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From the classroom to Bay Street: investment management at Rotman Commerce

Graduating RC students Amanda Ljustina, Cheryl Zhang and Ivan Thang share their experiences as Portfolio Managers at Rotman Commerce.


Amanda Ljustina, Cheryl Zhang and Ivan Thang, BCom'21

The Rotman Commerce Portfolio Management Group (RC PMG) aims to provide its members with an exposure to the financial industry. From networking events and workshops to competitions and a mentorship program, the group offers a tight-knit community where students explore the world of investment management.

“RC PMG provided me with the opportunity to gain practical investment analysis skills. I developed as a learner, mentor and future finance professional alongside brilliant peers and under the guidance of faculty and alumni mentors,” said Ljustina. Her role as Portfolio Manager in her fourth year allowed her to continue the group’s legacy of mentoring younger students, and to provide both resources and a supportive environment to help them forge their professional path.

For Thang, RC PMG was a community where he could learn from experienced industry professionals, collaborate with his peers, and form lasting friendships. “After experiencing many setbacks in my first year, getting into RC PMG marked my very first success,” said Thang.

Zhang attests to the invaluable mentorship opportunities offered by RC PMG. The group not only helped her build strong foundational knowledge; it also allowed her to explore what it’s like to work as an equity analyst. “I was able to better understand my interests, strengths and weaknesses, which played an important role in my recruitment,” said Zhang.

She adds that her experiences at RC PMG also helped shape her idea of success. “Success is not always accompanied with applause and perfection,” said Zhang. “Despite the months of hard work we devoted to our investment analyses, our academic advisors and alumni mentors were always quick to point out where we can improve. While these moments could be intimidating and discouraging, they led to some of my most important learning opportunities at PMG.”

Similarly, Ljustina emphasizes the importance of doing meaningful work and following your passions on the road to success. “For me, success is reaching achievements in my pursuit of self-actualization, alongside my loved ones and community, and using my work to benefit others,” said Ljustina.

Success is a repetitive process according to Thang, one where higher goals are set after the first ones are achieved through determination, hard work and patience. He relates his idea of success to his experiences at Rotman Commerce: “joining PMG, landing the first internship, securing a new-grad contract, or working towards becoming a portfolio manager are all parts of this process.”

When asked about their most defining learning experiences from the past four years, Zhang, Ljustina and Thang highlight the importance of teamwork and learning from their peers. “Collaboration and support are always needed in school, work and within our communities,” affirmed Zhang. “I am grateful for the amazing peers and faculty at RC who helped me learn and grow so much in the past four years. I hope that I was able to leave a positive impact on others as well.”

Ljustina further notes the importance of learning from others’ insights and perspectives. She adds that there is no single “right” path to pursue your careers and goals – everyone’s experiences are valuable and unique. “You can achieve your goals as long as you have the ambition and perseverance to earnestly put yourself out there, adapting to what works and what doesn’t. Be open to new experiences!”

Thang highlights the importance of going the extra mile to achieve your goals. His key factors for success are getting involved, asking questions, striving to go beyond expectations, and surrounding himself with people he can learn from.

Come September, Ljustina will be joining the Bank of Montreal as a Global Markets Analyst, and Zhang will take her talents to TD Securities as an Equity Research Associate, and Thang will join the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan as a private investment valuation specialist.

Note: this article is a part of our series featuring graduating students leading up to Convocation.

May 19, 2021

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