Hi, my name is Michelle Tan and I am a Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) Associate within the Activate Strategic Functions New Graduate Development program! I joined the Internal Audit Department over a year ago now and during my program rotations, I’ve also been a part of the Financial Accounting, Reconciliation, and Regulatory Reporting Team. Before joining Scotiabank, I completed my Master of Accounting at the University of Waterloo.

A bit about myself: I am a major advocate for trying new things and continuously growing both professionally and personally. My passion for personal development led me to pursue an undergraduate degree that included a co-op program, where I was able to learn and gain experience in diverse industries. However, even with this abundance of experience, I still wanted to explore other possible career options - this is how I discovered Activate within Scotiabank!

The concept of a rotational program as a postgraduate career is now popular given the variety it provides; however, “back in my day,” it was a brand-new idea because the traditional path for a Chartered Accountant involved compulsory work in a public accounting firm. It happened to be a member of the Scotiabank Campus team that first introduced me to this type of career option! When I first heard about the Activate Program and how it provides new graduates with the opportunity to try various roles and positions, I was super excited to learn more about it!

Pursuing the Activate rotational program as a CPA Associate was very attractive to me as it provides various opportunities to gauge my interests and passions within Accounting, Tax, and Finance without being tied down to one position. The program offers unparalleled professional development opportunities which are designed to help you become part of the next generation of leaders. There is great flexibility to choose a department to work in after graduating from the program, which could include one of the departments in your rotations or even another division within the Bank. Working at Scotiabank offers room for internal growth as many learning opportunities come with being part of a leading bank in the Americas that is a leader in technological innovation.

What really sold this program to me was Scotiabank’s culture. You hear about it all the time that a company’s culture makes a big difference, which turned out to be a non-negotiable for me. Before joining, I was able to truly experience it firsthand through numerous interactions with the campus recruitment team and employees. I connected with several individuals from the program spanning from CPA Associates to various levels of management within the different rotation departments. The connections I have developed ranged from stimulating discussions, such as dissecting the implications of the new IFRS 16 accounting standard, to unintentional bonds of rooting for the Raptors together (Go Raptors!!). Through these conversations, I felt the family culture of the Bank, and I knew I wanted to be part of this community.

Something I love about Scotiabank and the Activate program is that there are countless opportunities for you to take on leadership roles if you just raise your hand. The teams and individuals I have worked with are all genuinely interested in my career development and helping me make the most out of each of my rotations. For example, I was given the opportunity to organize a team offsite event which involved 2 full days of insightful training sessions presented by our clients, and other internal partners. This was such an amazing experience for me as I was able to work with so many individuals with whom I would not be able to otherwise.

My advice for all prospective students is to evaluate what your values are and look for an organization whose values align with your own. I am a firm believer that you don’t need to know what you want to do for the rest of your life right now. It’s ok to change your mind and be curious about different career options. I believe it is more important to find an organization that empowers you to do good and gives you opportunities that can enrich your career growth. I am very fortunate that Scotiabank’s values align with my own and that the bank is committed to fostering new and innovative ways of doing things. So, don’t worry if you don’t know what you want to do, because most of us are still discovering it ourselves!

Interested in learning more about our Activate Strategic Functions Program? Click here!