Sophia Chan

Sophia Chan

Master of Financial Insurance Program

“Graduate school is definitely busy and challenging, but it is also fun! ”

I am Sophia and I am from Macao SAR, China.  This is my fifth year in Canada (or in Toronto to be specific), and I like it so far (except for the long cold winter which I still haven’t got used to).  I did my undergraduate also at U of T, specializing in Actuarial Science along with a major in Statistics and a minor in Mathematics. I am a candidate of the Master of Financial Insurance program under the Department of Statistical Sciences.  It is a professional program which combines the insights of the financial markets with the traditional insurance field. 

I chose U of T twice (and U of T also chose me twice). I chose U of T for my undergraduate degree because I really wanted to do actuarial science, and it is well-developed in North America, while U of T is one of the top universities in the region which offers this program of study. During my undergraduate experience, I grew fond of U of T.  I like the people, the atmosphere and the culture, so I decided to stay.   

I am grateful that U of T offers the MFI program which on one hand allows me to continue my investigation in actuarial science and its related fields, while on the other hand develops my professionalism through seminars held by industrial professionals as well as the industrial internship in summer. The professors and instructors I met are easy to approach and willing to help. Aside from the knowledge they have taught me, some of them have also shared their life experiences and have given me valuable advice for school and career. They have led me to new ways of seeing and approaching some of my questions I have also made some life-long friends. 

So far, I consider U of T graduate school to be an “upgraded” version of my undergraduate in terms of what I learned, the coursework I completed, and the opportunities I have gained. As part of a professional program, we attend various professional development sessions and networking events organized for us. Graduate school is definitely busy and challenging, but it is also fun! 

My advice to all prospective students considering the MFI program: don’t be mistaken by its name – we study not only finance and insurance, but also machine learning, time series, and more. To me, the MFI program is a great opportunity to learn how theories and methodologies are implemented in the real-world and to help us develop professionalism before actually going into the industry. 

And to all prospective students considering graduate studies in general: having a solid and related academic background definitely helps, but it is not the whole story. I believe knowing what you really want to do, and having the passion and motivation to pursue it, is the true key to success.