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Job market in Canada for CFA Charterholders

Hey guys!

First time writing on analystforum although i’ve followed it for years now. I would soon be moving to Canada and was just wondering if anyone could shed some light on what the job market for CFA charterholders is like? I’ve got 2+ Equity Research experience in Asia and some experience in working at a corporate treasury. Ideally i would like to get in to a corporate finance or corporate strategy division and would like to stay in Toronto, Montreal or Vancouver but honestly wouldn’t mind moving in to a smaller city if there are better opportunities. I have the option of doing an MBA as well but wonder if the cost, which is likely to be CAD 100k+ is really worthwhile. 

Any thoughts or insights on the matter would be highly appreciated. 

I would recommend going for a top MBA here

Thanks Cooler! very insightful. I guess its safer to go for an MBA program rather than trying to break in to the industry on my own!

It is certainly not “safer” to spend 100k in hopes of getting a job when you are perfectly qualified already. Yes, an MBA might be your best bet to break in, but you literally have nothing to lose by getting your resume and cover letters together and applying to 20 jobs to see what happens. That is far “safer”. The worst that can happen is you don’t hear back and you can still go get an MBA, best thing that could happen is you get a great job and save yourself from spending what might take you a 5-10 years to save.

apply now. See what happens.

Yeah certainly I am going to float my resume around and see. But given the dim outlook of the market I think it makes sense to start applying for MBA programs sooner than later. I was wondering whether I should delay the application process by about a year to see if i can land a decent job but if that fails it would hurt my chances of getting in to a decent MBA program. 

don’t come til you have a job. Sorry to say this but it’s true. People ignore this advice but then spend a year looking for a job here burning their savings and end up making 40k doing something barely related to their field. By then you’re too far committed and end up in a lifetime of misery and regret, making a poor wage, no prospects, and living 1+ hr out of the city. Especially if you are coming from decent finance experience prepare to be disappointed.

^ I’m not sure how many times we can say that Canada is already way over saturated with finance professionals and people who want to be in finance. It’s a hard enough for native Canadians who speak perfect english and went to the right schools. 

According to this, Toronto has the highest CFA charterholders per capita http://www.newswire.ca/news-releases/cfa-society-toronto-congratulates-n..., and IIRC, Canada is the highest per capita as far as countries go.

krazykanuck wrote:

^ I’m not sure how many times we can say that Canada is already way over saturated with finance professionals and people who want to be in finance. It’s a hard enough for native Canadians who speak perfect english and went to the right schools. 

According to this, Toronto has the highest CFA charterholders per capita http://www.newswire.ca/news-releases/cfa-society-toronto-congratulates-n..., and IIRC, Canada is the highest per capita as far as countries go.

i really wanna know what’s the solution of this problem. 

How are the mid-level cities like? Or even Montreal/Vancouver or Calgary? I would honestly like to stay away from Toronto as it costs a fortune to live there plus i’ve read some stories about horrible work-life balance in the GTA! Plus i’m not targeting buy-side/sell-side jobs or banking. Looking for a decent Corp fin gig at a local firm or an MNC. 

On the other hand, if the market is this competitive even an MBA would not give you a major edge right? Apart from access to networking channels, which you can build urself if you are willing to put in the effort, anything else that makes an MBA program more appealing? 

hemaka wrote:

How are the mid-level cities like? Or even Montreal/Vancouver or Calgary? I would honestly like to stay away from Toronto as it costs a fortune to live there plus i’ve read some stories about horrible work-life balance in the GTA! Plus i’m not targeting buy-side/sell-side jobs or banking. Looking for a decent Corp fin gig at a local firm or an MNC. 

On the other hand, if the market is this competitive even an MBA would not give you a major edge right? Apart from access to networking channels, which you can build urself if you are willing to put in the effort, anything else that makes an MBA program more appealing? 

Finding a job in the downturn requires a willingness to 'check your ego,' career counsellors say.

hemaka wrote:

How are the mid-level cities like? Or even Montreal/Vancouver or Calgary? I would honestly like to stay away from Toronto as it costs a fortune to live there plus i’ve read some stories about horrible work-life balance in the GTA! Plus i’m not targeting buy-side/sell-side jobs or banking. Looking for a decent Corp fin gig at a local firm or an MNC. 

On the other hand, if the market is this competitive even an MBA would not give you a major edge right? Apart from access to networking channels, which you can build urself if you are willing to put in the effort, anything else that makes an MBA program more appealing? 

Go to states.

Asian + Indian mentality = I’m just going to keep accumulating credentials with no work experience or work experience from my home country, then come to Canada to make a lot of money, if that fails I’m going to get an MBA preferrably at Schulich or Rotman.

Lol. First I have not been accumulating credentials without work experience. If you bothered to read my post I have decent experience in finance in my home country and if you didn’t know already, its extremely tough/next to impossible for an Asian to break in to a developed market right after their bachelors unless if they had studied in that country. So I know that I would have to attach a discount to my experience but i dnt think that should stop anyone from pursuing their dreams.

On the other hand, I’m not coming to Canada to make a lot of money. (making it big in investment banking or fund management is not my goal) If i wanted to do that I would’ve considered a much larger developed market in Asia or US. So thanks for laying out the “typical mindset” of Asians for me! But on top of that do you have anything of value you might like to add?

Then why bother coming to Canada, why not stay in your home country since you have work experience there and I assume you studied there. I’m not trying to be an ass, I’m trying to reason with you. One of the reasons why Canada is a tough market is because we accept a lot of highly qualified immigrants who then try to compete with locals who are also highly qualified but they get the benefit of being a local. All I’m saying is that this influx of qualified immigrants is a trap, there aren’t enough high paying jobs because Canada’s market is very small. But our government keeps on accepting these highly qualified immigrants because 1. it looks good on paper so that bleeding heart liberals can say Canada is a multicultural inclusive society that makes us look good on the world stage. 2. with declining population where is the government going to get the tax dollars.

The grass isn’t always greener on the other side.

^ Risking making $40K in Canada is better than being chased around by mosquitoes, breathing polluted air, stuck in traffic 4hrs/day, being harassed by men every single day on the streets in third world countries (some exaggeration but it’s close). That’s why people move. You won’t be able to relate to that unless you’ve lived it.

Not to mention good healthcare and education for kids.

I’ve been fortunate enough to travel to many parts of asia, primarily Hong Kong, Shanghai, Beijing, Tokyo, Taiwan, Singpaore and Malaysia. All of which are by no means 3rd world countries but I understand the harassment thing when I visited Malaysia. I’ve heard it’s terrible in certain parts of India. But nonetheless I am not discouraging the OP from coming to Canada, living standards here are great but it isn’t cheap. My family immigrated to Canada in the 90’s, and back then it was much easier than it is now. Like all things in life timing and luck do come into play. For the OP to come to Canada, he/she is just adding to the competition in the already very competitive job market that he/she doesn’t want or need.

foxdeux wrote:

Asian + Indian mentality = I’m just going to keep accumulating credentials with no work experience or work experience from my home country, then come to Canada to make a lot of money, if that fails I’m going to get an MBA preferrably at Schulich or Rotman.

Guess what! You don’t learn to network or make friends through exams.

Lol Cooler! I certainly wouldn’t call the demise of the Indian IT industry to be a good thing. The sooner countries like India and Sri Lanka develop, the sooner citizens would be able to enjoy better standards of living putting an end to this urge to migrate. 

foxdeux wrote:

Then why bother coming to Canada, why not stay in your home country since you have work experience there and I assume you studied there. I’m not trying to be an ass, I’m trying to reason with you. One of the reasons why Canada is a tough market is because we accept a lot of highly qualified immigrants who then try to compete with locals who are also highly qualified but they get the benefit of being a local. All I’m saying is that this influx of qualified immigrants is a trap, there aren’t enough high paying jobs because Canada’s market is very small. But our government keeps on accepting these highly qualified immigrants because 1. it looks good on paper so that bleeding heart liberals can say Canada is a multicultural inclusive society that makes us look good on the world stage. 2. with declining population where is the government going to get the tax dollars.

The grass isn’t always greener on the other side.

I believe this is very true. Canada has been accepting a lot of immigrants lately and most have a bachelors at the very least. This influx is going to turn a job market that’s already bad even worse.

But what you might be able to understand is that for a person from a third world country, living off minimum wage in Canada offers much better quality of life than one can enjoy here even while making a decent salary. Not to mention living amidst a liberal and a multi-cultural society and everything @tactics mentioned. This is why so many from developing countries like India and Philippines apply and migrate to Canada (i’m not Indian btw, I’m from Sri Lanka). For someone from a third world country this is a “golden opportunity”.

So is there anything that an immigrant can do to stand out in this job market? My initial plan was to apply for a few MBA programs whilst trying my luck in the job market but after reading all these comments i’m not sure even a good MBA (i’m eyeing Ivey, McGill or Sauder) is gonna cut it!

hemaka wrote:

Lol Cooler! I certainly wouldn’t call the demise of the Indian IT industry to be a good thing. The sooner countries like India and Sri Lanka develop, the sooner citizens would be able to enjoy better standards of living putting an end to this urge to migrate. 

I didn’t know what you don’t understand the math of this argument?

LOL

The harder the battle , the sweeter the victory.

Another thing! 

hemaka wrote:

But what you might be able to understand is that for a person from a third world country, living off minimum wage in Canada offers much better quality of life than one can enjoy here even while making a decent salary. Not to mention living amidst a liberal and a multi-cultural society and everything @tactics mentioned. This is why so many from developing countries like India and Philippines apply and migrate to Canada (i’m not Indian btw, I’m from Sri Lanka). For someone from a third world country this is a “golden opportunity”.

Those benefits of living in a developed country are real. However, people also derive satisfaction from their relative position in society. So, someone might be happier being in the 90th percentile in India compared to the 30th percentile in Canada, even if the measurable living standard in Canada is higher.

“The aliens on Mars cloned Hillary Clinton.” - Turd Furgeson

ohai wrote:

Those benefits of living in a developed country are real. However, people also derive satisfaction from their relative position in society. So, someone might be happier being in the 90th percentile in India compared to the 30th percentile in Canada, even if the measurable living standard in Canada is higher.

This! It defines the overall satisfaction of your life. 

Cooler wrote:

hemaka wrote:

Lol Cooler! I certainly wouldn’t call the demise of the Indian IT industry to be a good thing. The sooner countries like India and Sri Lanka develop, the sooner citizens would be able to enjoy better standards of living putting an end to this urge to migrate. 

I didn’t know what you don’t understand the math of this argument? So basically you are saying that west needs to transfer its wealth to 3rd world countries to improve the standard of living. For how many people? 1+billion? That’s stupid! 

Its not the wealth transfer which is going to solve the problem. It’s the accountability of citizens in their counties which is going to change the tide. if Indians could work together and took pride in it, the whole nation wouldn’t be suffering like this today. 

I support DJT’s new green card policy and also to increase minimum salary for H1B visa. Indians are the most hypocrite people to be honest. You complain about racism here let me tell Indian companies in usa literally hired every possible low quality software engineer who work 15 hours a day to fill jobs which Americans could do. That’s a shame! If you are given an opportunity, please respect the laws and nature of this civic society. 

Was’nt talking about a transfer of wealth. I was referring to how the establishment of industries that a country has a competitive advantage in could lift its population out of poverty and improve standards of living. This is how Singapore and Malaysia developed and third world nations like ours need to follow a similar path.  Improved living standards take away the incentive to migrate. that was my argument.

As for the question on fulfillment, I think it really depends on the individual. Not everyone seeks fulfillment though their careers or their relative position in society. People have different goals they wish to accomplish. Migrating to a developed country may or may not help them do that. But it’s unfair to say that majority of immigrants tend to have unfulfilled lives. Most enjoy the better quality of life and better opportunities made available for their children. 

hemaka wrote:

Cooler wrote:

hemaka wrote:

Lol Cooler! I certainly wouldn’t call the demise of the Indian IT industry to be a good thing. The sooner countries like India and Sri Lanka develop, the sooner citizens would be able to enjoy better standards of living putting an end to this urge to migrate. 

I didn’t know what you don’t understand the math of this argument? So basically you are saying that west needs to transfer its wealth to 3rd world countries to improve the standard of living. For how many people? 1+billion? That’s stupid! 

Its not the wealth transfer which is going to solve the problem. It’s the accountability of citizens in their counties which is going to change the tide. if Indians could work together and took pride in it, the whole nation wouldn’t be suffering like this today. 

I support DJT’s new green card policy and also to increase minimum salary for H1B visa. Indians are the most hypocrite people to be honest. You complain about racism here let me tell Indian companies in usa literally hired every possible low quality software engineer who work 15 hours a day to fill jobs which Americans could do. That’s a shame! If you are given an opportunity, please respect the laws and nature of this civic society. 

Was’nt talking about a transfer of wealth. I was referring to how the establishment of industries that a country has a competitive advantage in could lift its population out of poverty and improve standards of living. This is how Singapore and Malaysia developed and third world nations like ours need to follow a similar path.  Improved living standards take away the incentive to migrate. that was my argument.

As for the question on fulfillment, I think it really depends on the individual. Not everyone seeks fulfillment though their careers or their relative position in society. People have different goals they wish to accomplish. Migrating to a developed country may or may not help them do that. But it’s unfair to say that majority of immigrants tend to have unfulfilled lives. Most enjoy the better quality of life and better opportunities made available for their children. 

I’ve seen tons. 

Cooler wrote:

foxdeux wrote:

Asian + Indian mentality = I’m just going to keep accumulating credentials with no work experience or work experience from my home country, then come to Canada to make a lot of money, if that fails I’m going to get an MBA preferrably at Schulich or Rotman.

As an Indian, I find this completely true. The problem is most of the Indian children were raised hearing stories of people who follow this herd mentality of collecting credentials and going to top schools. This is actually a result of a British Raj. The whole youth has been following the trend of preparing for professional exams to get ahead in their life. Go to IIT or IIM or you are ****. 

Guess what! You don’t learn to network or make friends through exams. One more thing, people underestimate before they come here is that they perceive Indian society and education system, in general, tougher than the rest of the world. Completely false! 

I also find Indian corporate and work culture in general very low quality compared to the west as people in India don’t take pride in their work. Most of the people dream about moving to the west one day so that they can get respect among their peers but when they actually move here they realize that savings are not that great. Indian people need to chill out a little bit, it’s good to be ambitious but it’s absolutely annoying to blame the system. BTW, Indian IT industry is falling into pieces. I’m very happy!!

I went to Rotman for my MBA and did learn how to network and build relationships during my MBA. A LOT of my Indian classmates including myself did land jobs at FO finance and MBB, and yes, most of them are CFAs/CAs etc. and we did try to accumulate credentials.

IMO, Indians do have to accumulate credentials is because we don’t come here with strong networks or with golden spoons in our mouths. A lot of my classmates at Rotman went to UCC and schools in the States. They already had strong networks. Also, their parents were lawyers, bankers, consultants etc. They’ve got their parents hooking them up with interviews and introducing them to VPs/MDs/Partners.

Cooler wrote:

I also find Indian corporate and work culture in general very low quality compared to the west as people in India don’t take pride in their work.

This is just plain wrong. As an Indian, you yourself should stop making blanket generalizations.

Cooler wrote:

 BTW, Indian IT industry is falling into pieces. I’m very happy!!

Why are you happy with this?

Canuck707 wrote:

Cooler wrote:

foxdeux wrote:

Asian + Indian mentality = I’m just going to keep accumulating credentials with no work experience or work experience from my home country, then come to Canada to make a lot of money, if that fails I’m going to get an MBA preferrably at Schulich or Rotman.

As an Indian, I find this completely true. The problem is most of the Indian children were raised hearing stories of people who follow this herd mentality of collecting credentials and going to top schools. This is actually a result of a British Raj. The whole youth has been following the trend of preparing for professional exams to get ahead in their life. Go to IIT or IIM or you are ****. 

Guess what! You don’t learn to network or make friends through exams. One more thing, people underestimate before they come here is that they perceive Indian society and education system, in general, tougher than the rest of the world. Completely false! 

I also find Indian corporate and work culture in general very low quality compared to the west as people in India don’t take pride in their work. Most of the people dream about moving to the west one day so that they can get respect among their peers but when they actually move here they realize that savings are not that great. Indian people need to chill out a little bit, it’s good to be ambitious but it’s absolutely annoying to blame the system. BTW, Indian IT industry is falling into pieces. I’m very happy!!

I went to Rotman for my MBA and did learn how to network and build relationships during my MBA. A LOT of my Indian classmates including myself did land jobs at FO finance and MBB, and yes, most of them are CFAs/CAs etc. and we did try to accumulate credentials.

IMO, Indians do have to accumulate credentials is because we don’t come here with strong networks or with golden spoons in our mouths. A lot of my classmates at Rotman went to UCC and schools in the States. They already had strong networks. Also, their parents were lawyers, bankers, consultants etc. They’ve got their parents hooking them up with interviews and introducing them to VPs/MDs/Partners.

Cooler wrote:

I also find Indian corporate and work culture in general very low quality compared to the west as people in India don’t take pride in their work.

This is just plain wrong. As an Indian, you yourself should stop making blanket generalizations.

Cooler wrote:

 BTW, Indian IT industry is falling into pieces. I’m very happy!!

Why are you happy with this?

You have changed the context of this whole thread. 

No. What I’m saying is that it can be done.

You can learn to build your network and you can learn to fit into the culture. It may take time, but it definitely can be done. I didn’t have a network of any kind in Toronto, but I made it to the FO. As did at least 4 other Indians in my cohort. Funnily enough all 4 of us Indians (from India) who made it to the FO Finance (Not including corporate finance where it’s a lot easier to break in) either had a CA or a CFA, and yes, it did give us a leg up on the competition. 

If OP chooses to do her MBA from Rotman/Ivey, I believe that she can definitely transition to corporate finance/corporate strategy.

Cooler wrote:

If a majority of the population make a conclusion about something then it’s not a generalization.

Most of the people dream about moving to the west one day

Now you’re making an assumption about the majority of the population agreeing with your views.

Cooler wrote:

A small percentage of Indians do not represent the overall picture of Indian corporate. 

Exactly.

Canuck707 wrote:

No. What I’m saying is that it can be done.

You can learn to build your network and you can learn to fit into the culture. It may take time, but it definitely can be done. I didn’t have a network of any kind in Toronto, but I made it to the FO. As did at least 4 other Indians in my cohort. Funnily enough all 4 of us Indians (from India) who made it to the FO Finance (Not including corporate finance where it’s a lot easier to break in) either had a CA or a CFA, and yes, it did give us a leg up on the competition. 

If OP chooses to do her MBA from Rotman/Ivey, I believe that she can definitely transition to corporate finance/corporate strategy.

Cooler wrote:

If a majority of the population make a conclusion about something then it’s not a generalization.

Most of the people dream about moving to the west one day

Now you’re making an assumption about the majority of the population agreeing with your views.

Cooler wrote:

A small percentage of Indians do not represent the overall picture of Indian corporate. 

Exactly.

Yes, she can do it. Good luck OP.