March 25, 2021Print | PDF
The Lazaridis Master of Finance (MFin) Alumni Speaker Series at Wilfrid Laurier University is designed to provide a platform for future and current students to interact with recent MFin alumni and learn more about the career paths available after graduation.
“If you find yourself becoming too comfortable in your position at work, it’s time to give yourself some more challenges.” This is the personal philosophy Victor Hsu (MFin ’19) brings to the work-related aspects of his life.
The Lazaridis School of Business and Economics alumnus describes his background in engineering and finance as being the catalyst for finding his current role as a commercial banking analyst at HSBC in the Greater Toronto Area.
“After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from National Tsing Hua University, I joined DBS Bank – Taiwan,” explains Hsu. “I was in their graduate training program for commercial banking and stayed there for almost two years. I then decided to give myself more of a challenge and pursued a banking career in North America by enrolling in the Lazaridis MFin program.”
Laurier’s strength in the finance sector can been seen in the high number of graduates who go on to have successful careers in commercial banking.
“Victor’s experience is a common one for many of our students,” says program director Tony Tang. “People with an interest in finance and banking learn after a few years of work that there is so much more to know and many different business divisions to explore. They come to see the MFin program as a launchpad for the next stage of their careers.”
“I spent some time getting to know myself and realized I am passionate about people and like being the bridge between my client’s business challenges and a solution that addresses those challenges. I’m in the banking industry, but really it’s a relationship-management role at its core.”
While in the MFin program, Hsu took advantage of the co-op program and pursued two work terms at Scotiabank, one in commercial banking and one in corporate banking to get some hands-on experience within the Canadian banking industry.
After graduating in 2019, Hsu secured a position at HSBC Canada, the largest international bank in Canada by total assets. HSBC’s specialty is focusing on clients with international trade requirements as well as delivering regular banking services to local clients.
During his talk, Hsu described the role of a commercial banking analyst to give future graduates a better idea of what to expect from this particular career path.
At its most basic level, Hsu describes commercial banking as the process of providing lending and international trade facilities and related services to clients.
As an analyst, Hsu is responsible for helping relationship managers source clients, negotiate the terms sheet with them, and do a deep dive into the company’s finances to better understand the company and be able to anticipate their future needs.
“After that, we move to the credit application process,” describes Hsu. “You have to manage a lot of communication between both the client and the various product groups at the bank to discuss how to deliver the best product services to our clients.”
He adds that the credit risk department is a particularly key stakeholder in this process and representatives from that unit will often have detailed questions and draw their own conclusions based on their mandate to assess risk. This is where the analyst’s skills in negotiating and persuasion are useful in getting their client the best service possible.
“After everything is settled and the application is approved, we prepare the loan agreement for the client to sign,” explains Hsu. “This is a critical stage because you are essentially preparing a legally binding document, so attention to detail is extremely important because any mistake can put the bank in a loss position.”
In addition to an affinity and curiosity for numbers, banking and finance processes, Hsu describes the top three skills needed to become a successful commercial banking analyst:
At the end of the day, being able to find solutions for his clients is what keeps Hsu interested in his job.
“I spent some time getting to know myself and realized I am passionate about people and like being the bridge between my client’s business challenges and a solution that addresses those challenges. I’m in the banking industry, but really it’s a relationship-management role at its core,” says Hsu.
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