WCM Educational Recap #6: Finance Recruiting 101

Recapped by Alyssa Choi

Western Capital Markets
7 min readNov 28, 2021

Finance Recruiting 101

Welcome to the Western Capital Markets blog! This week, we dive into finance recruiting timelines, interview preparation tips, and networking best practices for all students in first, second, and third year.

Week in Review: US Conglomerates Announce Plans to Break Up

  • General Electric and Johnson & Johnson announced they would split up into multiple publicly-traded companies
  • GE: splitting three major divisions — aviation, healthcare, and energy into separate companies by 2024
  • J&J: splitting consumer and pharma divisions
  • Splitting up is value-creative as it allows for strategic decisions more tailored for each division

Topic Spotlight: Hedge Funds Short Strategy

  • Long/Short Equity Investing: take long positions in stocks expected to appreciate; short positions in stocks expected to decline
  • Examples of well-known hedge funds: BlackRock, Point 72, Horseman Capital
  • Horseman Capital closed November 11, 2021, due to the Fed’s continued quantitative easing measures of maintaining low-interest rates

Overview of Recruiting Timelines

  • First Year: Get actively involved with Western business clubs, network with upper-year students, seek an entry-level summer internship
  • Second Year: Get actively involved in activities that demonstrate your interest in finance, network with HBAs and industry professionals, Prepare for technical questions using guides (Ex. Breaking Into Wall Street)
  • Third Year: Coordinate mock interviews with upper-year students, begin technical question preparation early (some processes start March of second year)

First-Year Recruiting

First-Year Internship Routes

Firm Recruiting Portals: Well-established companies or banks offer opportunities on their website or Western Connect

  • Competitive salary and well-known name, but work may be less interesting/relevant, and more difficult to obtain
  • Attend recruiting events and reach out to recruiter (LinkedIn/email), and reach out to current employees you personally know
  • Ex. RBC, Scotiabank, Deloitte, CIBC, BMO

Western Business Clubs Mailing Lists: Internship opportunities emailed to members (Ex. WCM, WIC)

  • More relevant work and unique learning opportunity, but often no pay and limited positions available
  • Keep a constant eye out for business club mailing lists and network with former interns
  • Ex. Good News Ventures, MOD Developments, Turtle Holdings Limited

Networking and Cold-emailing: Connect and chat with people who work at a firm you’re interested in (the majority of opportunities will be found via this route)

  • New and unique opportunities with more relevant and impactful work, but often no pay, and requires more work and outreach
  • Network with and cold-email current employees and Ivey alumni, asking about experiences and potential opportunities
  • Ex. Shoelace, Veritas, Silverstone

First-Year Recruiting Overview

  • Extremely informal, so networking and cold-emailing is key
  • Typical roles: private equity, venture capital, corporate development, wealth management
  • Qualities: eager to learn, humble, dependable, and easy to work with
  • Responsibilities: research, outreach, data entry, deal flow notes
  • Note: You do not need a finance job in first year to work in finance later. Even if you travel, work in retail, work as a camp counselor, have takeaways and impact made ready to talk about for behaviorals

First-Year Recruiting Timeline

  • Most entry-level summer internships released in January or February
  • Be proactive throughout the year to search for opportunities and network
  • Possible Application Process: Coffee Chat → Resume Drop → Round 1 Interview → Round 2 Interview → Offer

Second-Year Recruiting

Common Second-Year Jobs

Search Funds & Private Equity: Search funds are smaller investment firms where an entrepreneur raised funds to acquire a company and assume day-to-day leadership

  • Ex. Calistix Capital, Altas Partners, Auxo Management, LaurelCrest Partners

Investment Banking: Boutique investment banks involved in small- and mid-cap M&A transactions or ECM/DCM fundraising

  • Ex. FirePower Capital, Q1 Capital Partners

Equity Research: Producing analysis, reports, and recommendations to buy, hold or sell companies and investment opportunities

  • Ex. Gluskin Sheff, Veritas Investment Research, Canalyst

Sales & Trading: Client advisory for financial product investments or internal pricing and hedging strategies for the commercial bank itself

  • Ex. CIBC, RBC, ScotiaBank

Historical Second-Year Timelines & Placements

  • Firms that Recruit at Western
  • August: Altas Partners (~1–2 students)
  • September: Burgundy Asset Management (~1–2 students), OMERS (Varies)
  • October: Calistix Capital, Ashbridge Partners, Auxo Management, FirePower Capital (1–3 students each)
  • November: LaurelCrest Partners, Good News Ventures, Valitas Capital, Skyline Growth Partners (Varies)
  • December — Onwards: Turtle Holdings, Constellation (Varies)
  • Other Processes
  • Big 5: January — May, with roles including Business Analyst, Credit Analyst, Wealth Management, Customer Service Representative
  • Big 4 Accounting Firms: January — May, with roles including Financial Analyst, AI & Innovation, Consulting Analyst
  • LinkedIn/Job Board Posting: Year-round
  • Networking and contacting search funds: Year-round

*Note: Second-year processes are still largely informal, so research, cold-emailing, and networking is critical

Third-Year Recruiting

Job Selection Criteria

  1. Enjoyment (Will you value it? Does the work interest and excite you? Are there personal growth/learning opportunities?)
  2. Culture (Do you fit with the people and culture? How well did you connect with firm reps? Can you see yourself working with the people every day?)
  3. Quality / Exposure (Is the firm highly regarded? Where have previous employees gone afterwards? Do they invest in the quality of their internship program?)

Third-Year Recruiting Process

  • Opportunities released on a rolling basis beginning second semester of second year and ending halfway through the first semester of HBA1
  • More structured than first year, but opportunities are still limited
  • WIC/WCM postings through mailing list
  • LinkedIn job postings and portals
  • Network and leverage your personal connections
  • Typical recruitment process: Application Request (Resume Drop) → Coffee Chats, Mocks, and Preparation → First Round Interview with Previous Interns → Final Round interview with Firm Management → offer

Canadian vs. American Opportunities


  • Mixed interview focus
  • All firms target Ivey
  • Generalist/Industry group allocation
  • 10–16 weeks in length


  • Bulge Bracket: Fit / Boutique: Technical focused interviews
  • Assorted firms target Ivey (see below)
  • Industry/Product group allocation
  • 10-weeks

Common Historical US Ivey Placements

  • New York: Evercore, LionTree, Credit Suisse, PJT
  • San Francisco: Evercore, Goldman Sachs, Credit Suisse, SilverLake
  • Los Angeles: Houlihan Lokey, Moelis & Company, Ares
  • Other: Houlihan Lokey, Evercore, BDT Capital Partners

Historical Third-Year Timelines

US Firms Targeting Ivey

  • March — May: Houlihan Lokey, Evercore
  • September: Silver Lake Partners

Other US Processes

  • February — September: Point72, Blackstone, Moelis
  • May — June: Jefferies, Liontree, Ares
  • July — August: Goldman Sachs, Lazard, PJT, Silver Point
  • September: Centerview Partners


  • May — August: Credit Suisse, Barclays, Lazard
  • July — August: Greenhill, Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs
  • September — October: OMERS, CPPIB, OTPP, PSP, BoA, Rothschild, Wells Fargo, Citi, Big 5

Diversity Process:

  • Applications Due: December — May
  • Conferences/Events: February — July

Accelerated Processes:

  • February: Blackstone
  • March: Evercore
  • May: Point72, RBC Scholarship
  • June — August: Other Big 5

General Process Overview

Recruiting Framework: Cold Emails & Calls + Interview Prep (& Mocks) → Applications → Interviews → Offer

Recruiting is a Numbers Game

  • Generally, 50–300 cold emails leads to 10–30 responses / coffee chats, leading to 1–5 interviews, leading to 0–2 offers
  • Don’t feel down when you don’t get some processes, and apply to as many as possible


  • Warm Introduction: Mutual connection vouches for you to a member of the firm (Ex. Family, friends, upper years, WCM execs)
  • Cold Introduction: Reaching out with no introduction (Ex. Cold emailing, cold messaging on LinkedIn)
  • Establish some sort of connection (Ex. Western/Ivey, High school/City, Background/Extracurricular)

What to Submit

  • Always: Resume (GPA, experience, interests)
  • Often: Cover Letter, Transcript
  • Less Common: Stock Pitch, Sample Report

Interview Process

  1. Informational Interview (Coffee Chat): focus on cultural fit, be prepared, learn about firm/role
  2. Preliminary Rounds: technical-heavy, walk through your experience/resume, “checking boxes”
  3. Superday: senior interviews, discussion/behavioral-based, be prepared for anything

Interview Preparation

Resume & Work Experience:

  • “Walk me through your resume.” “Tell me about your time at X firm?” “What do you do in X club?” “What’s something that’s not on your resume?”

Company Preparation

  • “Why do you want to work here?” “Tell me about a deal we’ve worked on recently.” “What are some of our key values?” “Why our firm and not X firm?”

Technical & Behavioral Preparation

  • Technical: “Walk me through a DCF.” “What are the three main financial statements?”
  • Behavioral: “What would your last boss say about you?” “What are your strengths?”

Market & Economy Preparation

  • “What market trend have you been following in X industry / the economy?” “Tell me about an interesting recent deal.” “Pitch me a stock.”

Cold Emailing

What Makes a Good Email?

  • Be short and simple, but not blunt & stay professional
  • Don’t overuse buzz words / descriptors
  • Don’t include a resume / transcript before emailing them — build a relationship first
  • Include a call to action (a phone call / in-person meeting)

Example Email Template

Hi Chloe,

My name is Amy and I am a second-year student at Western University. I came across your LinkedIn profile and was hoping to connect with you to chat about your experiences at Firm XYX and more broadly within the investment banking industry. I would be happy to set up a call at a time that works best for you.


Amy Dong


  • Guides/Primers: The Vault, Wall Street Oasis (WSO), 400 Key Question Guide, Breaking into Wall Street, Rosenbaum & Pearl — “Investment Banking”
  • WCM Team: reach out for mocks and coffee chats
  • Professionals: Western/Ivey alumni and WSO forums
  • Books: Bruce Greenwald and Judd Kahn — “Competition Demystified”, Howard S. Marks –“The Most Important Thing”, Benjamin Graham — “The Intelligent Investor”,
  • Podcasts: Invest Like the Best, Bloomberg

Key Takeaways

  • Start networking and building connections early on with upper years, Western alumni, and professionals (this is how you find a majority of opportunities!)
  • There are various routes to recruiting, each with their own timelines — so actively keep an eye out for opportunities and deadlines
  • Prepare extensively for different aspects of the interview; mock interviews are very helpful
  • Make use of key resources available to you



Western Capital Markets

WCM’s mission is to educate, develop and provide real-world opportunities for members of the Western community to explore their interest in finance.