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Econ Major Scores in Top 10%

By Emily Tham

Damilola Ashaju, an Economics Major, wrote his CFA Level 1 Exam this past August and scored in the top 90th percentile. Damilola moved to Winnipeg from Nigeria in 2019 to pursue a post-secondary degree in Computer Science. Little did he know that Economics and Finance were going to be his true calling.

After 4 months of preparing for the CFA Level 1 Exam, Damilola considers his accomplishment to be very fulfilling. “To be part of the 37% of candidates that passed and simultaneously in the top decile, it is a very rewarding and motivating experience”, he says.

With his mother being an entrepreneur, his father a stockbroker and his sister studying abroad as an accounting major, Business and Finance have always been important topics in Damilola’s family. “So, you see, we were all immersed in the realm of business and finance in some way. However, it was not until I took both Intro to Macroeconomics and Intro to Microeconomics when I found my true passion for Economics and Finance,” he recounts. “Alongside my family showing me immense support, my time at the University has helped foster and encourage me as well.”

Damilola is the current President of the Finance and Economics Students’ Association (FESA) and works as a teaching assistant in the Department of Economics. Being heavily involved within the University has provided him the opportunity to create a solid network of people including professors, fellow students, and business partners. Damilola says “through FESA, I attended events that charter holders did and was able to gain information about the exam’s difficulty and how to prepare. These interactions helped me to strategically plan a way to prepare for the exam.”

Dr. Hai Feng Chen, who taught Damilola in an investment course at The University of Winnipeg, also became Damilola’s subject mentor by motivating and advising him on his studies. “Even though Professor Chen would provide a formula sheet for her classes, she encouraged the habit of memorizing the formulas and understanding how they work, so you can reproduce them yourself”, he explains. A habit which turned out to be especially helpful for the CFA Exam as they did not provide students with a formula sheet. Dr. Chen shares that, “Teaching Damilola was such a rewarding experience, he is intelligent, attentive, a hard worker and a very respectful student. He has contributed positively to not only the learning environment in my class but also the community. He is a role model student.”

But not only is Damilola a full-time student who is heavily engaged in extra-curricular activities, he is also working on a full-time basis. This makes his success in the CFA Level 1 exam all the more impressive. As he notes, “with the dense, voluminous content and working full time, I started to feel doubtful about my ability to pass. I could not have done it without the immense support of my family, friends, professors and my fellow co-workers at TD. This has been such a rewarding experience and I am thankful for all the support I have received from everyone involved.”