Brittany Miranda, MFin '21
- Job title: Associate, Financial Institutions at Manulife
- Previous education: Bachelor of Commerce, McGill University
- Other designations: CFA
What is your current job and what role does it play within the finance industry?
I currently work on the buy-side on the bond desk in institutional investment management at a large life insurance company. Specifically, I cover fixed income securities in the real estate, pension, and structured finance sectors.
This role relates to the need for asset-liability management as it pertains to the life insurer’s balance sheet. Our role as institutional investors is to seek out investment opportunities, assess the creditworthiness of issuers to determine relative value and spread, and purchase securities that have fixed cash flow streams. These cash flow streams are matched against the liabilities of the life insurance company to both earn a spread and provide cash flows as insurance policies pay out over time.
It might sound more complicated than it is, and it certainly can be challenging at times. However, working on the buy-side allows me the opportunity to build relationships with issuers, understand their funding needs, and utilize my analytical skills to make investment decisions on a regular basis. No day is ever the same and there is always something to learn!
Why did you decide to study the MFin program?
I’ve always loved learning and studying in a structured environment. When I graduated from my bachelor’s program in 2015, I knew that I wanted to continue studying but felt that it would be a good idea to get a few years of professional experience under my belt before I pursued a Masters degree.
In 2018, I began thinking more seriously about what Masters degree I’d like to pursue. Initially, I was considering an MBA but after some research, felt that there might be too much overlap between course content in that program and some of my business courses in undergrad.
"I found out about the MFin program through the large billboard ads in the underground PATH. After reading about the program, I thought it was perfect for me. It was specialized, was comprised of working professionals, and structured in such a way that I could continue to work. The decision to apply was an easy one!"
What is your top reason for choosing Rotman?
After doing some research on the various MFin programs offered in the Toronto area, I decided on Rotman because of the university’s stellar reputation and quality of education. I felt that this program would challenge me and build extensively on what I had learned in undergrad and the CFA. I feel proud to include Rotman in the education section on both LinkedIn and my CV.
Any goals coming into the program that have already accomplished? Have you been able to hone in on new skills and apply them to your workplace?
I was fortunate to start in my current job as well as begin the MFin program around the same time. There are three aspects of the program that have been immensely helpful to me at work: the overall course content, improved time management skills, and a greater degree of teamwork/leadership skills.
What has been a highlight of your Rotman experience?
The final semester of the MFin program comprises a group capstone project that culminates in a presentation after a few months of work. This endeavour was by far my favourite part of the program. It provided an opportunity to work closely with peers on a project/topic that we were all passionate about.
We were also able to call upon our knowledge bases from the course content we studied over the prior year and a half. It was a challenging and rewarding experience, and it’s difficult to put into words the sense of accomplishment and gratitude you feel once you’ve submitted the project.
Has the Rotman and the MFin program met your expectations?
Both Rotman and the MFin program have absolutely exceeded my expectations. The structure of the program along with the support provided by program staff and professors is second to none.
What has been your experience studying this year online?
At the onset of the pandemic, I will say it was a little bit disappointing to switch to online learning. I had grown quite fond of attending class, socializing with my peers, and eating meals together. It felt great to be a part of this community.
After the initial adjustment period, online learning became a little bit easier. The professors did a great job of incorporating opportunities to participate and communicated readings, slides, and course requirements effectively. I will say the transition to online made scheduling team meetings and projects a little bit easier and allowed for a little bit more time to work on things.
"It wasn’t exactly the experience that I had envisioned when I applied for the program, but given the circumstances, Rotman, the MFin program staff and the professors did a fantastic job of keeping up the rigor of the program through the pandemic."
Right now, I’m very focused on my career and on becoming the most effective investment professional I can be. I’m happy with my current role, but I imagine that the knowledge, skills, and connections that Rotman has provided me with will be vital as I progress with my career. The alumni network is quite active and I feel privileged to be a part of a cohort that will hopefully stay in touch as time goes on.
What would you say to someone considering choosing the MFin?
You’ll learn a lot about what it takes to succeed as a finance professional. You’ll spend a lot of time studying all kinds of investments, but you’ll find out the most important investment is the one you make in yourself.
This post was written while Brittany was a student in the program.
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