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What should undergraduate students do to get dream job?

Hello everyone, 

I am a third year(will graduate in my fifth year) economic undergraduate international student in a Canada university, it’s not one of those super famous universities like UofT UBC but It’s above average. Having 3.0 GPA in economic-related courses. I really want to enter into the finance industry in Canada when I graduate, but I know I am bad at marketing and selling. Thus, I want to be an analyst, more specific(not quite sure about the exact job title), I want my job to be studying a company or an industry, and writing reports for whoever will pay for it. 

That’s what I am doing right now

1. trying to write some industry/firm analysis reports and post it on my blog to improve my writing(not my strength) and “experience“. I am currently working on my first report about my favorite game company.

2. not allowed to registered in CFA, so I study it just for fun. Might be able to pass CFA II exam before graduate?

3. applying for junior analyst internships in Canada but I haven’t received any interview so far, So I will go back to China and try to find some opportunities. 

I know networking is important, but I really don’t understand how does that work, plus my university is about 7 hours away from Vancouver. Also, as an international student, I don’t know anyone here except for my classmates, it’s hard to start networking. 

I know what I currently do is not enough,  and I also know many HR/ people have many experiences in the financial industry in Canada use this forum. Can you guys give me some suggestions about what should I do to get an analyst job after I graduate?

Thanks for any advice you guys can provide    

Welcome to Canada first of all (though it’s kind of belated). How did you like the first winter here, especially BC? Ooh man, BC, Alberta, and Saskatchewan get it the worst. Moving on to your question.

Yeah networking is probably the best option right now. If you can’t meet people in person, ask them if they will do phone or Skype. While face-to-face is best, if you can’t keep commuting, then at least talk to people on the phone or Skype. Another alternative is to book several coffee chats on one or two days in Vancouver. Go down to Vancouver then and meet people for those 2 days, then come back.

If you absolutely can’t do networking, then continue to apply, but start looking outside Vancouver as well. Maybe look in the city where you are if there are some good roles there. If you’re aiming for the big banks, then the point is to get into them first. Once you’re in, you can then apply to move around after a year or so.

I would also suggest you start looking at some of the smaller firms in the finance industry. Many of these firms may be small, but they have more prestige attached to them and you actually end up in better roles. For example, I’m an analyst in a real estate investment management firm (in their mortgage arm) and I’m doing what would technically be divided into probably 3 roles in a bank. I’m getting a lot more exposure to a variety of work, to a variety of industries, and I feel heard. I’ve only been here a few weeks and I feel like my suggestions actually count for something. In a bank you won’t really find that. You’ll just be a cog in the machine.

Bachelors of Business Administration (BBA), Masters of Business Administration (MBA)
"People grow through experience if they meet life honestly and courageously. This is how character is built." Eleanor Roosevelt

Thanks for your advice, it helps me a lot.

And haha I guess I live in Canadian Hawaii(Victoria, BC), only saw two snow in the past three years.

But I still don’t understand how do you exactly network with people? Do you just find people you want to talk with and then e-mail them “Hey, I want to discuss with you”, and you go and talk? Do people really willing to meet a stranger and chat for 20 minutes? What do you normally talk during the discussion? Do you talk about the things related to the job or you talk about things like “Bank of Canada increased the interest rate again”, or do you talk about “I am a nice person, I want to work for you.”?

sorry if I have too many questions or my questions are weird, Networking is so different in my culture, I just want to understand how people find jobs here.

First off, congrats on starting an investment blog. Shows you are serious about where you want to end up in.I think given your circumstances, you have a few options to kick-start networking. 

a) Alumni of your undergraduate school - Approach the career services unit of your school and see if they can put you in touch with a few graduates working in the industries you want to work in. If your school doesn’t have a career services unit, use Linkedin (another tip - Make sure your Linkedin profile is top notch, with a professional pic and a link to the investment blog you started. Also mention it on your summary - this will show ppl interested in you that you are really passionate about getting in to investment research)

b). Professors and personal networks - Try to build a personal connection with some profs teaching finance and accounting related subjects. They will likely have strong industry connections and would be able to put you in touch with a few folks int the industry if they really like you. This would give you a strong foundation to start developing industry connections. In the meantime, check with your classmates to see if they know anyone that works in the industries you want to end up in and ask them to introduce you.

c) Linkedin - I usually use two approaches. a). Drop a message to folks that are in roles and companies that I want to be in and if they reply (usually 2/10 will), arrange a coffee chat with them or a skype call. During the conversation, do not ask them if they have any openings but talk to them about their experiences, what kind of work they do, what they like/dislike about the job, what challenges they face etc. (read a bit about networking on forums like Breaking in to Wall street or wall street oasis). At the end of the convo, they most likely will mention what kind of openings they have and if they can help you with those. Even if they don’t mention anything, make sure you end the convo in a way you can keep in touch with them in the future. You will be able to use them as a reference if you see an opening for a role you like in the company they work for. b). Get in touch with the recruiters of roles that I’m interested in directly via Linkedin and see if they are interested in talking to me about the role (I guess since you are still in your 3rd year, this may not be the best way to go about as you would not be available immediately for these roles) 

Its great to see that you have started your job hunt early. i’m sure if you try your best and network hard, you will be able to break in to the industry you wish to be in! Good luck!!

Have a read of this book during your leisure. 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bull****_Jobs

Work for yourself

Have a nice day!

Oh Victoria BC. I came to Nanaimo once for a MBA competition, it was like in the middle of nowhere and I didn’t get proper cell service either. laugh

hemeka really touched on many points I would have said for networking. I do want to add one more point. LinkedIn you won’t often get as much response as you expect. One thing I started doing was searching for people on LinkedIn and then emailing them. A good suggestion for email that I was given by my professor once was that most professional emails follow the format firstname.lastname@companyname.com or firstname’sinitiallastname@companyname.com. For example John Smith at Scotiabank could be john.smith@scotiabank.com or jsmith@scotiabank.com. Try that and email them in the morning (usually before 11 AM). This is the time when most people check their email the most and are most likely to respond. By the afternoon, most people are either so busy in work that they won’t respond to anything that isn’t work related, or are so frazzled that they will just delete your email. And if you email them in the evening or at night, then people can ignore these emails because they have time to review their emails in the morning and decide what’s important and what isn’t. And make sure when you email them, you mention the correct name and correct company. I once met a VP in TD who said that he got an email from someone who called him by the wrong name and spoke about Scotiabank in the email. This VP was still kind enough to meet the guy, but he said that most people won’t even touch such an email and in fact they may let their colleagues know so it hurts that person’s chances of getting a coffee chat with someone else from the company.

Sign-up for networking events at your choice of companies. Most companies will have these events during fall. I know it’s too late this year, but maybe next year you can do so. And there are also associations that hold networking events throughout the year, either from your university or in the industry. Join those associations and attend those events.

For coffee chats, make it about the person’s experience, their role, their challenges, etc and as much as you try to plan the coffee chat, let it just take the natural flow. I once ended up speaking with someone for 30 minutes about my writing hobby and he became my biggest ally inside the company because of that. You want them to talk, but you also want to relate it back to what you want. Prepare an elevator speech about yourself. Basically 30 seconds on who you are and what your experience is. For example, I’m an investment research professional and I have had experience in a variety of roles where I did xyz. You want the person to know about you, but you don’t want to go on a 30-minute rant and don’t open with this. Most people will say “tell me about yourself” or “what are you interested in” or something along those lines. Then you can use it and if they probe, then you can expand on it.

Also make sure you are carrying business cards and always ask for theirs. If they don’t have one, that’s fine, but you basically want one so you can follow-up. Email them back within 24 hours after the coffee chat, thanking them for it, and following up on anything they may have mentioned. Like if they said, “oh send me your resume and I’ll submit it for x job”, then follow up, thank them, and provide them your resume. Or if they said, “let me see if there’s something of interest for you”, then follow up on that. You want to have your business card on you because it looks professional when you hand over your business card. Both of these are absolutely vital! You don’t know how many times I’ve met people who don’t give me a business card or follow-up. Then 2 months later, they suddenly email me asking me to be their reference. Sorry, but no. If you didn’t even have the courtesy to thank me, then I’m not going to be your reference.

Also don’t just add the person to LinkedIn. Always ask for their permission first. Before you sign off from the coffee chat, just ask them “Is it okay with you if I add you on LinkedIn?” Most people won’t say no, but it just shows that you’re being conscientious and you never know there may be someone who says no.

Finally, dress professionally. If you’re meeting someone from the investment or finance industry, full business professional. No question about it. If you’re meeting someone from outside that industry, then you can maybe lose the blazer/jacket, but that’s about it. I once met someone who came to meet me in ripped jeans and a shirt that read “FCUK YOU”. Needless to say that conversation did not go well.

Bachelors of Business Administration (BBA), Masters of Business Administration (MBA)
"People grow through experience if they meet life honestly and courageously. This is how character is built." Eleanor Roosevelt

Why did you decide to forget about marketing? Read Sam Walton made in America… Maybe you will change your mind

 I hope this is an option, but it’s illegal for foreigners to work for yourself in Canada after you graduate that unless you register a firm

Thanks for your advice, I will read this book when I got time. I just think I won’t be successful in marketing plus it’s hard to get a citizenship unless you become a manager if you do marketing. 

athene wrote:

A good suggestion for email that I was given by my professor once was that most professional emails follow the format firstname.lastname@companyname.com or firstname’sinitiallastname@companyname.com. For example John Smith at Scotiabank could be john.smith@scotiabank.com or jsmith@scotiabank.com. Try that and email them in the morning (usually before 11 AM).

I’m sorry but I have to disagree here. I find this unprofessional and frankly a bit invasive. I have spoken to hiring managers (when I was recruiting) and received emails from people reaching out to me (who we’ve never met) and everyone has found it incredibly odd and uncomfortable. When you are in a hiring role the business card and contact details are given out to those you actually want to chat with - finding someone by guessing their email is a faux pas in my opinion. My experience is in Toronto, graduate recruiting. 

Walter, I won’t sugar coat it, you’re not in a finance city and on the wrong side of the country. You’re studying economics which will require more training to get you into a finance mindset. Your GPA is 3.0/4 I’m assuming? You’re going up against people who have 3.7, 3.8s. Your written English isn’t good and you’re making mistakes with grammar and vocabulary. I don’t want to extrapolate that into your verbal communication. The good news is you have 2 years to fix as many of these issues as possible. Its not impossible - identify the problems, find the solutions, and execute the strategy. Double your efforts to get yourself marketable this year and go hard for recruiting next year. You will be very uncomfortable throughout all of this - that is normal. Push through and keep your eyes on the prize.

"Verdict: TRUE" - Fact Check

el_macca17 wrote:

athene wrote:

A good suggestion for email that I was given by my professor once was that most professional emails follow the format firstname.lastname@companyname.com or firstname’sinitiallastname@companyname.com. For example John Smith at Scotiabank could be john.smith@scotiabank.com or jsmith@scotiabank.com. Try that and email them in the morning (usually before 11 AM).

I’m sorry but I have to disagree here. I find this unprofessional and frankly a bit invasive. I have spoken to hiring managers (when I was recruiting) and received emails from people reaching out to me (who we’ve never met) and everyone has found it incredibly odd and uncomfortable. When you are in a hiring role the business card and contact details are given out to those you actually want to chat with - finding someone by guessing their email is a faux pas in my opinion. My experience is in Toronto, graduate recruiting. 

Oh I’m sorry to hear that. I just did this based on a professor’s recommendation when I asked him to help me out, but if this is what it feels like, then yes don’t do it Walter. You don’t want to come across as invasive or unprofessional.

Bachelors of Business Administration (BBA), Masters of Business Administration (MBA)
"People grow through experience if they meet life honestly and courageously. This is how character is built." Eleanor Roosevelt

Agree with this. a good opinion and suggestion. You still have time to fix the issues and work on it. Just set your mindset positive. And goodluck.