A passion for finance

Arnav Gupta - Commerce Alumni
Wednesday, September 16, 2015 - 2:27pm
Sarah Jane Silva

Success sometimes starts with failure.

This was one of the valuable lessons Arnav Gupta learned during his second year as an undergrad.

Although he had competed in a simulated stock competition and bombed it, it was that very experience that ignited Gupta’s interest in finance.

“I did abysmally, but I loved it,” said the former commerce student, who now credits the Institute for Management and Innovation (IMI) for stoking the fire.

During his fourth year, Gupta continued to hone his finance skills when he took on a job at the Li Koon Chun Financial Learning Centre (FLC), a state-of-the-art trading facility nestled in the basement of the Innovation complex, where he was tasked with a multitude of activities including becoming well-versed in the resources available there. 

“It was one of my jobs to help students if they had any questions about how to use the software, and that meant I had to have a good understanding of it.”

The centre is currently equipped with 38 workstations, big-screen TV monitors, a rolling ticker and sophisticated financial analysis and simulation software such as Bloomberg and FactSet.

“Just the fact that there was a space that was focused entirely on giving students resources to help them learn about the world of finance - that was the most beneficial thing for me,” he says. T

he experiential-based learning facility also allowed Gupta to stay abreast of the fast-paced world of financial markets.

“We provide students with programming and experiential activities that connect the theory of the classroom with the practicality of the workplace,” says Andrew Graham, the lab manager at the FLC.

“We’re meant and designed to be that bridge.”

The centre also functions as a hub for students who are looking to navigate their way through university life.

“Our mandate isn’t just about finance; it’s the full spectrum of information needs, and some of those might be very academic.

Some of them may be kind of informal,” says Helen Kula, IMI’s embedded librarian.

From Gupta’s experiences as an undergraduate student at the UTM, a trait emerged: curiosity.

“Every single day there was some kind of new development in the finance world that was happening and it kept pulling me,” he reflects.

“Then you tie in the numbers and the business strategy aspects of it...all those things tied together really attracted me.”

Today Gupta’s curious nature has lead him to the heart of Toronto’s financial district where, since early March, he has been enjoying his latest post as an Equity Research Associate with Scotia Capital Inc.

“The role of equity research is two-fold,” he explains.

“The more well-known part is that we value public corporations and make investment recommendations. The lesser known part is that we also act as intermediaries between investors and corporations, and facilitate access to company management.”

Gupta believes that his drive to succeed comes from an insatiable thirst for knowledge and a willingness to accept that he does not have all the answers.

“It’s the knowledge of knowing that I know nothing, which makes me work hard every single day.”

However, although he feels he is on the right career path, there is always room for improvement.

“Even today, I’m still learning more and more about the world of finance, and I’ve barely scratched the surface.”