In this distinguished speaker event, we are honored to have Jason Parker as our speaker. Jason Parker joined BMO in 1999 and he is now the Head of North American Credit Research at BMO Capital Market. He graduated from Wilfrid Laurier University with a Bachelor of Arts in Geography and Political Science.
Then he was granted a Master degree in International Political Economy from Carlton University, a Master in Education and a Master degree of Geography from University of Toronto. He is a CFA charted holder and a Board Member of Ontario Institute for Studies in Education.
This distinguished speech started with a question about how Jason got there. We are honored to have Jason sharing his colorful experience with us.
He mentioned, first of all, we need to have certain amount of self-awareness so that we know about our strength and weakness. When pursuing his career, going back to his undergraduate, he always loved to read something he is interested in, varying from math to geography. He mentioned a famous book, which tells people who pursue a success need to have extra speed.
He also quoted Warren Buffett’s famous saying, Take out a piece of paper, write down the twenty things you want to do, scratch the bottom fifteen, and focus on the top five. Despite that Jason agreed that people need to be focused, Jason wants and loves to do as much as possible. He started his major in Geography, and then he applied for a Master of international affair at the same time. He graduated from both masters successfully.
Jason told us that when hunting for a job, we should fit in the situation, and take a step back to ask ourselves what we can learn from that experience. Jason also mentioned that it is important to be honest with yourself, and always ask a question with a solution instead of complaining about the problem. He emphasized that problem solving skill is crucial in one’s career.
He shared his experience in CITI Security. At that time, he worked 9 am – 10 pm for 7 days and then he could have 7 days off. Under that much pressure, he still had lots of confidence about himself. After one year and a half, he managed to switch to BMO and started the debt research job. From his experience, he told us not to be upset if the job was not what we expected. What we need to do is to always be prepared and seek for another opportunity to pursue our passion.
Another topic Jason discussed is the current trend of market. Jason mentioned one key terminology, “Digitalization of Information”, which, in short, means everything is coded. Jason said that, in the current job market, every opening requires coding skills. One with strong quantitative skills could have more chances than others. Digitalization is as impactful as industry revolution. As the transactions have become significantly complex, majority of them are coded and completed through internet.
Regarding the specific requirements about the technical skills, Jason mentioned that R and Python are preferred over VBA. At the same time, soft skill is as important as hard skill. One should be able to network, communicate effectively with others. Jason shared his previous hiring experience and emphasized the importance of networking. The combination of hard skills and soft skills is the direction of where the capital market is heading to.
Jason also shared many valuable points on how to construct a perfect resume. The key point is to find the insightful skills that the HR is looking for. Jason said, if he was the hiring manager, he would want someone different otherwise it would be duplication in the team. Moreover, he strengthened that there was a big difference between positioning someone for success and getting someone a job. Overall, he particularly told us always to be brave to take initiatives. If you have good ideas, just to tell your manager or someone who is interested.
At last, the audience took the wonderful opportunity to talk to Jason in person. This distinguished speaker event provided the audience with a valuable opportunity to speak to a senior professional in the industry. We sincerely appreciated Jason’s time and we look forward to the next wonderful distinguished speaker session.
Jin Li is the VP of ETF & Quantitative Research in BMO. He graduated from University of Waterloo in 2012 and has been working in BMO for 5 years. His resourceful connection has been the bridge between young professionals and senior executives in the industry.
Forrest is a dedicated volunteer at NHC. As a MA economics graduate from U of T. Forrest currently works as an Analyst role at RBC. He is particularly interested in machine learning and Big Data analytics.