Can Poge relishes the adrenaline rush he gets from his career in finance at Bank of America Merrill Lynch in London.
“Because the financial markets change in real time based on real world events and real world data, you’re never done learning, whether you graduated three months ago or ten years ago,” he says.
Can himself graduated in 2016 with a Bachelor of Commerce from UBC Sauder. It was here that he was introduced to the area of study that would become his passion.
“At UBC Sauder I learned everything I know about finance,” he says. “I started from scratch and gained the knowledge, skills and experience to land my first job at Bank of America Merrill Lynch.”
Born and raised in Istanbul, Turkey, Can attended international school from elementary school through high school. Initially Can was contemplating school in the UK or the United States, but it was a little bit of serendipity and a full scholarship through UBC’s International Scholars Program that brought him to Vancouver.
Suddenly Can, who had always been a local amongst international students, was an international student himself.
“It was a bit nerve-wracking because I had never set foot in North America before,” he says.
A mentorship culture
Can joined UBC’s International Student Association where he quickly took on a leadership role and got a part-time job as a student ambassador, giving campus tours to prospective students and their families.
“UBC helped me get acclimatized to Canadian culture,” he says. “And then I was able to help other students make the same transition.”
At UBC Sauder, Can was among the first cohort to take an Introduction to Capital Markets, a class that illuminated a niche area of finance through challenging course work and compelling guest lecturers.
“Between our professor and the industry speakers who visited our class, I was inspired,” he says. “Immediately I thought ‘This aligns with my future goals, this is what I want to pursue.’”
On top of his full course load and part-time job, Can was one of eight students invited to take part in the Portfolio Management Foundation (PMF), a demanding extracurricular venture in which students manage a pool of funds worth millions of dollars under the mentorship of UBC Sauder faculty and finance professionals.
“PMF gave me two full years of mentoring with finance professionals from all the big banks and all the big firms,” he says. “The opportunity to get that caliber of mentorship was unparalleled.”
The BCom changed my life because it introduced me to an industry that I'm passionate about and gave me the experience and expertise to excel in it.
International banking career
Through UBC Sauder, Can landed two prestigious internships with RBC Royal Bank and Bank of America Merrill Lynch in Toronto, both of which built upon the hands-on experience he was already gaining.
“In both of these internships I was given immense responsibility from day one,” he says. “I needed to be quick on my feet and use the learnings from my classes and mentorships.”
When he graduated, Can was offered a position with Bank of America Merrill Lynch in London, which not only positioned him in one of the world’s financial capitals, but also let him travel easily throughout Europe, something he has long enjoyed.
“In finance, you have to understand how the politics of one country can affect the economics of another halfway around the world,” he says. “You’ve got to stay on top of your game, which is part of why I love it so much.
“The UBC Sauder BCom introduced me to an industry I’m passionate about and gave me the experience and expertise to excel in it.”