DavisConnects - DavisConnects - Preparing Colby Students For Lifelong Success

Finance

Finance

The financial service industry is a great destination for students with a wide range of skills and interests. Whether you prefer more social, client-facing roles or more analytical roles, there is a place for you under this big umbrella. 

While many students are aware of investment banks and the most commonly pursued roles— in global markets (sales and trading), investment banking, corporate banking, and equity research—there are many other appealing financial services organizations and roles where liberal arts students enjoy success.

Doing Good in a For-Profit Context

Counter to expectations, it is possible to live your values while working in financial services. Increasingly, banks have CSR (corporate social responsibility) practices aimed at contributing to society through philanthropy, activism, or volunteerism. Typically, CSR focuses on environmental, philanthropic, ethical, and economic responsibility. Additionally, one of the fastest-growing areas of financial services is ESG (environmental, social, and governance) investing, in which fund managers consider the ethical impact of companies that they choose to include within their ethical funds.

Role of Technology

In times of economic uncertainty, financial services institutions can be particularly stable employers.

Sample Career Paths

Investment Banking:

Investment Banking:

Banking that focuses on raising or creating capital for companies, governments, and other entities. Investment bankers are responsible for analyzing trends, assessing risks, providing strategic advice, and managing projects.

Corporate Banking

Corporate Banking:

Corporate banking deals with daily financial operations of the bank.

Global Markets (Sales and Trading)

Global Markets (Sales and Trading):

Traders buy and sell securities, either on behalf of the investment firm they work for or on behalf of their clients.

Equity Research

Equity Research:

Researchers produce research reports, projections, and recommendations concerning companies and stocks for buy and sell side firms in the securities industry.

Investment Management

Investment Management:

Investment managers handle financial assets and other investments on behalf . Management includes devising a short-or long-term strategy for acquiring and disposing of portfolio holdings. 

Wealth Management/Private Banking

Wealth Management/Private Banking:

Wealth management is an investment advisory service that combines other financial services to address the needs of affluent clients.

Private Equity

Private Equity:

Private equity (PE) refers to a constellation of investment funds that invest in or acquire private companies that are not listed on a public stock exchange. So-called PE funds may also buy out public companies, take them private, and then restructure them for potential future growth.

Commercial Real Estate

Commercial Real Estate:

Commercial real estate (CRE) refers to non-residential property that serves to generate income. This includes shopping malls, hotels, and office spaces.

Fintech

Corporate Development:

Corporate development positions work on growing the business through things like mergers and acquisitions. People in these positions often work to identify valuable companies to acquire, secure merger details from a larger corporation and set up the financial components of the deals.

ESG Investing

ESG Investing:

Commercial real estate (CRE) refers to non-residential property that serves to generate income. This includes shopping malls, hotels, and office spaces.

Investor Relations

Investor Relations:

Investor relations positions aren't at every company, but those who work in this field manage policies like dividends and buybacks. They also use financial modeling to research any equity options for the business.

FP & A

FP&A:

Financial planning and analysis (FP&A) positions handle things like budgeting, trend analysis, key performance indicator (KPI) development and forecasting. They must work with everyone in the company whose job impacts the operations of the organization, from accounting to corporate development.

Risk Management

Risk Management:

Risk management is the process of identifying, assessing and controlling threats to an organization's capital and earnings. These risks stem from a variety of sources including financial uncertainties, legal liabilities, technology issues, strategic management errors, accidents and natural disasters.

Insurance

Insurance:

Insurance is a practice or arrangement by which a company or government agency provides a guarantee of compensation for specified loss, damage, illness, or death in return for payment of a premium. Jobs in insurance range from underwriting, actuarial, marketing, sales, asset management, claims, and operations.

Advice

Skills and Knowledge You’ll Need

There are a few hard skills and some content areas that would prepare students to stand out as interns or full-time employees in finance, regardless of their area of study:

  • Excel and PowerPoint: These are the primary tools of business, so mastering them by completing basic and more advanced training modules on LinkedIn Learning before beginning an internship is the best way to become indispensable to your team leader.
  • Business Fundamentals: For students who do not take corporate finance and financial accounting courses at Colby, LinkedIn Learning has training modules to help close those knowledge gaps at no cost. Harvard Business School Online offers a low-cost CORe program, which includes virtual Business Analytics, Economics for Managers, and Financial Accounting and culminates with a certificate.

Prepare Well for Technical Interviews 

DavisConnects has robust resources for technical interview preparation:

  • Finance Advising Google Drive with behavioral and technical  interview guides for most common roles in finance, along with data sets and resources for financial modeling.
  • Colby’s student-led finance clubs, Colby Student Investment Alliance and Mayflower Hill Capital, teachtrain members financial modeling and valuation skills.
  • DavisConnects Finance Fellows are seniors who have return offers from top banks and private equity firms, hired to advise first- years and sophomores in resumes, cover letters, and finance interview preparation.
  • Colby’s Department of Economics offers Wall Street Prep Advanced Excel and financial modeling courses each semester to its majors.

Use These Resources

In addition to primers on technical interview techniques, there are some additional resources that can help students learn more about finance and prepare for interviews:

  • ModernGuild: This a free finance career prep program that connects students with leading firms in search of talent from non-target schools with students as well as offering and offers boot camps to help students prepare for interviews.
  • Ripplematch: This a free platform that matches students with leading firms in search of talent from non-target schools.
  • Finance Podcasts: Every major financial institution has its own podcasts, which are an excellent way to gain insight into markets and the firms themselves. Listen before you go on an interview to show that you have done your homework.
  • Finance News Sources:  Morning Brew, WSJ, Bloomberg News, and The Economist are great sources of financial news. Employers expect candidates to be aware of and engaged with news about financial markets.

Attend Finance Education & Networking Events

Every September, DavisConnects hosts its Investment Management EXPO, bringing 10-12 leading buy side firms. Senior alumni as well as new graduate consultants participate in panels to showcase the breadth of the industry and clarify the work that they do day to day. Students can meet alumni recruiting teams and HR representatives for the firms they are interested in learning more about in advance of recruiting deadlines.

For the past 10 years, DavisConnects has hosted its largest career education conference, Paving the Road to a Future in Finance, in October. Students can learn about the latest industry topics from leaders in the field, participate in small group discussions with experts, and even get recruited by participating employers.

Recruiting Process

Colby alumni can be found at many of the leading financial services firms and, in many cases, form recruiting teams to help Colby students access opportunities at these firms. For bulge bracket banks where we have alumni recruiting teams, a common practice is for team leaders to work with DavisConnects’ Employer Partnerships (EP) team to organize a resume drop where:

  • The EP team collects resumes from interested students well in advance of the firm’s application deadline.
  • The alumni recruiting team has preliminary conversations with applicants to determine their role preferences and fit, level of readiness for interviewing, and ability to take and apply critical feedback as they prepare.
  • Students apply on the bank’s website for these roles, based on alumni input.
  • The alumni recruiting team prepares and refers top candidates to their HR recruiters for a Super Day (final round interview).

Timelines

It’s important to understand the importance of junior year internships for the financial services industry. In most cases, recruiters for these firms want to hire 90 percent or more of their junior intern class full time upon graduation. This is why they invest heavily in selecting the right candidates and building relationships with them early in their collegiate careers

Banking

Timelines for financial services are a moving target, with application deadlines moving earlier and earlier each year. Right or wrong, students who wish to pursue careers in banking are expected to know which firms and roles they are most interested in by the start of the spring semester of their sophomore years, with the largest banks beginning their junior summer intern recruitment process as early as March or April of students’ sophomore year. This process starts even earlier for students who are underrepresented in banking (women, students of color, LGBTQ+, veterans, and sometimes neurodivergent candidates), as banks offer early identification recruitment programs aimed at improving diversity, equity, and inclusion at their firms.

The most popular roles at top-tier banks have the earliest recruiting timelines (investment banking, sales and trading, corporate banking, and equity research) with other roles such as private wealth management, investment management, public finance, and technology/quantitative roles recruiting somewhat later, often in summer after sophomore year or early fall of junior year. Top private equity firms also recruit early to compete successfully for talented students who might otherwise choose investment banking.

For those who miss the spring rush, there are still a number of boutique investment banks that choose not to participate in the arms race for talent and wait until late summer or early fall.

Investment Management

Generally speaking, “buy side” firms (investment management firms, hedge funds, and smaller PE firms) recruit later than investment banks do, in the late summer or early fall of junior year. Quite a few smaller investment management firms hire throughout the year and often offer internships to sophomores as well as juniors because they are not in the position to make full-time offers to outstanding interns. They want to help students set themselves up for high-stakes  internships in their junior summer or full-time banking positions after graduation.

Other Opportunities

Students seeking opportunities in investor relations, financial planning and analysis, risk, and finance operations can also find them throughout the year, though larger firms often recruit in September and October.

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