April 2017 – Volume 1, Issue 2 

An Introduction to Finance Recruiting at Queen’s


Recruiting is not an easy task. Through the coffee chats, information sessions, networking, applications, preparation, and interviews … all while maintaining strong grades, the feat of succeeding in this area can certainly be challenging. Fortunately, we here at QFAC know better than anyone else just how hard recruiting can be, along with just how important it is. As a result, we’ve put together our very own Recruiting Guide just for you – filled with all the tips and tricks you need to know to succeed in your recruiting endeavours. We hope that this article serves as “teaser” for what you can expect to take away from our 60+ page guide!

The Finance Industry

Before we hop into the specific details of recruiting, it is certainly beneficial to walk through the different areas of finance. For those with a sound understanding of the topic, feel free to skip ahead to our main section on recruiting.

At its core, a financial market brings together people who need capital and those who have capital. The roles within the financial services industry are divided into two groups: the sell-side and the buy-side. These two groups are fundamentally different in the way they interact with businesses (both public and private) as well as the clients that they serve.

The sell-side of the industry involves creating and selling securities. Common roles on the sell-side include investment banking, sales & trading, and equity research. Almost all major banks have operations within the sell-side.

On the contrary, the buy-side is comprised of institutional investors looking to deploy capital into a wide array of assets. Fund managers of these firms can invest in equities (stocks), fixed-income (bonds), real estate, infrastructure and other asset classes. Most institutional investors are people or organizations that trade securities on a much higher level than the typical retail investor, often seeking to buy millions or billions worth of securities at a time.

Buy and Sell Side

The finance industry encompasses so many more areas than the few we touched on. For more information, be sure to read through Section II of our recruiting guide!

Investment Banking

In simplest terms, investment banks serve as financial advisors to companies who are making important decisions of how they want to change their business operations. Essentially, an investment bank will help a company if they want to do any of the following:

  • Merge with or buy another company (Mergers & Acquisitions)
  • Raise debt or issue equity (Debt / Equity Capital Markets)
  • Revive itself from financial distress (Restructuring)

While investment banks do much more than just the tasks listed above, a large nutshell falls into those categories. Be sure to check out Section III of our guide for more information on all things investment banking!

The Recruiting Process

A note in advance, that the following information pertains mainly towards third-year students. As we mention in our guide, obtaining an internship with financial experience in first/second year is a tremendous learning opportunity, however by no means is it necessary to succeed in third-year recruiting. Most first/second year recruiting processes tend to be ongoing and less structured than in third year.

During your (third-year) recruiting process, you’ll most likely be grabbing enough coffee with finance professionals to keep you up late into the night, crushing through several interview prep guides, and sending in resumes and cover letters to dozens of firms. The main components of the recruiting process are as follows:

Coffee Chats: Take the time to meet with industry professionals working in fields you are genuinely interested in. During your chat, try to find out as much as possible about the individual’s job to see if it’s one you could see yourself doing. If you are interested in that field, be sure to find info on the recruiting process at that firm.

On-Campus Recruiting (OCR): Due to Queen’s strong reputation, many (if not all) banks with offices in Toronto will send company representatives down to Queen’s to provide more info on the firm’s hiring process. You’ll also have the chance to network with these individuals, so be sure to have questions prepared in advance! As of now, there are currently no firms who send company representatives from offices outside of Toronto to Queen’s.

Job Applications: Job applications can vary from firm to firm, however, for the most part, you’ll need to submit a resume, cover letter, and transcript to each firm you are applying to. Make sure your resume has no mistakes in it … and ensure you double-check the name of the firm you’re applying to is the right one!

The Interview Process: For those who are fortunate enough to receive an interview, most firms have multiple rounds of interviews before selecting candidates to extend offers to. Questions can vary from technical and behavioural topics to market knowledge and even brain teasers. See below for the categories in which most interview questions typically fall under. Make sure you cover Section V of our guide, which is entirely dedicated to the interview process!

Questions You Can Expect to Receive During the Interview Process

Interview Questions

The recruiting process can be a demanding task for any individual. As a result, it’s best to know how the system works and the timeline of events that takes place. Be sure to check out Section IV of our guide for more information!

How to Stay in the Loop of Things

Recruiting for finance jobs can be very demanding and challenging. Even more so when you add in having to balance being a full-time student and any other commitments you may have. As a result, we’ve tried our best to provide you with all the resources you need to follow in order to stay on top of financial news, job postings, and everything else. Check out Section VI of our guide which covers all of these areas and many more!


While we were only able to scratch the surface in this short article and cover just a few topics about recruiting, we highly invite all readers to check out our full guide for more information. Topics included in our recruiting guide but not mentioned in this article include:

  • Recruiting in the United States vs. Canada
  • The Different Types of Investment Banks (Canadian vs. Bulge Bracket vs. Boutique)
  • How Investment Banks are Organized (Product and Industry Groups)
  • Frequently Asked Questions by Students Undergoing Recruiting
  • Ways to get Involved at Queen’s and Courses you can Benefit From
  • We’ve even included Excel Shortcuts, a Glossary, and a “Finance Lingo” Overview
  • And much more!

All the best to everyone in their recruiting endeavours!

QFAC Guide

Queen’s Finance Recruiting Guide

Leave a Reply