From Top Chef to Top Bank: How to Break Into Investment Banking in Canada

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Investment Banking Canada - RecruitingBack when I was visiting Canada last year, I discovered something disturbing within 2 days: no US banks had ATMs there.

Oh, and none of my debit cards worked correctly either.

Luckily, all places that offer bottle service (which served as my meal 3 times per day) accepted credit cards so it turned out OK.

But this little trip confirmed something that I already knew: finance in Canada is a much different world.

And I’m not just talking about ATMs.

Everything from the finance industry itself to exit opportunities to compensation and deals is… more different than you’d expect.

So today you’re going to learn all about how to gain secret, ninja advantages in interviews – directly from a reader who currently works in investment banking in Canada, and who’s had experience in venture capital and related industries there.

And you might just learn how to make the move from restaurant manager to financier along the way, too.

From Culinary School to… Venture Capital?

Q: Let’s start with your story, since it’s a good one. Walk us through how you got started in finance.

A: Sure. To begin with, I had a ton of family members in the industry – dozens of my cousins were working the finance in some capacity, and the rest were all PhD’s, doctors, or lawyers (which were boring and lower-earning professions, and therefore unappealing to me).

So I was exposed from an early age and each time I attended a family member’s graduation, I became increasingly interested in business.

I went to a top-tier Canadian university (one of the few that banks target here), but completed a biochemistry degree because I hadn’t yet liberated myself from the pre-med path that my parents had brainwashed me into following.

I didn’t want to live at home, so I paid for living expenses myself by working crazy hours at restaurants, ultimately becoming 2nd in command of the kitchen at one restaurant.

But as a result, I didn’t have nearly enough time to study and barely got through university – I passed with a sub-3.0 GPA.

Q: So I’m guessing that The Cooking Channel was a more likely future outcome for you than investment banking when you graduated?

A: Funny that you should mention that, because right after graduating I decided to attend culinary school – after which I ran the kitchen of a very successfully restaurant (one of the most prestigious and popular in my city – the equivalent of Per Se in New York).

And through that experience, I met lots of important people who were regular customers. I saw bankers coming in for closing dinners all the time, and realized then that I also wanted to get into the industry.

So I pursued my MBA with a focus in finance – and then graduated into a horrible recession, with very little going for me in terms of previous experience or credentials.

I thought about using my knowledge of the food & beverage industry to move into a consulting role there or to join a large company doing corporate finance, but hardly anyone was hiring.

Q: At which point you decided to open your own restaurant instead, right?

A: Nope. I decided to leverage my Rolodex rather than going through official recruiting channels, and contacted some of the bankers that I had met back at that kitchen I worked at.

They didn’t have anything at their firms, but they set me up to interview at a local venture capital firm that was looking to expand.

So I joined as an associate and worked for a decent firm with a decent amount of capital (“decent” meaning good for Canada, since the industry is so much smaller here).

It wasn’t a true VC firm because it was actually a very, very wealthy family who invested in everything from startups to huge companies to bonds and equities – so I did a bit of everything there.

I worked there for a while, but then left the VC firm after about 18 months because hiring at banks was picking up once again, and my old banker contacts from the restaurant “poached” me and set me up with an interview there.

They figured that since my old restaurant job involved working 70-80 hours per week and dealing with constant stress, high-maintenance customers, and running an entire organization, I could handle the rigors of banking as well!

Big 5 vs. Bulge Bracket: Death Match

Q: That makes a lot of sense – I think working at a restaurant is actually much closer to what you deal with as an analyst or associate than most normal office jobs.

What about the recruiting process itself? How does it differ in Canada, especially at the Big 5 Canadian banks (RBC, TD, Scotia Bank, BMO, and CIBC)?

A: The biggest difference is size. The industry is so much smaller here that even a top bank like TD sometimes hires fewer than 5 associates per year.

Altogether, you’re looking at maybe 60 – 70 new associates per year at boutique and bulge bracket banks across the entire country.

Another difference is that the hierarchy can be stricter here – analysts are pretty much always undergraduates, and 95% of associates are from the MBA pool.

In terms of the recruiting process itself, here’s what I went through at the Big 5 banks here:

  • 5 rounds of interviews, where they tell you the number of people in each round.
  • Round 1 consisted of 1,000 people applying for 4 positions, and they gave each person a 5-minute interview.
  • Round 2 consisted of 500 people and each person had a 10-minute interview.
  • Round 3 had around 150 – 200 people, and each person got a phone interview focusing on why they were interested in that bank, what role they wanted, and what industries they liked.
  • Round 4 was very technical and they dove into financial statement questions and the valuation of gold mines and similar natural resource assets. You had 3 chances to answer these types of questions correctly before they booted you.
  • Round 5 was similar to the “Superday” interviews you see in the US – around 20 people were left at this point for the 4 remaining positions. Most of the interviews were fit-focused, you would speak with a bunch of Partners, and they had a dinner event for everyone afterward.

Q: It sounds intense – I really want to make a reality TV show about the investment banking recruiting process one of these days and Canada would be a great setting for it.

So just out of curiosity, what types of questions about the valuation of gold mines did they ask you?

A: They said, “If I asked you to value a gold mine, what’s the first question you’d ask?” They gave me 3 chances to get it correct.

I said I would ask what the Proved Reserves are, which was wrong, and then I think I asked what the daily or annual Production was or what commodity prices were – all of which were wrong.

Q: So what was the answer they were looking for?

A: The CapEx of the project. I don’t know their exact rationale, but they claimed it was the most important factor.

And it only got more technical from there – they got into crazy questions about special cases for NAV models, valuing different types of resources, and so on if you passed the first set of screening questions.

Q: So how do you actually prepare for that?

A: The 4 guys that ended up winning those positions all had finance backgrounds. Actually, the top 20 candidates that made it to Superday all had finance backgrounds and had been investment banking analysts before even completing their MBAs.

To compete you need to have a high GPA from one of the top-tier schools for finance here, plus experience working as an analyst at one of the Big 5 banks. A few friends who were engineers before business school also got in, but they were applying to tech groups and knew the industry inside and out.

If you’re targeting the many Metals & Mining groups here, you don’t have a great shot without a really strong finance background.

And to answer the questions themselves, you need to get out there and network with people in the industry – you won’t find answers to these types of questions in books or training programs.

Q: And I’m guessing no banks had food & beverage sectors that matched your background?

A: Nope. So I was up against tough competition, and I broke in mostly because I networked so aggressively with the bankers I had met before business school.

US vs. Canada: Got Respect?

Q: Another common question on recruiting in Canada: how easy it is to break in coming from a US degree program compared to a Canadian one?

What’s your take on this? If you have the option, should you complete a US degree or Canadian degree?

A: At the undergraduate / analyst level, there isn’t a big difference between Canadian and US degrees. And they won’t help you out much with visas at that level either.

At the analyst level, it is much easier to move from the US to Canada than to do the reverse because the visa situation in the US is so difficult.

To win over the US government, banks have to prove that the Canadian person applying is more qualified than anyone else they could possibly find in the US – which is almost impossible to show, especially at the analyst level where everyone’s just a monkey.

It’s easier to move over once you have some experience, and I’ve seen a few people do that. But straight out of undergrad it’s tough.

The NAFTA-related TN1 visa is great for computer scientists or PhD’s, but it’s horribly useless for anything in business.

So you end up needing the H1-B visa, which is super difficult because they’re capped and they mostly go to highly-qualified Master’s and PhD graduates in technical fields.

Q: You mentioned that there isn’t a huge difference between US and Canadian schools at the undergraduate / analyst level – what about at the MBA level?

A: There, you have more of an advantage if you have an MBA from a top US school. I’ve seen lots of people get into the Big 5 banks here by doing that.

I don’t have a rational explanation for it, but the very top US programs (Harvard, Wharton, etc.) are more respected and better-known than most Canadian MBA programs.

Q: So what’s the best way to break into investment banking in Canada if you’re coming from a lesser-known school or you don’t have an impressive internship?

A: At the analyst level, banks only focus on 5 universities here – McGill, Ivey, Queen’s, Rotman, and Schulich. If you’re a native French speaker with a mastery of English and you want to stay in Quebec, Concordia would also be on that list.

If you’re not at one of those schools, it’s very, very difficult to get in without some kind of special edge and/or exhaustive networking.

So if you’re already set to graduate and you can’t transfer or you’ve already graduated, I would just work in an industry you’re interested in, become an expert, get some exposure to M&A, and then go to a top MBA program.

I think it’s generally easier to ninja your way into finance in the US or UK since the finance industry is so much bigger in both those places.

Q: Interesting to hear that one.

Switching gears, I wanted to go into how the finance industry itself is different and talk about some of your experience in venture capital and investment banking in Canada…

A: Wait, isn’t that what part 2 of this interview is for?

Q: Good point – stay tuned until then!

A: Will do.

Finance in Canada – Series:

About the Author

is the Founder of Mergers & Inquisitions and Breaking Into Wall Street. In his spare time, he enjoys learning obscure Excel functions, editing resumes, obsessing over TV shows, and traveling so much that he's forced to add additional pages to his passport on a regular basis.

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71 Comments to “From Top Chef to Top Bank: How to Break Into Investment Banking in Canada”

Comments

  1. K says

    Awesome, couple of questions:

    – I am currently in London and I got laid-off a month ago from a global bank (Half analyst class laid off). I am thinking about returning to Canada ( I hate London and want to be back home). With just 8 month experience (1 Year incl. internships), what is my scope of breaking in as a lateral hire? I am doing the BIWS oil and gas course to bolster my modelling knowledge. Or should I just stay in London, suck it up and plough through to find a job here?

    – With regards to the TN status, I read on WSO that it is very easy to get through the ‘Economist’ category. Are banks not willing to reword your employment letter to make it feasible?

    • says

      1) You might be able to get someone to hire you as a 2nd year analyst but more than likely it would be at a smaller bank. Someone else with more Canada-specific knowledge might be able to tell you more here.

      2) The interviewee here did not bring up this point although I didn’t ask specifically about the Economist category. I would be skeptical of anyone who says it’s “very easy” because usually dealing with US immigration policies is painful.

    • KN says

      With your Oil and Gas modelling course, I would highly advise that you look at the Alberta market – where oil and gas analysts are in demand. Just be ready to answer some intense Oil & Gas valuation and modelling questions and make sure you have a strong geological background, especially in tar sand related activities and procedures.

    • M&I - Nicole says

      - I think I’ve answered your same question a few days ago. As I’ve said, we can’t make the decision for you. If you want to stay in London, do so.
      – No because banks need to sponsor your visa, unless they really like you

  2. Curious says

    I networked with a bunch of people from the top Canadian MBA program and they told me that in Toronto there are only 15-20 associate level positions available every year for ALL banks put together, even in a good year. To put things in perspective, just Goldman Sachs hired 25 people from Wharton MBA in 2006-2007.

    For Toronto you have MBA grads from Rotman, Ivey, Schulich competing apart from the students from top US schools. The competition is just insane.

    For engineers, if you have a background in geology or mining engineering (Canadian universities offer this stream), recruiting is exponentially easier.

    • says

      Yes, but there are positions in places other than Toronto (Quebec, Alberta, etc.).

      I’m sure it may still be less than 60-70, but there are more than 15-20 if you look at the entire country. And you’d also have to count the tiny firms that might only hire 1 every 2 years.

  3. AJ says

    I am not sure about the 60-70 positions across the country part. I networked with a whole bunch of MBAs from top Canadian schools (Ivey/Rotman) and pretty much everyone I met told me there are only about 15-18 positions every year in Toronto and of-course the competition is insane.

    • Ex CDN Banker says

      Having worked at one of the big 5, i can confirm that the 60-70 new positions at the associate level is way too much. being directly promoted to associate is much more common than in the states so bank don’t have to hire a full class of associates every year (no more than 50% of bankers at my firm had MBA). And yes, because of the lack of attractive buy-side opportunities, a lot of analysts tend to come back to banking post MBA so it is extremely difficult to break-in without prior finance experience.

      Just to clarify, Concordia is an english University and is not very successful at placing students in IB (although they have significantly improved over the last couple years). HEC Montreal does provide a large portion of Montreal-based bankers. And having been heavily involved with recruiting, while it’s true that Ivey, Queen’s and McGill do provide a large portion of analyst, recruiting is done at a much large number of universities and is probably the most inclusive you’ll see pretty much everywhere.

      • KN says

        If one considered all of Canada and both boutique and Big 5 banks 60-70 associates annually is likely; considering 30-40% find quick exits. Look at Brookfield Investments as a non-Big 5; in Toronto alone they employee 7 associates (hired 3 in the past 6 months). Be mindful that many small shops specific to Oil & Gas are being founded in staggering numbers in Alberta; this alone accounts for 15-20 of the associate hires annually (IMHO).

        The older generation of IB associates didn’t have MBAs but it’s now more common.

          • says

            Not to be overly promotional, but there are lists of banks by region (including Canada/Alberta) in the Networking Ninja Toolkit offered here.

            Aside from that, simple Google searches work surprisingly well; just enter the city name and “LLC” or “Bank” or related terms and you will often find lots of small firms. Or, have a friend with Capital IQ access help you with finding the names.

          • KN says

            CapIQ; check out the CVCA (Canadian Venture Capital and Private Equity site); follow the M&A news in the oil sands and monitor which firms were represented in the press release. Then check out the firms that were mentioned.

            To give you an example; I noticed that a firm in Atlanta (I had never heard of) were lead on an M&A deal where I knew I had the right background and understanding and I would have added to the firm and future deals in a meaningful way. Remember that firms do specialize in particular sectors and will likely work on more than one deal in a certain space. Knowing this, I blindly reached out to an executive assistant and was told to apply in the new year because an Associate was on his/her way out. I re-applied just last week – heard back with “lets set up a meeting soon”. Now I just need to find out how much I am worth to them and if they will pay for my relocation from Canada. The visa part is easy for them to cover (10K) if they want me that badly! Good Luck eh!

  4. Justin says

    Hi everyone,

    Was in need of exactly this kind of article, thanks very much Brian and Ex CDN Banker!

    I know Ex CDN Banker mentioned the top 5 universities for undergrads and analysts in Canada, but are MBA students limited to those schools and the US Ivy Leagues as well?

    I’m an MBA Candidate at a UK non-target(Undergrad is also from a non-target). I have completed an Investment Banking internship at a boutique firm in New York, and 2 financial modeling programs including the BIWS Oil & Gas Modeling program, as well as the Canadian Securities Course, and I’m writing the CFA Level 1 in June. I’m very interested in getting into Private Equity as my 1st choice or IB as a close 2nd in either Toronto or Calgary, at either the analyst or associate level. I understand and accept it will be difficult and I am networking ‘like a ninja’ (lol), but would you go as far as saying I won’t get in because of the school I went to? Do you have any advice for someone in my situation?

    I greatly appreciate any other advice you can give, and I’m looking forward to part 2!

    Thanks,

    J

    • says

      1. It probably helps to go to one of the top schools, but I’m sure people have gotten in coming from elsewhere.

      2. I think you can still get in but it may have to be at a boutique or smaller firm, at least at first. The certifications will help in your case. The interviewee was mostly referring to the Big 5 banks focusing on only a select few schools, but there are other banks in the country.

  5. jt says

    Hi Brian

    I was just wondering what is stock trading/prop trading like in Canada then if the finance indusrty is so diffrent to US? and could you maybe do an artical on it?

    Do Canadian banks do alot of recruiting globally for example in the UK?

    is the financial services industry growing in Canada? and do you think it will catch up to the US and UK?

    Thanks

    • says

      I don’t think trading is as prominent in Canada in general, but there are still some positions in places like Toronto. I will see if anyone can add to that or do an interview in the future.

      Canadian banks mostly focus on recruiting at top Canadian schools.

      The industry is definitely growing, driven by commodities, but I don’t think it will catch up to the US/UK anytime soon due to the lower population, smaller # of companies and deals, etc.

      • Nick says

        Stock trading is definitely less prominent than in the US. However, there is a pretty decent number of hiring in derivatives trading (FX, IR, Commodities, CDS or equities) for the 6 Canadian Banks (I would include NBC/NBF when it comes to derivatives trading).

        Banks hire most of their S&T staff from Rotation Programs that you can enter after a Bachelor or a Master program (Msc in Finance, Financial Engineering, Financial Economics…) just like they do in the US. Nonetheless, since derivatives trading is much more technical than stock trading, there are more spots for students who completed a Master degree.

        At the associate level (entry-level after an Msc), the 6 banks might hire around 60 persons a year nationwide. It may look like a small figure but there are 30 million inhabitants in Canada, not 300.

  6. James says

    My background is almost identical to the interviewee. I went to a top-tier Canadian university, studied political theory (intended on law school) and graduated with a 3.0.

    Can the interviewee narrow down the list of potential MBA programs he attended? I had been considering doing an MBA myself however I figured my GPA would be a major obstacle.

    It seems like breaking into banking in Canada is almost impossible WITH a blue-chip background, let alone without one… What can one man do?

    • says

      I actually don’t know what program / type of program he attended but he may come back here and leave a comment to add more detail there.

      Yeah, breaking in in Canada is tough because of the smaller industry. I would expand your set of options and think about more than just banking, or about other regions (i.e. the UK where immigration can be a bit easier).

  7. Malcolm vivolo says

    As you mentioned, it s almost impossible to get from Canada to USA. I am canadian and want to work on wall street in one of the larger investment banks. How should I do this. I have the marks and other to get into American universities, but they are much more expensive. Should I :
    A) go to a top business school such as Ivey or McGill, and try to get a summer internship or a job after an undergrad
    B) spend more money and go to a top business university and get a job on wall street
    Just to clarify, by top invesment banks I mean Goldman Sachs and jp Morgan and others that size and stature

    • James says

      It is possible to get to wall street from Canadian schools, as some of my classmates did it, but it’s very difficult even when times are good.

      From undergrad your best shot is Ivey > Queen’s > Mcgill in that order. If you are prepared to wait and get an MBA from a top American school, then Mcgill or Queen’s engineering –> HBS is the way to go.

      Good luck, you’re going to need it.

      • Malcolm vivolo says

        Thank you James, I hav heard how hard it’s. If I were to go into Ivey, and very high marks, along with many extra ciricular activities, would I be able to get into ivestment banking on wall street? Or would it just be better to get into a top business school? I want the best possible chance, and I have a 4.0 gpa or 95% average. I also tutor, have the duke of enemborow gold award, along with a black belt in karate, I have a job, I made it to deca provincials, which is coming up, and I score very high on national math competitions. Does this sound like a person who could get into Harvard, Standford, or university of penn? I want to Garenty a job on wall street. Also, would u say getting an internship will help?

          • Malcolm vivolo says

            Sorry I was writing is on an iPad:/ I can seem to decide. I believe based off my grades and extra ciricular activities that I could get into a top American school, however, since I am Canadian, I will be paying a lot more than if I went to a target school in Canada. I believe that western Ivey looks like the school that I should go to. Before I clarify this, I should send some messages to top banks on wall street, and see what they think I should do. I know most of them will not answer, but even one or two people would be amazing. I believe that if I get an intern during the summer, my chances are higher to break into ib America.

    • M&I - Nicole says

      I think your chances are higher if you attend a target American university if you want to work in the States but pls note that many prefer to take Americans given the TARP money the received and quota they have for int’l students

  8. CHR says

    I’m in my 3rd of a 4 year JD/MBA program in a Canadian University and am interested in a career in IB. Average grades and no prior finance experience. Currently I’m also working in a corporate compliance role at one of the big 5 (started as summer associate last year and kept a permanent part time role).

    I’m applying right now to IB and S&T summer associate positions at my bank and my corp HR contact is attaching my (“exceptional”) evaluations to my application and sending it directly to the IB HR manager.

    According to this article, however, it seems like I don’t really have a chance at any big 5 bank due to my lack of prior experience. So, in terms of my competitiveness, should I just focus on networking into smaller firms at this late stage (if I even have a shot at that, considering I don’t have a finance related network at all) or are my chances so low I should just pursue securities/corporate law and try to lateral shift later?

    I’m also interested in S&T, I’m guessing the barriers to entry would be easier for an applicant with my background?

    • M&I - Nicole says

      Yes. Your chances are not high but you should still try.

      You can also pursue securities/corp law as your backup.

      Not really because you need experience in investing and ideally you’re very passionate about the markets, can think very fast, react under high pressure, perform in chaotic environments

    • KN says

      What about joining a law firm that works closely with the Canadian IBs post graduation. 99% of M&A is legal work (okay more like 85%).

      • CHR says

        Yeah, I’m afraid that’s what I’ll have to do. I just think it’s somewhat a waste doing something you’re not that excited about, just to build the resume to do something you genuinely want to do. Like Warren Buffet once said, that’s like saving sex for old age. lol

  9. Canadian undergrad says

    I think it’s quite misleading to attribute the difficulty for Canadian undergrads to head over to the US as an analyst to the “visa situation.” Yes it’s an uphill battle to do 2nd rounds in the US, but it definitely isn’t due to visa issues.

    I think the biggest factor is the facility of networking for the candidates, which leads to whether the Toronto recruiting team is willing to push candidates through to the US offices or if the US offices want to continue hiring from Canadian schools after trying a few out. For instance, an alum at a bulge bracket might vouch for a strong candidate from one of the top Canadian schools to be interviewed, and then this summer ends up outperforming the US summers, then the group might be more inclined to go back to the Canadian school to hire again next summer. As more of this happens, the Canadian contingent grows (this is definitely what I’ve seen happen during my time as an undergrad).

    Talking to classmates and students from other schools after their summers, it seems Canadian undergrads are much stronger in technicals and general finance awareness (probably simply due to the structure of our undergrad business programs), but technicals aren’t really the tipping factor in 2nd rounds, so they probably don’t get to shine as much.

  10. John says

    I think this post is misleading. I think it depends on the bank, but the majority of of MBA recruits at my bank (big 5 Canadian) did not have investment banking analyst experience before joining. Generally some associates have analyst experience but they were usually promoted internally.

    I also don’t understand the mine valuation question – the valuation will be determined by the future cash flows with the CapEx being one key component that affects the cash flow especially in the early years.

    If you’re dead-set on working on Wall Street as a Canadian, either goto a US school or goto Ivey. The difference between Ivey and the other Canadian universities in terms of US opportunities is massive.

    CHR, I think you should absolutely stick with it as long as your grades are there, though getting your foot in the door during the summer will be critical

    • CHR says

      Thanks for the encouragement John. I’ve submitted as and am preparing for interviews right now. I’d love to hear about your background or about any more recruiting tips if you’ve got some free time. You can e-mail me your contact info at chr1120@hotmail.com.

    • says

      It varies based on the bank, the year, the economy, etc. I think it’s hard to say anything definitive without actually seeing the data at all banks over a multi-year period, which no one has.

  11. Albert says

    Would you say that, past the actual part of getting an interview, your school/marks play little to no role in getting you the job assuming you got an interview through OCR? Or will the name of your school and your grades be considered at every interview?

  12. CHR says

    Just thought I’d let anyone interested know that I just did a first round IB SA interview with CIBC WM today and it was ALL technical (except for the “walk me through your resume” and “why CIBC” questions). The questions were very reasonable and not overly difficult. Although I did get one tough question about comparing the reliability of a DCF of a gold mine to a widget company (their answer? gold mine DCF would be more accurate because, aside from the price of gold, there are relatively less assumptions you need to make) Oh, and the only market knowledge question was “give me a stock tip.” Anyone else interview today?

  13. Rohan says

    Nice article about south america
    I hope you cover some other cities of continental europe.Maybe Paris,Madrid or even Copenhagen soon

  14. M says

    Based on my own experience: there are only 2 rounds of interviews and they don’t ask you crazy NAV/Gold mine questions. And not a lot of MBAs are ex-bankers, because if you’re already an IB analyst in Canada, you’re likely to get promoted or you can lateral to other banks as associate – so absolutely no point going back to school and wasting 2 years there.

  15. UofT Engineering says

    Hi,

    I was wondering if Engineering at UofT is a target for the top Canadian banks. The article lists Rotman which is the finance school of the University of Toronto but I’m curious about how people interested in finance from engineering undergraduate degrees fare in recruitment.

    Regards

    • M&I - Nicole says

      I think you still stand a chance w an engineering background as long as you have a basic understanding of finance and know the modelling/valuation skills

      • UofT Engineering says

        Thanks, but would the fact that UofT isn’t as much of a target as Ivey/Queen’s put me at a significant disadvantage?

        I was hoping being in Toronto would give me the opportunity to cold call some firms and get work experience that might help with getting a job after graduation. Is the number of jobs available in Canadian IBs so few that this is highly unlikely to work?

  16. Kenny says

    So does it mean if I can’t get into the top 5 MBA Schools, I have no chance getting into investment banking? Even Venture Capital, IPOs, Capital markets, and equity research and etc? Does age really matter?
    Thanks.

  17. Ng87 says

    Each year hundreds, if not thousands, of international students flock to Canadian MBAs with IB aspirations. Most of them don’t have previous finance experience.

    Do all of them end up going into other fields? (IF they get placed at all, Canadian MBAs have pretty low placement rates when compared to their USA counterparts, except for Desautels).

    Also even if there are only 20 odd IB hires every year in Toronto, is the number of summer interns hired into IB also the same?

  18. Jay says

    after going through some articles on the website, i feel like i have a general idea of what IB does and what a trader does. I think i am pretty lucky to see these stuff when im still young enough (high school) to pursue them. SO, thank you.
    Anyway, i have a brief question about being a trader.
    So, I am in Canada, looking forward to be a trader in the future.
    I am planning to do math and application in finance at university of toronto.
    Based on what I saw, i feel like this is a right approach. So, what do you think are the target schools in Canada? U of Toronto?
    Considering the competition is insane, what is my second choice with a math degree in hand?
    thx a lot

    • M&I - Nicole says

      Yes, University of Toronto is a reputable school.
      Having a second degree is useful, but not as useful as having relevant experience in banking and a strong drive to succeed in industry (passion and knowledge of industry matter)

  19. tosh says

    For those who are familiar with canadian IB recruiting trends. What do you think about JMSB ( concordia). I have the choice to go to either Mcgill or Concordia. Seems that mCgill has a better name on paper.On the other hand, concordia offers a co-op program and a portfolio management program for top students ( to run something like a 1.5m fund with other students). Both are located in Montreal. Therefore, it is hard decision.

  20. Brian says

    Hi Brian,
    I’m currently a student at one of the five target schools you mentioned and I will be starting my 2nd year in September. What kind of internship should I be looking for in my sophomore summer in order to land an IB internship in my 3rd year? Also, should I focus on learning the technical knowledge or should I be more involved in extra-curricular activities?
    Thank you so much!

    • M&I - Nicole says

      It can be challenging to get an IB internship as a sophomore, though I’d try anyway. Otherwise, I’d try for other divisions within big names (i.e. wealth management etc) within MS, Credit Suisse, UBS. This can also be challenging too. Another route is to intern for boutiques because their recruiting structure maybe less regimented. I think you may want to focus on both if possible. Extra-curricular – try to join an investment or finance club.

      • Brian says

        I don’t think interning at those big names is realistic for me. Most of the students at my school focus on getting into the Big 5 banks in Canada.(RBC,CIBC,BMO,TD,Scotia) Would working at a small boutique be a better option? The problem is the ones I’m looking at are all small,unknown firms in Toronto. On top of that, it is necessary to propose working for free? These firms have very few employers so they may not have the budget to compensate interns.

  21. Usson says

    Hi,
    Is it tough for foreigners to break into investment banking in Canada?
    I know the visa-issue in the US is quite overwhelming, but how about in Canada? Do you have any knowledge of people breaking in at the analyst level?
    Thanks for your time,

  22. Inv_Bank_Dan says

    Hi, I just completed MBA but not from any of the top 5 Canadian MBA programs. I was told by a friend that getting into any of the top 5 Canadian banks as an Investment Banking Associate will need a good GPA from any of the top 5 Canadian MBA programs and advised that i apply to the Investment Banking Analyst position. Does this really make sense when i have an MBA ?

      • Inv_Bank_Dan says

        Thanks M&I – Nicole.
        So getting an Investment Banking position is that difficult, an MBA graduate from a non top 5 Canadian university will have to apply to an Analyst position and not Associate just to get in.

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