Photo of Piers with a business attire.

Piers Elms always knew he was going to work in finance. “I landed my first co-op with BMO when I was 16 years old,” says the recent Bachelor of Commerce (Finance) graduate. “That’s when I discovered I was passionate about and competent in the field.”

Now that his degree is completed, he’s planning to use finance as a way to make a positive contribution to others. “I knew I was good at finance as it was my specialty growing up. But I knew I wanted to use what I was good at to help others. It’s like health-care providers … they have an aptness for bettering others’ lives through their skills and capabilities. I want to use my skills to give financial freedom to as many people as I can.”

My mother inspired me

Growing up he was surrounded by family who worked in finance; however, Piers says, it was his mother who inspired him. “She was a single parent and I saw how hard she worked. That’s something I’ve carried with me. If you do your work, are honest and have good intentions, things will work out for you.”

Dal worked out for Piers, who said he was attracted by the co-op program and even more so by the friendly people he met from day one. “I flew here [from Kingston] for a campus tour and the guide told us the commerce program at Dal was different from other schools. She said: ‘at Dal, you’re surrounded by people who are not going to let you fail. It doesn’t matter who you are, or where you come from, you’ll always have that community to help you.’”

Dal’s professors wanted us to do well

Piers says that support got him through more than one difficult project. “There were many nights we’d be working on something quite complex, but being surrounded by other Dalhousie Commerce students, talking about it with them, you got a better sense of what the solution would be.” That support came from the professors, too. “They were excellent,” continues Piers. “They wanted to see you do well. If you needed help, they’d make time for you regardless of their own time constraints.”

The co-op program more than lived up to its reputation, says Piers, who enjoyed work terms with the Government of Nova Scotia, RBC and an M&A pharmaceutical company. All those different experiences taught him to “focus on results, not expectations. You don’t have to stick to one industry or sub-industry. Skills are transferrable, and your interests may change over time. Mine did. Adaptability is key.”

Today Piers works for Rimes Technologies in Toronto, which provides data management services and automation for many of the world’s largest investment banks and asset managers. He credits the communications skills he honed during the Dal co-op program with helping him excel at the job. “I’ve spoken with clients around the world,” says Piers, “they have different cultural backgrounds and completely different perspectives on the world. Dal is such a great multicultural school; it has given me a better perspective on talking to people and working with them. This has helped me excel in my work.”

Piers finishes by saying his Dal community is with him to this day and will be for life. “I still see my Dal friends every single week,” says Piers. “And even through my work, dealing with several Canadian companies, I am constantly meeting people who have a positive connection to Dal.”