Claus Choy- B.Eng. Computer Engineering

HKSN alumnus, Claus Choy, pursued a major in computer engineering during his time at McGill. He speaks about his current career, insight regarding his experience with extracurricular involvement, and how multiple factors shaped him to be the person he is today.

Tell us about what you (have) studied at McGill.

I studied Computer Engineering. I didn’t really know if I would like Computer Engineering when I picked it or if it would further me in my career choice after University, but coding was fun when I was first introduced to it so I kept at it.

Interviewer’s note: for more information on McGill’s Electrical and Computer Engineering program, please refer to https://www.mcgill.ca/study/2012-2013/faculties/engineering/undergraduate/ug_eng_dept_of_electrical_and_computer_engineering

I was also decent at logic related subjects so that didn’t hurt either. I think the best thing to do with picking a major is asking yourself the question: “Will I be bored if I have to learn this for 4 years? If the answer is yes, then you probably shouldn’t pick it; that simple really.

What have you been doing after your graduation?

I am currently working at HSBC in Production Support, supporting the Metals and Derivatives trading platforms. Luckily I’m one of the few people that actually like their job, as most of my friends give me the “a job’s a job” kind of answer. What I do day to day is actually similar to what I did in university. I’m essentially problem solving on a daily basis, which I’ve always liked and this was what my entire engineering degree was all about.

I know that working at a bank is not the same as working for a Tech firm developing the most cutting edge technology.

But what drew me to this position was that what I do day to day has high impact on the business.

If I as IT mess something up, the traders may not have their positions up to date and therefore cannot trade for a period of time, or an incorrect sum can get debited from a high priority client.

I am also quite interested in finance because I feel like that’s the channel that people use to make the most money. Being exposed to all of these different products all the time and being able to see how companies react to the market from the inside allows me to learn a lot and hopefully, I can put this knowledge to use personally someday.

What were some valuable involvements at school that taught about yourself and oriented your goals?

To be honest, I think the process of joining HKSN opened my eyes to what really mattered in life.

It was always engrained in me that education, and therefore studying, was the most important thing I as a student should do. But this scenario made me realize that the reason my parents always told me that studying was the priority was so that eventually I would be able to land myself a good job and they wouldn’t have to worry about me anymore.

I initially was going to give up applying because the application at the time was quite long and I had other school work that was getting in the way. But my friend pushed me to complete it after I complained about how stressful it was to do, stating that I needed to study. She told me that since I was so enthusiastic to try for it, that I should see it to the end and not regret my decision afterwards because studying and getting good grades isn’t everything.

It made me realize that it’s the other stuff in life combined with your grades that molds you into the portfolio of a person that good companies would like to hire.

The end goal in university isn’t really to get good grades, it’s to eventually get a good job so your parents don’t need to stress out and worry about you. So achieving that by purely studying or by building yourself up as a candidate by doing multiple different things doesn’t matter.

One isn’t necessarily better than the other. That helped me realize this and made me less stressful and more open to doing things during my time in university.

What advice would you give to younglings at McGill?

Try to do the things you want to do and spend your time there with no regrets.

University isn’t all about studying, but don’t slack off in a major way either. I think it’s best to have a good balance because once you start working, it’s a little harder. Your friends aren’t a 2 minute walk away and not everyone is down to do things at any time anymore. There also isn’t a common area where people the same age just hang out. So don’t miss the opportunity of doing things when you have the chance, like making friends or joining clubs or attending events and what not.

I also think it’s really important to surround yourself with people that can influence you in a positive way,

because whereas good friends will help you further yourself, bad friends will take you down with them. Be a little selective with who you become friends with but also be open for it.