R.A.I.N. Conference Call Series - February 26th Highlights

On Wednesday February 26th, R.A.I.N. Career Institute was joined by Franklin Gumeyi on our bi-weekly conference call. Franklin shared his journey from working at EY in Africa and New York City, to coming to Toronto in order to pursue his MBA and ultimately securing a full-time position as an Investment Banking Associate with RBC Capital Markets.

For those who were not able to call in last Wednesday, a brief summary of the call is highlighted below:

At the beginning of the call Franklin described the details of the investment banking recruiting process as an MBA candidate: 

“I knew quite a bit about how the recruiting process worked in the U.S. and over there you have multiple firms coming on campus to conduct coffee chats to try to get to know the candidates better. Here in Canada it’s completely different. The banks here prefer to use networking events and case competitions to get to know you. You also need to make sure you maintain strong grades as there is a huge emphasis placed on your marks. Interview preparation was also tough because the process happens so quickly that you need to start preparing for interviews you don’t necessarily have yet.”

He also touched on some of the challenges and advantages he had recruiting as an international student:

“I was fortunate to speak to a lot of other international students and the biggest piece of advice I got was how important it was to go on coffee chats. Asking people to get coffee isn’t a common practice in Africa so learning how to make the most out of those coffee chats was important. You also need to work a bit harder to convince people that your experience working in an emerging market is relevant to the jobs that you’re looking for.”

“When you’re networking with people in the industry, having an international background gives you a unique and memorable story. I was able to tell my journey from Zimbabwe to Canada and I think that stood out to a lot of people. Even when I was on the job, being from an emerging economy, I was able to provide different perspectives on some industries that may operate differently in Africa.”

The call finished with Franklin imparting some final words of advice for those with international backgrounds interested in breaking in to the finance industry:

“Make sure you take advantage of your background to build an interesting story and really use that to sell yourself. Make sure you’re confident. Don’t just let your profile or your work speak for itself when you’re interviewing and make sure to recognize your strengths. Always be humble but make sure you can also prove what value you bring to the table.”

During the Q&A session at the end of the call, a R.A.I.N. member asked Franklin how his views on investment banking changed before and after his internship:

“Coming in, I was a bit concerned given the stereotype of MBA Associates. I was fortunate that RBC gave me the chance to really prove myself. They still put me through the ringer but everyone was supportive and always willing to help. I also heard a lot of negatives about the work-life balance in investment banking but I didn’t find it much worse than working during the busy season at EY so thankfully there wasn’t a huge adjustment to be made there.”