The Chemical Institute of Canada Toronto Section recently hosted the first virtual iteration of its Career Exploration Series – talks by chemical sciences graduates who have shifted to successful careers in a variety of fields. Julie Loungxay, in the virtual audience, reports on what she learned. Loungxay has an MSc in Molecular Science from Ryerson University and is exploring a career in science communication.
Temitayo Urubusi was initially fully intent on working in engineering. After finishing her degree in chemical engineering at Nigeria’s Obafemi Awolowo University, she took an internship as an engineering assistant at Ontario’s Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks.
However, she soon discovered she wanted more interaction with people and began studying finance for personal interest and enjoyment. She took courses and wrote her exams with the Canadian Securities Institute and decided to specialize in financial planning with her Personal Financial Planner (PFP) designation.
Her chemical engineering background served her well when it came to mastering the math, making the transition easier. Her financial studies paid off, and today Urubusi is a senior financial advisor with CIBC.
As a senior financial planner, Urubusi builds strong relationships with her clients and helps them achieve their finance goals. She takes time to get to know what those goals are and how they change throughout her clients’ lives. Depending on their stage of life, it might be buying a house, reducing taxes, or saving for retirement.
Urubusi’s daily schedule is filled with keeping up with the news, having discovery meetings with clients, analyzing information, making client financial plans, and conducting online and offline meetings. Discovery meetings are about understanding her clients’ current situations and identifying their financial goal so she can analyze and optimize this information for a financial plan.
She then meets with the client to discuss the plan and how to distribute their income accordingly. Finally, she checks back with the client a few times a year to see whether they’ve experienced any changes – such as changing jobs – and ensures the financial plan remains relevant. This also includes being up to date with the news, as it can lead to changes in client plans.
Urubusi says she’s found that many skills used by engineers and scientists are transferable to financial advising. The most essential ones are problem-solving, communication, and management. Clients come to her with different problems and she must be able to work with them to meet all of their goals while ensuring they fully understand each step along the way. She must do this not only for the client, but for their families. Urubusi works with over 200 different families and every single person’s needs must be considered.
The organizational and time management skills she learned as a chemical engineer are also vital for keeping up with her new workload. Meanwhile, the analytical and mathematical skills help her understand whether clients can meet their financial goals and stick to a plan.
For engineers and scientists wishing to transition into finance, Urubusi says the Canadian Securities Institute is the place to start. Its courses and certificate are an entry point into the industry. The Canadian Securities Course or the Investment Funds in Canada Course is a good initial goal which helps students understand the possibilities available to them and to assess what they might enjoy.
That might mean working with people and managing their finances. It might mean managing stock investments. It could even mean starting an independent investment company. Regardless, says Urubusi, a background as a scientist or engineer is never wasted.