Would less-known companies be a good start off in finance?

Hi guys I’m going to graduate in April 2021, and I’m working towards CPA and CFA right now. Not sure what I can do in the industry. But I personally prefer doing valuation and equity research.
Would it help if I could start from a small company so that I can learn through the job? (From what I heard, getting into big names is quite competitive especially for people like me without much work experience in Canada).
If so, are derivative companies or pension funds good start?

Getting into any job related to what you want to do is good. If you do well at your job, you can get promoted or move around. I’d still apply to competitive jobs too. Don’t reject yourself.

Internships are often a foot in the door at the big name firms. This would probably be the time to start applying for them or talking to professors about potential opportunities over the fall/winter

What actually matters when it comes to starting work initially in your career is the quality of work you’re exposed to and how much you learn in a particular field. Whether you want to get this learning from a small scale company or a start-up or an MNC is up to you.