Eli’s unconventional route to finance
New opportunities often arrive when you least expect them. This was certainly the case for Eli Minkowitz after he completed his Bachelor’s in Kinesiology. Having studied a degree that was all about movement, he decided to stay still for a year while he pondered his next move. It was during this period that he started to consider a totally new direction for his career.
“I started an undergrad in a Bachelors of Science, graduating with a bachelor’s in kinesiology,” Eli explains. “At that time, I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to do. So, I deferred going to law school for a year to work as a Business Development Associate in a small private equity firm in Toronto. I think that reinvigorated or introduced a passion for finance that I didn’t know was there.” (00:09)
But, how could he turn that passion for finance into a fully-fledged career in the industry? Fortunately, a family member introduced Eli to the MBA in Investment Management at John Molson School of Business, Concordia University. Without knowing it, he had just found the perfect program – and the key to unlock a future career in finance.
“This program at Concordia blew me away. It was exactly what I was looking for, without even knowing it existed. I immediately applied. I had a great meeting with [the] administration and started last year. So far, it’s been a fantastic experience,” he says. (00:41)
Bridging the gap between kinesiology and finance
With a different educational background to your typical MBA student, Eli needed a program that would provide a bridge between that background and his intended future career – a smooth transition between kinesiology and finance.
Luckily, “The program seemed specifically catered towards people who want to make a career in finance, but who don’t necessarily have the conventional experience or prerequisites that a lot of analysts or associates in the industry have,” Eli explains. “I felt like that was a really good foray into the world of finance.” (02:49)
How exactly is this gap bridged during the program? Eli cites one practical example where he was able to gain genuine, real-life experience in the finance industry. It not only gave him the skills and knowledge he needed to thrive but also the confidence to know he could do it.
“The benchmarking program gives you the practical experience of being a portfolio manager without having to go work for 10 years in the industry,” he tells us. “So we make all the investment decisions. We come up with valuations, reports, etc., and present them to an investment committee of industry veterans. That’s given me the experience in finance I was looking for.” (06:14)
The inclusiveness of the John Molson MBA in Investment Management
Eli believes one of the MBA’s main strengths was the personal nature of the course. He was used to being part of large cohorts, but with an average class size of just 30 in the John Molson MBA in Investment Management, he was able to benefit from more personalized attention. It has been a huge plus for him.
“One of the things I mentioned in my application was that I had been a member of a class of 600-700 people in my undergrad, in the healthcare program. At that point, you sort of feel like a number on a piece of paper. If there’s ever any issue, if you need to speak to a professor, you don’t really get that one-on-one time, that interaction that makes you feel like you’re important within the breadth of the program,” says Eli. (03:22)
When Eli talks about the personalized feel of the program, he can point to specific examples of it. As a Jewish person, Eli observes the Sabbath from Friday evening to Saturday evening – meaning he can’t take classes or exams in that period. John Molson was very accommodating to his needs.
Eli recalls, “That caused a little bit of a problem for me, but right away the administration said, ‘Eli, not to worry. [We] will record all the classes for you. You can do your exams on Sunday, we really don’t mind. We’re here to help you get through it.’ And that made me feel really important, really special, and really appreciated. It’s one of the main reasons why I love the program.” (04:06)
Why the MBA remains such a highly-valued degree
Perhaps Eli’s biggest takeaway from the MBA in Investment Management was the chance to immediately implement what he learned into real-life situations. He wasn’t just taught how to pass exams; he was taught genuinely useful skills that he could take straight into his career.
“I’ve always had that experience, especially in undergrad, where I learned something in class and forget about it. I’d study it before the exam, write the exam, and move on from there. But here, I get to learn material from the CFA curriculum and the MBA curriculum. And the next day, you immediately incorporate that into the work I’m doing,” he says. (10:10)
“I thought that was amazing. That was a switch that flipped for me,” he continues. “That basically outlines for me, what you’re learning here is really going to help you for the rest of your life. So make sure you know it, make sure you learn it, make sure you understand it and you can see the tangible effect of what you’re doing. And that to me was brilliant.” (10:30)
In an MBA, you’re not just learning skills that will help you during your program. You’re learning new skills that will help you both in your future career and for the rest of your life. Employers value that and it’s why the MBA continues to be such a highly-regarded degree all over the world.