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Racing to the top

MFE student riding donor awards to finish line

by Crystal Lamb | August 31, 2016

Riding donor awards to the finish line
Master of Financial Economics student Craig Logan is considering a number of career paths after graduation, including returning to the Bank of Canada, working for one of the big six banks in the private sector or joining a proprietary trading firm or pension fund.

Craig Logan has always pushed himself to succeed. As a competitive road cyclist, he traveled across Canada and around the globe – he dreamed of one day competing at the Olympics. Then, an accident and subsequent concussion changed his life.

“I come from a background of athletics. My first two years of university I was committed to training and competing in cycling. That was the focus of my life,” said Logan, 24, who was pursuing an undergraduate degree in Economics at the University of Victoria at the time of his accident. “My goal was to become a professional athlete. When I hit my head I realized maybe that wasn’t the safest route. I don’t want to hit my head again. After that, I focused all my energy on school and wanted to be the best at that instead.”

Following the accident, Logan concentrated on completing his degree and started researching graduate schools. Certain he wanted to do something finance-related, he ultimately chose Western’s Master of Financial Economics (MFE) program, a collaboration between Economics, Law, Ivey Business School and Statistical & Actuarial Sciences.

“Through my cycling team, we had a number of events with sponsors and many of them had backgrounds in finance. Talking to them, and looking up to them and learning what they did, inspired me to pursue finance. Western’s MFE program also brought me closer to the financial hub of Canada than Victoria,” he explained.

Now nearing the end of his program, Logan will graduate in December following the completion of his internship at the Bank of Canada in Ottawa, where he’s been working in the Market Structure and Regulation division performing research and assisting with policy work.

In addition to completing his master’s degree, Logan is also studying for his Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation. With his busy schedule and heavy workload making it difficult to work to support himself, he’s grateful to have received donor assistance along the way. Last year, Logan was the recipient of both the Brisson-Toal Master of Financial Economics – Econometrics Award and the Brisson-Toal Master of Financial Economics – Quantitative Finance Award, two of the coursework-related awards established by Anne Toal, BSc’78 (Honors Mathematics), and her husband, Paul Brisson, to support MFE students.

“I’m funding my education primarily through student loans, so it’s a huge help to receive this financial support. Student loans are a huge stress in my life. Getting financial aid helps me to focus more on studies and not worry as much. It’s really a big thing for me,” Logan said.

Toal and Brisson, who both had careers in the financial services sector in insurance and investments, said their decision to fund students was influenced, in part, by their experience in the field.

“We could see the economic and business needs for the talents and skills that the MFE program provides to students and felt that our support would help to give students unique skills that match job demands, and provide benefit to both businesses and certain government and regulatory organizations,” Toal said.

“We hope our awards will go to hard-working, creative students who are seeking challenges and who are developing global viewpoints on the financial and investment sectors.”

Currently, Logan is considering a number of career paths after graduation, including returning to the Bank of Canada, working for one of the big six banks in the private sector or joining a proprietary trading firm or pension fund.

“I’m not worried about finding a job; I’m more worried about finding the right job,” he continued. “There are a lot of prospects but a lot involve 100- hour workweeks. It’s a matter of really targeting what you want and going after that.”

Wherever he lands, he plans to support future generations, just as donors like Toal and Brisson have supported him. “Giving back has always been the goal. Throughout my experiences in athletics and throughout my education I’ve received a lot of financial support. I want to better myself so I’m in a position to give back myself.”

With all of the deserving causes looking for support, it can be a challenge to choose. Therefore, it’s important to support something meaningful, Toal said. “A university education was a stepping stone to very rewarding careers for both my husband and myself. We know that many students go on from university to do incredible things in a wide range of fields. It is important for every graduate of Western to reflect on how their education contributed to their success and to give back if they can.”

This article appeared in the Fall 2016 edition of Impact Western
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