My name is Lynn and I am a third year student in AFM interested in doing the CFA specialization. During my first co-op term, I was at EY in valuations. From that, I realized that I wanted to explore the finance industry. I tried applying for various roles and I ended up in investment banking at the National Bank of Canada where I worked in Fall 2021.
Could you share a little about some of the projects you worked on?
We had a pretty healthy deal flow throughout my co-op, so I was usually working on multiple projects at a time. If we had a client and knew a good company they could potentially acquire, we might internally pitch to them. This would involve creating a slide deck and outlining some of the strategic and financial objectives. We would also work on industry coverage updates, including research to see if there were any large M&A deals, press releases, or financial statements that came up in the last two weeks. Apart from that, I would work on tasks like management preparation for meetings or press conferences, where I might try to come up with supplemental material or questions that the company may be asked.
Morning Routine and Beginning of Work Day
My co-op was entirely remote because of the pandemic, so I lived at home. To start my day, I tried to wake up at 8am which is an hour before work started. I would usually eat something or have coffee and listen to podcasts or the news.
My day during work varies a lot because it was a lot more “go with the flow” kind of basis. On a busier day, I would check in with the analysts to learn what I needed to do and when I needed to have specific tasks completed. I did not have any routine tasks because it depended on what project I was working on at that time. Usually, I might update a model from the night before with new market open prices or close prices though.
On Fridays, we would usually have a staff meeting, but everything would often slow down around this time. People would take lunch at different times, and I would just go downstairs, get food, and eat at my desk in case I receive a message about something that needs to be done. Otherwise, I might watch a tv show during my lunch break.
In the late afternoon, I would try to fit in a workout in between my tasks, around 3pm or 4pm. It was definitely convenient because of the remote environment. Otherwise, I would do some research into clients and companies that I was working on and take advantage of how I have access to equity research reports to read about any industry I wanted to learn more about for a deal or upcoming project. I would also talk to colleagues or have coffee chats. By around 7pm or 9pm, the Vice Presidents and Managing Directors would be done with work. The associates and analysts completed the bulk of what needs to be done and would assign tasks to the interns. I would often work late on slide decks or to update prices in backup files.
Near the end of the day, I would often pick up a snack or get ready for bed. I would scroll on my phone, read a book, call a friend, or hang out with my parents. I used to also play Animal Crossing! I was also pretty lucky that I did not work much on the weekends, maybe only twice throughout my co-op. There would usually be some sort of booked activity I would go out and do, just so my weekends would not be the exact same as my weekdays. Sometimes, I would go on a hike with friends or family or I might just go out for grocery trips.
To close off...
I was one of maybe two female employees on a team of about twenty to twenty-five people. It was definitely interesting to navigate being in the professional environment as a woman. You might feel like people are censoring their relationship with you because you’re female, but at the end of day, your coworkers will value you for what you put forward, regardless of your gender. I recommend putting yourself out there and slowly, people will start to see you more. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there because of preconceived assumptions that you might have. If you are smart about office politics and put out a good attitude, you will be successful in the workplace.