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Career Profile

Petter Wiberg (he/him)

Managing Director
BMO Capital Markets
Close up Businessman using calculator and cell phone for do math finance on wooden desk in office and business working background
Close up Businessman using calculator and cell phone for do math finance on wooden desk in office and business working background
Location Now
Education Pathway

I use my math and computer science background in the financial industry.

About me

I was born/grew up in: I grew up in Umea which is in the north of Sweden.

I now live in: Oakville, Ontario.

I completed my training/education at: 

My hometown is built around the university and university hospital. I did my Master of Science and first research degree at the local university, Umea University. During that time, I spent one year at York University in Toronto and 6 months at a French research institute. I completed my PhD in computer science at the University of Toronto.


What I do at work

I work at Bank of Montreal in the Global Markets group. Global Markets is the trading part of the bank where we help clients raise money by issuing stocks or bonds. We also help investors buy or sell positions and help clients borrow money to invest.

I manage a small group within Global Markets that deals with stocks. The people in my group have many different backgrounds. Most have gone to university, some in STEM areas and some in other areas. While I have responsibilities as a manager, it’s a small group so I have time to work on problems myself. I like to work on complicated transactions or on problems important to Global Markets that can be put into a mathematical framework. Often that means figuring out what equations matter, working with data and statistics and some programming. This means that almost every day, I use some part of what I learned studying and doing research in the mathematical sciences.

My career path is

Throughout high school, I was interested in science. My dad was a professor, so I was familiar with universities. However, I didn’t know precisely what I wanted to do. In the end, I decided to do computer science since it’s a math focused degree. It also has good options to work for companies, if you want to, although I went on to do research instead. During my studies I searched for opportunities to spend time in other countries. I believe that seeing different ways of doing science teaches you more than you can learn staying at the same place.

After graduating I went to the University of Toronto to do my PhD in computer science. My plan at the time was to become a professor, so after finishing my PhD I took up a post-doctoral position at the Mathematics Institute at the University of Warwick in the UK where I spent two years doing research and teaching. The type of mathematics I was interested in has many applications in finance, so during my post doc I decided to move to London to work at investment banking.

The decision to leave research and work for a bank was an unusual twist since most mathematicians stay at universities. Going to work was still a common choice for STEM graduates of my age. There are many reasons why I decided to go work in the City of London. The two most important were that I was curious about working on a trading floor and wanted to work on more problems with more people. Collaboration is important in science but at the same time it is lonely compared to a trading floor with hundreds of people around you.

I am motivated by

I like to learn new things. There are constant changes to what matters for the bank, so I get new problems and new opportunities to learn. Being part of a large group also gives me opportunities to learn from others with different ideas and perspectives.

How I affect peoples’ lives

Finance can appear somewhat abstract but it’s an important part of the economy. To start or grow a company, most founders will need investments from others. Banks connect those in need of money for their business with investors who have money and want to invest it. Without middlemen that help connect demand to supply, the economy would not grow. The growth of the economy benefits the people of Canada through higher living standards.

Outside of work I

I like to read, climb, do adult gymnastics, and play with my kids.

My advice to others

I have two pieces of advice. First, I would study something that is really interesting to you rather than worry too much about the end goal. Curiosity is what makes it fun, and it should be fun but challenging to learn new things. The second piece of advice is something someone told me as a young student: take hard courses. Taking thoughtful risks and challenging yourself is how you grow.

When I was a student, I enjoyed:
  • Art
  • Computer Science
  • Geography
  • Physical Education/Health
  • Science
  • Math
When I was a student, I would have described myself as someone who:
  • Enjoyed doing things on my own
  • Liked helping people
  • Played on a sports team
  • Enjoyed working with my hands
  • Liked being given free range to explore my ideas
  • Liked reading
  • Wasn't sure what I wanted to do
  • Liked to design or build things

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