10 Questions with Phil Watanabe

Meet Phil Watanabe who is a trainer and manages our Marqueepedia library of online courses. Phil is a skilled athlete, an extensive podcast listener and a passionate financial modeler, check out our interview with him.

What Marquee courses would you take if you were in the early stages of your career in finance?

If I could go back in time, taking our Building a Model and Excel 1 course would have saved me hundreds of hours and massively improved the quality of my work in the early stages of my career at BMO.

I would definitely take our Python courses regardless of whether or not I envisioned a future in programming.   The demand for Python skills, is only going to increase in the future.  Bogdan Tudose, who teaches the course is an incredibly clear and patient instructor.

Why did you join the Marquee Group?

In 2016, I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do next in my career. I had spent almost 18 years as a trader and wanted to do something new. I decided that I had to meet and talk to as many people as possible who were outside of the sales and trading space. I ended up having over 500 conversations with people, mostly in the financial services space but outside of sales and trading. It was incredible how helpful people were in setting up meetings with some of their relationships. I had an Excel spreadsheet with every single meeting and in one line, summarized what I had learned and also the name of anyone that they thought I should meet with next. My conversation with Ian Schnoor, the founder of Marquee Group, really stood out as a fantastic, uplifting conversation. His passion for The Marquee Group and teaching, along with clearly articulated, positive ideas about the future was inspiring. It was a conversation that changed the direction of my life.

Q. You are a huge podcast fan. What podcasts do you listen to?

A. I listen to between 400 and 500 podcasts each year. I also track those on an Excel spreadsheet. I rank every podcast on a scale of 1 to 5 and then summarize the key takeaway in one sentence. My general rule is that anything health and fitness or self improvement related, I listen at between 1.5x and 2.0x normal speed. Anything else, I listen to at regular speed and enjoy the conversation. My favourite podcast is Shane Parrish’s “The Knowledge Project”. He asks great questions and gives his guests tons of space to answer the questions. I also like the Tim Ferriss show. For health topics, I typically listen to Found My Fitness which is hosted by Dr. Rhonda Patrick.

Are there any podcast episodes that you would recommend?

Tim Ferriss’ interview with Jamie Foxx was incredible – there are 2 parts to it. The next one was not a podcast, rather it was a conversation, hosted by Indigo, which was a discussion between Tessa Virtue and her mental coach J.F. Menard. Who would have known that even an incredible athlete like Tessa Virtue suffers from imposter syndrome!

You have played a lot of ultimate frisbee in your life – talk about that for a second.

Ultimate Frisbee has been a passion of mine for a long time. I played professionally, with the Toronto Rush which is a team that plays in the American Ultimate Disc League (AUDL).

Are you related to Yuta Watanabe of the Toronto Raptors?

No I’m not related to him – at least not that I know of. However, I am a big Raptors fan and we cheer for him every time he steps on the court. We also have “Watanabe” jerseys on the way.

You really like coffee. Is there anything special about how you make it?

I always get my coffee beans from Pilot Coffee. It’s an amazing local roaster. I grind my beans right before I make the coffee and then I use an Aeropress, which is a really cheap, manual way to make coffee. I do miss my downtown coffee spots – Boxcar Social, Dineen, and Mos Mos.

You have watched a lot of movies with your family during the pandemic. What have you been watching and what are 3 movies that you have watched recently that you would recommend to others?

Our family, like many others I’m sure, have watched tons of movies. We have really enjoyed watching a full series of movies in sequential order. We have watched all of the Star Wars Movies, all of the Harry Potter movies and currently we are watching all of The Avengers.

Outside of watching a series, we really liked Soul, Enola Holmes, and Jumanji – Welcome to the Jungle.

What is the biggest game changing health and fitness tip that you have heard on the podcasts and implemented yourself?

Every single top performer prioritizes sleep. We all need more sleep. And naps.

What is one thing that you are looking forward to doing when the pandemic is over?

Going to see my 85 year old Dad in Ottawa.