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Backpack to Briefcase (b2B) Economics Mentorship Meal – Winter 2018

January 29 @ 5:30 pm - 8:00 pm

Mentorship Meals bring together alumni, faculty and students from the same discipline where you can enjoy a delicious meal while engaging in conversations about future career paths and the possibilities your degree can open up.

To be added to an invitation list for this event, please fill in our Registration Form to confirm your interest in attending . Dinners are restricted to 15 student attendees and final registration will be on a first-come, first-served basis. 

Please read below attending alumni for more information. This is part of the Backpack to Briefcase (b2B) Mentorship Meal series. 

Attending Faculty: 

  • Gillian Hamilton, Associate Professor
  • Dwayne Benjamin,  Associate Chair Undergraduate & Associate Professor

Attending Alumni: 

  • Roy Hrab, Director of Policy, Ontario Energy Association    
  • Lisa Mladenovic, Vice President and Chief Accounting Officer, Manulife
  • Margaret Sanderson, VP Practice Leader of Antitrust and Competition Economics, Charles River Associates
  • Stella Woo, Client Accommodation Services Advisor, Public Services and Procurement Canada   
  • Peter Wong, Senior Auditor, University of Toronto

Attending Students: 

  • Ahasan Amin, 3rd year undergraduate, Economics
  • Rohan Bhargava, 2 year undergraduate, Economics
  • Alka Bhide, 2nd year undergraduate, Economics
  • Max Chen, 2nd year undergraduate, Economics
  • Zhihao Harry, 2nd year undergraduate, Economics
  • Tacye Hong, 4th year undergraduate, Economics
  • Chengcheng Huang, 2nd year undergraduate, Economics
  • Yu Kei Angela Leung, 2nd year undergraduate, Economics
  • Yin Liu, 3rd year undergraduate, Economics
  • Tiffany Liu, 2nd year undergraduate, Economics
  • James Pettem, 2nd year undergraduate, Economics
  • Swareena Rajkhowa, 2nd year undergraduate, Economics
  • Ce Shang, 4th year undergraduate, Economics
  • Xiaouxue Yolanda Yang, 4th year undergraduate, Economics
  • Yufei Zhang, 2nd year undergraduate, Economics

Faculty Biography: 


Gillian C. Hamilton, Associate Professor, Associate Chair, Undergraduate Studies – Economics (Bio Pending)


Dwyane Benjamin, Vice Dean, Graduate Education, Faculty of Arts & Science and Professor of Economics

Dwayne Benjamin is Professor of Economics, and served as Graduate Director and Associate Chair of the Department of Economics from 2003-2006. His areas of focus include labour economics, economic development, econometrics, and applied econometrics. He is currently the Editor of the Canadian Journal of Economics and the Associate Editor of Economic Development and Cultural Change, and was the recipient of the John C. Polanyi Prize in Economics in 1992. Professor Benjamin received his undergraduate degree from University of Toronto, and his M.A. and Ph.D degrees from Princeton University.

Alumni Biography: 

Roy Hrab, Director of Policy, Ontario Energy Association             

Roy Hrab is Director of Policy at the Ontario Energy Association a not-for-profit association representing approximately 100 member firms/organizations in Ontario’s energy sector. Previously, he was a Policy Advisor at the Ontario Energy Board, working on policy initiatives related to smart grid, distributed renewable generation, smart meter deployment, and time-of-use pricing. Roy has also engaged in public policy and economic research projects at the Institute for Competitiveness and Prosperity and the Government of Ontario’s Panel on the Role of Government. He has been published by the Energy Journal, C.D. Howe Institute, and National Post.


Lisa Mladenovic, Vice President and Chief Accounting Officer, Manulife

As Vice President and Chief Accounting Officer Canadian Division, Lisa is responsible for divisional financial reporting, planning and analysis and the Finance Shared Service Centre.Lisa has been with Manulife since 2011 most recently as AVP Industry, Regulatory and Government Affairs where she was responsible for providing senior management with information on key industry, regulatory and government issues affecting our Company and leading the Business Information Centre, Corporate Archives and the Corporate Art Collection. She also held the role of AVP, Group Accounting Policy where she led a team responsible for interpreting and developing accounting policies in accordance with IFRS, U.S. GAAP/NAIC, provided accounting analysis on Corporate and Divisional transactions, developed policies for newly issued accounting pronouncements and actively managed emerging accounting pronouncements.Prior to joining Manulife, Lisa worked as a financial consultant and held various finance roles at State Street, North York General Hospital and Shoppers Drug Mart. Lisa holds a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Toronto, and is a CPA, CA.


Margaret Sanderson, Vice President & Practice Leader of Charles River Associate’s Antitrust & Competition Economics Practice.

Margaret Sanderson is Vice President & Practice Leader of Charles River Associate’s Antitrust & Competition Economics Practice.  At Charles River Associates, she leads a global practice of 140 consulting professionals.  In addition, Margaret has an active consulting practice as an economic expert in competition and regulatory matters.  She has testified and prepared expert reports in competition, class certification, damages, and telecommunications matters.  Margaret became the Practice Leader at Charles River Associates in 2006, having joined the firm in 1998 to start its Toronto office.  Prior to joining Charles River Associates, Margaret held various positions at the Competition Bureau in its Economics and Mergers Branches.  At the time that Margaret left the Competition Bureau, she led its internal group of economists who provide economic expertise on enforcement cases and regulatory interventions.  Margaret joined the Competition Bureau in 1988 from the Department of Finance’s Corporate Tax Policy Division where she worked for one year.  Margaret graduated from the University of Toronto in 1987.  She holds an M.A. in Economics and a B.Sc. in Economics & Quantitative Methods.



Stella Woo, Client Accommodation Services Advisor, Public Services and Procurement Canada              

After graduation, I applied for numerous jobs and was recruited out of PSR – the federal government recruiting campaign. Since then, I have held a variety of roles and Service Canada, and have recently transitioned to Public Services and Procurement Canada. I also did volunteer work on the side for a non-profit organisation while looking for a job as well as after I had started at Service Canada.


Peter Wong, Senior Auditor, University of Toronto

I am a Senior Auditor with over 14 years of experience working at the University of Toronto. I graduated in 2004 with an HBSc. in genetics (specialist) and economics (major).  After graduation, I worked in a research laboratory while studying for my accounting designation. Currently, my role as a senior auditor consisted of risk analysis, financial and operational reviews of departments and divisions within the university. Please visit my Linkedin profile if you want to know more about my career path.

Student Biography: 

Ahasan Amin, 3rd year undergraduate, Economics

I was born and raised in Kenya in a family that emigrated from Pakistan. I am a first generation student who completed the International Baccalaureate program and made way to Toronto in 2015. Currently I am a third year full time undergraduate student at the University of Toronto perusing a double major in Economics and Statistical Sciences. Part time I work at Casa Loma, working on the Gardens accounts and budget. When I’m not glued to my studying desk I enjoy playing basketball, soccer and exploring the city. I am eager to learn about the different application of economics in the real world. Getting some insight from Alumni’s who at one point were in my shoes will definitely be a transformative experience. It’s a great opportunity to not only connect with the Alumni’s but also with my fellow students. You can reach me on LinkedIn at Ahasan Amin.

Rohan Bhargava, 2 year undergraduate, Economics

I am Rohan Bhargava, a second-year Financial Economics student at the University of Toronto. I cannot express my excitement because I have waited a long while for this event. I believe this event serves one with the best opportunity to indulge in serious discussion with experienced individuals from close quarters. An event exclusively allocated for discussions around our professional life is a very pleasant space to be a part of as everything is centered around us and our uncertainties about our working lives. As a second-year student, I believe this is the perfect time to attend this event as we have reached a stage in our careers where there is a perfect balance of questions and answers that we possess.

My expectations of the event: 1) Healthy discussion with alumni on topics like – professional life, future courses, timing. 2)Developing a personal relationship with alumni and professionals

Alka Bhide, 2nd year undergraduate, Economics

Hello, my name is Alka Bhide and I plan to study in economics and Public Policy. So many undergraduates feel that they have no idea what they are doing, and if only they could get some idea it would be okay. I hope to attend this event to find out what I can do to have a focused undergraduate career, and I also hope to find out more about extra-curricular activities I can be involved in. I am so excited to be at such a prestigious university, and I hope to make the most of it. Some fun facts about me include that I am deeply involved in theatre and love art of all forms, from sketching to sculpting and even singing. I haven’t traveled outside of North America, but hiking is one of my favorite pastimes and I have visited many National Parks in Canada and the United States as I am a dual citizen. I am excited to learn and to meet you all, I am looking forward to this dinner!

Max Chen, 2nd year undergraduate, Economics

It would be my great honor to have a dinner with successful alumni and excellent faculty staffs and peers. I am a Chinese student who loves the friendly enterprising atmosphere in Toronto. Besides my own career plan, I am also an entrepreneur working with my team. We are currently planning and running an online platform, combing factors of education, secondary market, time & experience sharing, etc. Thus, I am looking forward to hearing advice from you in all industries.  As for my career path, it is reasonable and wise to meet new people and perhaps reach out for a nice position from some of you. Meanwhile, as a guy from a rapidly-changing eastern world, my attendance might add some fresh ideas when chatting and sharing experience with you.Looking forward to having dinner with you,

Zhihao Harry, 2nd year undergraduate, Economics

I am a second year student at University of Toronto.  I am majoring in Economics and I am thinking about going into the field of economics for further study and research. Therefore, this opportunity is a great one for me, as it helps me get to know people from this field.

Tacye Hong, 4th year undergraduate, Economics

After working as an apprentice at HSBC for three months, I realized that a client-based workplace is not where my passion lies. I got involved with the Bank of Canada’s Governor’s Challenge, a national competition that lets students present their own monetary policy. I got selected to represent University of Toronto this year and will compete with the other 4 finalist teams in February in Ottawa. Recently I also started working with the G7 Research Group as a Compliance Analyst, which allows me to contribute to open-source research for policy makers. Furthermore, I have written an econometrics term paper on the impact of legalizing abortion on crime rate and studied the preventive measures for ‘tipping’ environmental treaties as a summer research project at CUHK. All these made me realize that I would love to pursue research in Macroeconomics and have my career in the public sector. I hope that by joining this event, I would have more insights in my future career path.

Chengcheng Huang, 2nd year undergraduate, Economics

My name is Chengcheng Huang. Throughout my academic life, I performed well in mathematics and general science, but I would rather be an investor or economist because these are my passions, mostly influenced by my parents, who both work in investment and finance. Currently I am planning on a financial economics specialist. In a typical week of my life, I would go to lectures, go on road cycling training, meet with other student leaders to discuss future events, and swim and go to dance class. I am still considering many open-ended questions; such as should I prioritize financial well-being first or knowledge first in school? What about after graduation? I think the most of the questions can be answered by the event: hearing from the people who are once in my shoes and who made different choices. Hearing their wisdom would surely be my pleasure.

Yu Kei Angela Leung, 2nd year undergraduate, Economics

I am majoring in economics and currently in my second year. I want to join this dinner because I am not clear yet about what career am I going to pursue in the future and I am get some ideas there. Also, I think it will be great to get to know more peers and help each academically or out of school.

Yin Liu, 3rd year undergraduate, Economics

I am an international student from China with a major in Economics and two minors in English and Education & Society. I am also a passionate volunteer who hopes to apply what I have learned at school into communities. I have some ideas of what I would pursue after graduation. I want to continue studying education at a graduate school on education. I hope to be an educator either at a school setting or any environment that requires it in the future. I want to attend this event to hear advice from alumni who have been in similar shoes as I am now and hear what my peers’ thoughts of their future endeavors.

Tiffany Liu, 2nd year undergraduate, Economics

Tiffany Liu is an international student from China, she is now studying in economics, statistics, and mathematics. She used to be the president of risk management club in high school and won the second prize of the knowledge competition about economics. Last summer she had an experience of an internship in  China Life Insurance Company. This experience gave her a deep understanding of the relationship between work and study.Through this event, we can learn more about b2b and combine b2b with our own expertise. Learn from successful Economics alumni, have a clearer planning of the future career choices.

James Pettem, 2nd year undergraduate, Economics

I have attended several similar events at UofT, and although the alumni were interesting and had lots of helpful guidance, none were economics graduates or worked in fields that interested me.  I am keenly interested in behavioural economics, and would be interested to know how widely used (if at all!) behavioural science is within fields that employ economics-minded people.  I would also be interested to learn more about the work life/culture in fields that I may end up entering, as although I have worked many summer or part-time jobs, I don’t see myself going back to any of those organisations as a long term career. I am hoping that getting to know economics graduates will help answer these questions, and that they can share their wisdom with me! It would also be interesting to see what kind of careers my fellow economics students are looking into.

Swareena Rajkhowa, 2nd year undergraduate, Economics

My name is Swareena Rajkhowa. I am a second year transfer student with the faculty of Arts and Science. I developed an interest in economics during the last two years of high school during the process of conducting a survey and a basic analysis on economical developments brought about in a locality due to micro-finances being extended to them. This small spark of interest has only been growing stronger and stronger with more I learn here at UofT. I love meeting and spending time with like minded people who share a similar interest in economics, which was the main reason why I decided to be part of Economics Student Association committee. I actively take part in all the event and have developed a good association amongst my contemporary peers. However, since I am a transfer student, I am not very familiar with a lot of faculty members and economics students from different years and background. I believe this event will help me be able to correct this and also give me the opportunity to hear and understand first hand from alumni on the different career paths I could possibly pick when I finish my undergraduate program. I also believe that these events help facilitate an avenue for students like us to develop strong networks

Ce Shang, 4th year undergraduate, Economics

As a fourth-year student in both economics and neuroscience, I have always been attracted to the aspects of these fields that involve the study of human behavior. However, as I am approaching graduation, I find myself in increasing need to explore the practical applications of my studies, and to bridge the gap between what I learned and how I can fit in to the real world. I am at a point choosing between work and further studies and I would really like some advice on what my future could possibly look like. Through this event, I hope to learn more from the alumni as well as my peers.

Xiaouxue Yolanda Yang, 4th year undergraduate, Economics

I am a fourth-year undergraduate, studying Economics, Mathematics and Statistics. I have an international background, and I enjoy meeting and talking to people with different backgrounds, and exploring different opportunities. I am going to work in consulting after graduation, as I have always wanted to do consulting ever since I was in second year. But as I took more economics courses in third and fourth year, I developed a strong interest in economics, especially in microeconomics and econometrics, so now I am considering a Master’s/PhD degree in economics, while still having an interest in consulting. Therefore, I hope to talk to alumni and faculty members, and learn their journey which I believe could help me figure out my next steps. I also hope to meet with my keen peers attending this event, and share our stories, plans, and insights.

Yufei Zhang, 2nd year undergraduate, Economics

My name is Fay Zhang. I am a second-year undergraduate student. I am doing a specialist in economics, a major in actuarial science and a major in statistics. I did two internships in an insurance company and in a securities company, and an E-mentor program in New College last summer. I also have the experience of doing statistical analysis for a research program. There are couple of reasons why I want to attend this mentorship. First, I am wondering about how the career of being an economist looks like. Except concentrating on doing research, are there any other fields we can concentrate on? Second, after graduate, I want to do a master degree in economics. But I do not know which specific program I should choose. Should I do pure economics or economics combined with other subjects like statistics? These are the two things I want to figure out at this time.


January 29
5:30 pm - 8:00 pm


Backpack to Briefcase