Canadian Student, advice appreciated!

don.simpson64's picture
Rank: Chimp | 14

I go to a Canadian University, UBC. One of the big 3 universities in Canada along with McGill and UToronto. 4.0 GPA, economics degree, probably a minor in business.

I want to have the air cleared on a few things:

1) Breaking into finance: the idea of not getting a graduate degree is so strange to me, and I feel wary about getting a job straight out of undergrad in business. With an Econ degree and being from Canada, will I even have the option of getting job offers at US IB firms?

2) JD or MBA: I don't know what to do. The money doesn't matter (I understand that the difference between making 250 grand and 500 grand or 5 mil and 100 mil is insignificant to me... as long as I can live comfortably)... What matters is my life, having the ability to be a high earner but also have time to stay in shape and have a family... Not wanting to snort coke and attempt suicide... You know, normal stuff..

3) I am risk averse, but I feel I would be better in business than law. I am great with numbers and mathematical models, but again, business seems riskier.

Comments (31)

Jan 19, 2011

The whole "Big 3" thing only matters in academia.

As far as international investment banks are concerned, the Canadian schools that matter are the commerce programs at Queen's, Mcgill, and Western (also known as "The Elite 3" if you want to be a prestige whore) and to a lesser extent U of T and York.

You can always get a graduate degree after a few years of work, and for an MBA work experience is almost a prerequisite.

From your 2nd and 3rd points it sounds like you could have a promising career as an accountant or an actuary.

Jan 20, 2011

What is this 'Big 3' you speak of? I have never, ever heard that term. Feeders for Big 4?

Jan 20, 2011

UBC is not a target. If you want to break into finance, figure out a way to transfer into Ivey. If you want to stay in Vancouver, then go to Sauder.

1) Yes. Start networking now. There are some UBC people on wall street.

2) Have time? IB is not for you. Law is likely not for you either assuming you do corporate law. An MBA is worthless without experience.

3) You should become an accountant.

Jan 20, 2011

As tylderdurden mentioned, you probably should become an accountant. It's a profession that gives you what you want -- it attracts risk averse personalities (and values them - since your job is to be "conservative" with reporting and decision-making), you'll live comfortably, and you'll have a life outside of work.

The flipside is that accounting isn't the kind of job for those with big egos. But then again, unlike other high profile business careers out there, accountants treat their job simply as a "job" and means to an end.

Jan 20, 2011

I exaggerated my risk-averse nature. I am risk averse in the sense that I understand the following:

  • I can get really good grades, and really good grades + law school = good or even excellent law job.
  • I can get really good grades, not necessarily do well in IB because there are way more factors

Also, I won't be able to break into anything serious with a major in Economics and a minor in Commerce (from Sauder), with straight A's?

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Jan 20, 2011

On top of that, I have no desire to be an accountant... Money matters... Just not to the extent that I would choose IB over Law because of long term potentials of billionaire vs. millionaire..

Jan 20, 2011

You can certainly break into IB with straight A's in econ. As long as you have some solid EC's and an enjoyable personality, straight A's are exactly what you need coming from UBC. Get the technical's down cold (which shouldn't be all that difficult give that you are likely a smart guy and have a minor in commerce) and most importantly , start networking immediately.

In terms of IB vs Law, honestly, just go for whatever you are more passionate about. If you are smart and passionate about IB, you will be successful. If you just do Law because you CAN, you might not be.

Jan 20, 2011

Big difference between making 250K and 500K even if all you want is comfort. In Canada, 250K is "only" 12.5K per month after deductions, whereas 500K is 23.5K a month take home. There's a big comfort difference there.

Jan 20, 2011

Everythingsucks, I definitely agree with you there. Bankforyourbuck, that is what I was hoping to hear and it really does make sense.

Pretty difficult to find out what I am more passionate about though. Guess I will start reading up a bit more on nature of IB vs. Corp Law.

Thanks, guys.

Jan 20, 2011

If you have "really good grades" as you claim, get into Sauder's Portfolio Management Program. Super smart bunch of kids, and they usually have really solid placements across BB and Canadian banks.

On another note, who calls Ivey/Queens/mcgill the "The Elite 3"? High school seniors? Stupidest thing I have ever heard.

Jan 20, 2011
TM:

On another note, who calls Ivey/Queens/mcgill the "The Elite 3"? High school seniors? Stupidest thing I have ever heard.

prestige fail

Jan 21, 2011

I have never heard of people referring to the Elite 3... But when I said "one of the big 3 schools in Canada" I was referring to the fact that UBC/McGill/Toronto are always in the top 50 world rankings and always the top 3 schools in Canada, not based on business schools...

As for the recommendation to go into the Portfolio program... I am pretty set and intrigued with my Economics program and the Commerce minor... For the past 3 years I have really been on the law school track but the finance side of things has kind of caught my eye (apparently the work is supposed to be exciting, or at least less of a bore)...

Jan 21, 2011
don.simpson64:

I have never heard of people referring to the Elite 3... But when I said "one of the big 3 schools in Canada" I was referring to the fact that UBC/McGill/Toronto are always in the top 50 world rankings and always the top 3 schools in Canada, not based on business schools...

As for the recommendation to go into the Portfolio program... I am pretty set and intrigued with my Economics program and the Commerce minor... For the past 3 years I have really been on the law school track but the finance side of things has kind of caught my eye (apparently the work is supposed to be exciting, or at least less of a bore)...

The work in finance and law is going to be mindnumbing boring. It's just different types of boring. I don't know where you're planning on going to law, but I strongly advise you to go to UofT if law is going to be your thing. The recruiting there is solid. If you get straight A's like you say you do, then it should be easy.

If you're going to minor in commerce, take a look at the prereqs for getting into a CA track and do those courses. I'm not saying you're going to be an accountant, but since you're risk adverse, it gives you options.

Jan 22, 2011
tylderdurden:
don.simpson64:

I have never heard of people referring to the Elite 3... But when I said "one of the big 3 schools in Canada" I was referring to the fact that UBC/McGill/Toronto are always in the top 50 world rankings and always the top 3 schools in Canada, not based on business schools...

As for the recommendation to go into the Portfolio program... I am pretty set and intrigued with my Economics program and the Commerce minor... For the past 3 years I have really been on the law school track but the finance side of things has kind of caught my eye (apparently the work is supposed to be exciting, or at least less of a bore)...

The work in finance and law is going to be mindnumbing boring. It's just different types of boring. I don't know where you're planning on going to law, but I strongly advise you to go to UofT if law is going to be your thing. The recruiting there is solid. If you get straight A's like you say you do, then it should be easy.

If you're going to minor in commerce, take a look at the prereqs for getting into a CA track and do those courses. I'm not saying you're going to be an accountant, but since you're risk adverse, it gives you options.

If I go to a Canadian law school, it is pretty much U of T or bust. Looking to get into a t-14 law school in the U.S.A. though, otherwise I'd be at U of T hopefully.

Jan 21, 2011

Not really related, but I know someone that went to UBC that did analyst stint at BB and became an associate at Evercore in NYC.

Just throwing that out there.

Jan 21, 2011

I like your determination, but why do you think you want to stay in economics as oppose to going into the finance stream? If you're heart is set into finance, then you ought to do finance. Keep in mind as an arts student you'll be at a greater disadvantage not having access to the Sauder career center or its job bank.

Jan 22, 2011
trafalgar:

I like your determination, but why do you think you want to stay in economics as oppose to going into the finance stream? If you're heart is set into finance, then you ought to do finance. Keep in mind as an arts student you'll be at a greater disadvantage not having access to the Sauder career center or its job bank.

A few reasons:

a) UBC has the strongest Econ program in the country, arguably next to U of T
b) There are courses on International Finance and Money + Banking I will take in the Econ department
c) A minor in Commerce gives access to Sauder, I get to take introductory finance and accounting courses, along with some management courses

Jan 22, 2011
don.simpson64:
trafalgar:

I like your determination, but why do you think you want to stay in economics as oppose to going into the finance stream? If you're heart is set into finance, then you ought to do finance. Keep in mind as an arts student you'll be at a greater disadvantage not having access to the Sauder career center or its job bank.

A few reasons:

a) UBC has the strongest Econ program in the country, arguably next to U of T
b) There are courses on International Finance and Money + Banking I will take in the Econ department
c) A minor in Commerce gives access to Sauder, I get to take introductory finance and accounting courses, along with some management courses

Have you considered taking the "Commerce and Economics" option as a Sauder student? You might even have room to do a second option in finance so you'll have your cake and eat it too.

Jan 22, 2011

I think it is too late to make that transfer with the # of credits I have left. Is it really going to be that tough to find jobs as an Econ major/Commerce minor student? Sounds a bit silly to me, as the courses I take will give me intros to financial instruments and the markets (through the Econ).

Jan 22, 2011

Most people assume (sadly in Canada even more so I find) that econ students are the ones that didn't have the grades to get into the Business program directly after high-school. I think your situation is fine given the Major/minor choice you made. You have not closed any doors, although you should make sure to join PMP. Lastly, did you have a chance to check out NIBC last week?

Jan 22, 2011

I don't think you'll have any problems finding yourself a solid job after graduation so long as you have some work experience (i.e.: past summer internships).
Have you thought of a career in management consulting?

Jan 24, 2011
trafalgar:

I don't think you'll have any problems finding yourself a solid job after graduation so long as you have some work experience (i.e.: past summer internships).
Have you thought of a career in management consulting?

I will have internships throughout my stay at university (none at investment banks, or at least so far). I have considered management consulting... I have pretty much narrowed things down to finance, consulting, and law.

Jan 23, 2011

Ill just add UBC is fine (well, its even great for MBA in Canada) but really its York, Ivey, and Desautels (McGill) which are the 'main 3' outside Canada. Sauder is building its brand name but outside the country its the above 3 mentioned.

Jan 24, 2011
zeropower:

Ill just add UBC is fine (well, its even great for MBA in Canada) but really its York, Ivey, and Desautels (McGill) which are the 'main 3' outside Canada. Sauder is building its brand name but outside the country its the above 3 mentioned.

So much fail, York places nearly nil in NY compared to Ivey, Queen's and McGill.

Jan 24, 2011
God of the Orient:

So much fail, York places nearly nil in NY compared to Ivey, Queen's and McGill.

Ya ill give you Queens is great - but for Canada York is really high.

Jan 24, 2011

If you can hold a fork, you can go to York.

Jan 24, 2011

Speaking of placements.. anyone know how Ivey is looking this year?

Jan 25, 2011

ivey is looking particularly good this year. makes queens and schulich look like non targets.

Jan 25, 2011

Beauty.
I recently applied for the HBA. I hope I get in!

Jan 25, 2011
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Jan 25, 2011