R.A.I.N. Conference Call Series - October 8th Highlights

On Thursday October 8th, R.A.I.N Career Institute was joined by Sarina Cui on the first bi-weekly conference call of the new academic year. Sarina shared her experiences on coming from China to Canada to pursue her undergraduate studies and her interest in finance and how she ultimately secured a full-time position as an Investment Banking Analyst with BMO Capital Markets. Highlights of our conversation with Sarina are below for those who were unable to tune-in: 

At the beginning of the call, Sarina described some of the major obstacles that she overcame being an international student
“According to me presentation skills are one of the most important set of skills that can differentiate candidates. Coming from China I had small trouble with the language barrier in my first couple of years while networking and reaching out to people for coffee chats. Understanding and buying into the entire culture of Canada was extremely important in order to find common ground with people. Also having basic accounting knowledge and being able to read financial statements was a great help and having had no prior experience of that in high-school I had to learn it all when I came to Canada.”

In terms of what she didn’t expect coming into the investment banking industry
“I had heard a lot of negative things about work life balance and working long hours, but I have really enjoyed the work and working with my team. I didn’t expect to be on the same conference call as the CFO and just listening to the opinion of the Senior Management is extremely interesting and a great learning process. Working on deals has been a very enjoyable experience as well and did not expect the amount of freedom given to me during pitches. I think just being around and learning from extremely knowledgeable and experienced people helps you become a much more well-rounded person both professionally and personally.” 

In the Q&A portion of the call, students had the opportunity to ask Sarina questions - including what previous internship experience they look for in investment banking recruiting and tips for securing a first internship:

“I understood the importance of networking in first year itself and started to reach out to firms and various professionals in the industry with my resume and secured an internship at a tech consulting firm. Having joined the Rotman Finance Club, for my second internship a lot of the seniors encouraged me to apply to boutique Investment Banking firms in order to get great hands on experience of the work and the culture. Networking was extremely crucial be it with senior year students or with professionals in the industry. For my third internship I got an offer from BMO Capital Markets as an Investment Banking Analyst and ended up securing a return offer too. Coffee Chats and networking were the important tool for me to get a foothold in the industry and making the most use of them is key to landing an Investment Banking position.

“Connect with people on a regular basis, keep in touch with them by sending a follow-up email every few months as this demonstrates interest and willingness to go the extra mile.

Always ask for recommendations and what you should do in order to improve your candidacy. This helps in building relations and will help in one way or the other in the future.”