Engineering Backgrounds Benefit AIMCo Team Members
If you needed to find an aerospace or an industrial engineer, AIMCo may not be the first place you would look. But ask around, and you would quickly meet both, working diligently for the Alberta-based investment manager.
Richard Wan, Director of Trading on AIMCo’s Public Equities team, has an undergraduate degree in engineering science from the University of Toronto with a specialty in aerospace engineering. But his career took off in a different direction.
“I could manipulate data, I could do my own programming, and I will say that I was looking for some way to get better fulfillment and to be more fully engaged. So I went into finance,” said Wan, who went on to get an MBA in finance from Queens University, and a CFA designation.
It All Adds Up in the End
“The skillsets, the programming, the math, the understanding of how the products and valuation behaviors work, that was certainly something that I got from engineering and moved to finance,” explained Wan.
Richard Wan, Director of Trading, Public Equities
The tie between his education and current role in trading is the amount of problem solving. “Engineers are traditionally very, very good at applying concepts and putting them towards real world applications,” he said.
A Natural Progression
Kim Thompson-Springer is another formally educated engineer working at AIMCo. The Senior Manager of Private Investment Assets holds a bachelor of science in industrial engineering and an MBA in finance.
Thompson-Springer figured out that she wanted to transition to business and finance early on in her degree.
“Math was my thing. Physics was my thing. You could give me those every day, all day. It wasn’t until my second year in my engineering degree when I did Engineering Finance, I think was the name of the course, and I was like, ‘I love this stuff. Where was this all my life?’”
Kim Thompson-Springer, Senior Manager, Private Investment Assets
It also helped that finance work was a little easier to bear, after experiencing life in the cement industry.
“On a daily basis, I would come home covered in cement — cement in my ears and in my eyes! There was literally no place that would not have cement,” she recalled with a laugh.
While some engineers may seek to escape grueling conditions, Thompson-Springer thinks those who switch to finance are staying true to their roots.
“I think it's a natural love of math and the analytical thinking, and the discipline that engineering trains you to do.”
While there’s no formal count of staff with engineering backgrounds at AIMCo, if you meet one or two, they’ll lead you to others. They share the connection of a hard-earned skillset they are now applying in a secure and growth-oriented industry — just not the one they originally intended.