How easy is it to move through banking divisions?

Hey, hoping someone could give me some insight.

I’ve been looking for a banking job in Toronto for the past couple of months and have been talking to a lot of banking executives. A lot of them have told me it is relatively impossible (or very very hard) to transition from retail banking to wholesale banking. However, it is possible to transition from commercial banking to wholesale banking. I was wondering whether there are good chances of transitioning into wholesale banking(specifically capital markets) from other divisions such as risk management, Treasury Services or wealth management.

I appreciate any insight!


What did you do before and what do you want to do exactly in capital markets?

I’m a recent graduate with a masters degree in finance. I don’t have work experience in a financial institution but I do have a couple of years of work experience in taxation. I was mainly looking at sales and trading, corporate banking, or equity research

Where did you do your MFin?

I’d take a look through the other thread on Toronto Career advice… a lot of that will apply to you.

Did you work Big 4 taxation? Is your school’s career centre still available to you? The SnT, CB and ER teams from all the banks usually go there first. The latter two are probably more relatable to a tax background. If you’re hurting for cash no one is going to question why you went into retail banking but you’ll be years away from CM if you even get there. Best to try to network the hell out of the street as a fresh grad than a guy in Retail trying to get into FO. Even if all your credentials and personality are in place, it’s still a tall order breaking into FO from a good masters program.

So the question is, are you being realistic with your chances? Are you getting interviews for these roles?

I did my MFin in Hong Kong from a pretty good school (based on world university rankings). however i did my undergrad in canada which allows me to have access to my career centre as an alumni. And I did taxation for a large north american retailer, not one of the big 4 auditing firms.

Have had a couple of talks with HR from some of the big 5 canadian banks; phone interview, calls from HR, and a lot of “promises” for interviews. so i must be doing something right. But still nothing 100% guaranteed of course.

I’ll definitely check out the Toronto Thread!

HK UST? Did you graduate and just come back? Currently employed or? The narrative matters when you’re meeting folks.

UG career opps =/= Masters recruiting, not by a long mile.

HR is great but the real power is with the hiring manager. Keep doing the HR route but try to reach out to the analysts and associates and see if you can form any rapport with them. They can get you into the interview room when there are openings. Just work every avenue and prepare for every coffee chat as if it was an interview. If your job targeting is accurate, something will happen.