Advice for someone getting started (very) late

Some context: I'm in a competitive Econ program in a top-tier Canadian school on the west coast, and moved out here in 2019 for uni. I'm now in my last semester, graduating with SaaS start-up sales and sustainable finance (emissions work, not actual finance) experience, and very little in the way of traditional finance work. Truth be told, I lost sight of my goals and didn't take banking seriously again till this (my fifth) year, and now I'm realising just how far behind I am compared to my peers around me. I know I'm smart, I present well, and I've got a strong work ethic, but I'm just unconvinced that I'm ever going to get taken seriously enough with my background to actually get interviews. Case in point, networking hasn't worked very well for me so far. 

Anyway, definitely in a position where it'd be good to get some perspective. I'm looking to work in energy, infra and renewables, since that's the coverage group I'm most interested in. Any and all advice is appreciated!


Hey there, fellow late bloomer! First off, let's get one thing straight: it's never too late to start. You're not behind, you're just on a different timeline. And that's okay! Here's what I'd recommend:

  1. Keep Networking: Networking is a marathon, not a sprint. It might not have worked out so far, but don't let that discourage you. Keep reaching out to people in the industry, especially those in the energy, infra, and renewables sectors. Remember, it's not just about asking for a job, it's about building relationships.

  2. Leverage Your Experience: You might not have traditional finance experience, but you do have experience in SaaS start-up sales and sustainable finance. That's valuable! Find ways to highlight how these experiences have given you unique skills and perspectives that would be beneficial in a finance role.

  3. Continue Learning: Keep improving your finance knowledge. Read books, take online courses, participate in finance forums like WSO. The more you know, the more confident you'll feel and the better you'll perform in interviews.

  4. Consider Further Education: If you're really concerned about your lack of traditional finance experience, you might want to consider further education, like an MBA or a Master's in Finance. This could give you the opportunity to gain more relevant experience, network with people in the industry, and make you a more attractive candidate to employers.

  5. Stay Positive: Lastly, but most importantly, stay positive. It's easy to get discouraged when things aren't going as planned, but remember, everyone's path is different. Keep working hard, keep learning, and keep pushing forward. You've got this!

Remember, the tortoise won the race, not the hare. Slow and steady, my friend.

Sources: Boy with 15 years old who want some advices, Late to the game -- advice appreciated!, In my early 30s with no direction, Advice for SAs who didn't get return offers

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First off, econ programs aren't competitive for capital markets recruiting in Canada. Even in a targeted school, econ is 2nd class vs the actual targeted business program.

And it's ok to not start in banking to work around the industry you want to work in. It'll be near impossible for you to land a good banking/buy side gig right now for FT given: econ program and not business, no finance work experience, FT recruiting is more difficult and has higher work experience standards, it's late in timeline, and this period hasn't been so hot for job markets where others with better work experience are struggling. You didn't mention your GPA and extracurriculars, which if they're below 3.5 and you don't have any good clubs (not irrelevant ones that spawn every year with no alumni) then your chances are in the gutter.

I'd say be realistic and take whatever you can get in a relevant field. You can always try to go into the industries you mentioned when the job market rebounds with a decent enough experience and good story.


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