I went from Zimbabwe,
one of the poorest
countries in the world, to
Dubai, one of the richest.
It was eye-opening to see
the extremes in wealth
amuel Imbeault remembers car rides with his father when
he was a child. His father would talk about his business
transactions and, although he did not understand much
of what was said, he sensed his father's excitement and what he
did understand fascinated him. It was the start of something
that became a desire to be part of the world of fi nance: the art
of managing money, the complex mergers and hedges, the almost
military strategy required to put together a deal.
Of course, having a dream is the easy part; the tough part is the
sacrifi ce, dedication, and plain hard work necessary to transform
the dream into reality, particularly because so many students
aspire to elite, high-paying investment jobs. But the fourth-year
honours economics and Commerce student was just hired as an
investment analyst with CIBC, one of only three this year out of
a fi eld of more than 4,400 applicants.
Imbeault realized early on that he would need to stand out from
graduates across the country. He is known as a tireless worker -- one
of his professors says he worries Imbeault works too hard. Th is, plus
sheer natural talent, has resulted in a stellar transcript, two major
Canadian scholarships, and numerous Mount Allison awards.
But what really sets Imbeault apart is his international experience.
Each summer he has taken business courses from international uni-
versities and travelled on his own, oft en in remote areas of the world.
Th e summer aft er his fi rst year, Imbeault studied in the U.K. Th e
following year he went a little further afi eld.
"I wanted to step out of my comfort zone, so I went to Asia," he says.
First he studied at a world-renowned business school in Seoul,
then travelled through Korea, Japan, and China.
In China, Imbeault went where no tourists go, gaining an under-
standing of the depth of the diff erent cultures and business practices.
"I landed at the airport, not speaking the language, and immersed
in a culture I didn't understand. It was really exciting," he says.
He is impressed by the Chinese economic juggernaut.
"You feel the energy. It feels like when you wake up in the morning
the city is bigger than when you went to sleep."
Last summer Imbeault worked as an economic policy intern for
the government of Gauteng, South Africa. Th is province alone
generates 29 per cent of the GDP of the entire African continent.
Th ere he got a taste of the limitations of going by the book.
"Th ings in a textbook work in the framework of the model, but as
soon as you pull it out of that framework, then you have to under-
stand the limitations of where it can and cannot be applied," he says.
Imbeault also went to Dubai and took a course on the Muslim fi nan-
cial system. He travelled through several African countries as well.
"You see some incredible things, but some pretty sad and disturbing
things as well. I went from Zimbabwe, one of the poorest coun-
tries in the world, to Dubai, one of the richest. It was eye-opening
to see the extremes in wealth."
Imbeault has travelled far since he sat in the backseat of the family
car and now is about to begin the next stage.
"It has been forever my path. Well, aft er playing hockey in the nHL,
which was my fi rst dream, but it didn't work out," he jokes.
by Raine Phythian
Samuel Imbeault gets up close with a young lion during a visit to an
animal rehabilitation centre in Zimbabwe