Securing a path to a stable career was at the top of Richard Ye’s (BBA 2023 UTSC) priorities out of high school. He searched for university programs in finance and STEM because of the versatile, in-demand skills and knowledge he could learn.
U of T Scarborough’s innovative co-op double degree in quantitative finance and statistics was the perfect fit. Available only on Scarborough campus, the program provides students with a bachelor of business administration and honours bachelor of science degrees.
“This was one of two double degree programs I could find. That’s what interested me in U of T Scarborough, along with it being so close to home,” says Ye, who grew up in Scarborough and went to high school at R.H. King Academy.
Ye graduates from the inaugural cohort of the program with an impressive cumulative GPA of above 3.7, along with a spot on the Dean’s list. He closes the chapter on his undergraduate career grateful for the opportunity to have helped further tailor the program to better serve the learning experience for future students.
After his first year of the program, Ye decided to pursue more opportunities in STEM rather than finance. He found this new passion working with cloud technologies and data science during a co-op work term at Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD) in January 2020 as a product strategy intern. Eager to strengthen his new skills, Ye pursued statistics and computer science courses.
“What I love about STEM is its value. Creating things like software or hardware increases people’s productivity and adds value to society,” Ye says.
After a role in risk forecasting during an internship at Scotiabank, Ye landed a job as a data science intern at IBM at the start of 2022 – a role that he says the double degree in finance and statistics came the most handy. There, he moderated, reviewed and created data science and software development videos as part of IBM’s Skills Network Team. He currently works at IBM as a full-time associate data scientist.
As for achieving his GPA, Ye says things weren’t always easy. He struggled to focus and digest course content in first year but credits a close friend who helped him study.
Ye notes Douglas Kong, an associate professor in the department of management, as one professor who had a great impact on his academic career. In 2019, Ye won a Prudential Management and Economics Award with Kong’s support. The $7,600 award is given to a full-time, upper-year management student with outstanding leadership qualities.
By developing a deeper understanding of course content through office hours, Ye was invited to conduct research projects alongside Associate Professor Sohee Kang and Sotirios Damouras, a director for the double degree program.
“Doing research with professors were some of my most valuable experiences at UTSC. Being more involved leads to those obtainable opportunities.”
An active member of the UTSC Management community, Ye was part of the Management Consulting Group, where he secured part-time work as a data analyst for a client. He also served as a web developer for the Management Economic Students’ Association Club (MESA).
He encourages new students to get involved in campus life and credits extracurricular experiences for forging connections vital to shaping his vision for a career.
“Had I not participated in these clubs, I wouldn’t have the knowledge I have now about the field. You learn about different experiences, opinions, and life stories that help inform your own life.”