doing today?
During MFin, I realized that finance needs time to understand and grasp. I learned not to rush to complete projects/chapters in the books, but rather understand the mechanics of the process. Rotman’s education has provided me with the confidence to say that no matter how difficult the topic, I will understand it.
Why do you think it is important for alumni to get involved?
It's important to let the students know that their attitude and a strong work ethic are the keys to success.
What is your favourite memory of Rotman?
I have two: the Atrium - I completed my undergraduate studies at Rotman (the original building) and I have very fond memories of meeting friends, going for classes and studying. From my graduate days – understanding the math theories behind the finance formulas. This is where I learned that overview (10,000 feet view) is one aspect, but understanding a topic in its breadth and depth is an entirely different spectrum.