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Investment Banking Training and Orientation Program

Investment Banking Training and Orientation for Canadian Banks

For the Canadian banks, the analyst and associate programs include three to four weeks of training and orientation starting in August as newly minted bankers from Ivey and Queens finish backpacking around Europe and Asia.

Over the course of the program, there is plethora of speeches by senior management and C-suite professionals who will speak to the capabilities of the firm and go through presentations of each major product and coverage group in the capital markets platform. Representatives from Bloomberg and Factset will give brief tutorials, walk through the API and demonstrate key functions (primarily for sales and trading staff).

All Canadian banks will have comprehensive financial modeling training which will encompass Microsoft Excel techniques (charting, key functions), accounting, discounted cash flow valuation, and leveraged buy out scenarios. Investment bankers may also receive a course on merger models.

For US banks, the first week will include an accounting crash course and crash courses for your securities series exams. You must pass the series exams to work in investment banking. If you fail during training you will have another 30 days after you start to pass your exams – if you fail then, the investment bank can and will fire you. There is no excuse not to pass these rote memorization exams, and we have seen people get glamorous jobs at top banks and then get canned before they even get started.

Throughout the training program, new hires are well fed and are given access to several social events with alcohol. This is the best time to foster relationships that will hold deep into a business career. Usually, junior bankers and traders already on the desk will host a larger party that is second to only bonus night to cap off the orientation.

Finance celebrities do show up to training. For example, at Moelis & Co., Ken Moelis himself will give a speech. At JPM, I have heard that you do not usually get someone as senior as Jamie Dimon but the head of investment banking may show up. At Canadian banks, the CEO may show up to give a speech.

All of the product group heads will also usually do the rounds and explain what they do and how they succeeded at the firm. This is an invaluable experience.

New hires are not expected to work during training and for many, it will be the most relaxed time in their banking careers. Employees who chose to start early will be expected to step out of training and work after 5PM when the day concludes (so think about that before offering to start early).

The training program for Canadian banks usually takes place in Toronto or New York, and satellite office hires (Vancouver, Calgary, Melbourne, New York, Houston, Chicago, Hong Kong, London) will be placed in a quality hotel throughout.

The Bulge Brackets will have a longer training program (usually six weeks) that covers technical concepts in much more detail. The orientation is also longer to cover the broader product suite that a global bank offers. The training program will usually be in New York, and there will be new hires from all major financial centers.

For summer programs, training is usually one week for analysts at Canadian banks and two weeks for Bulge Brackets. After the fleeting glory of training, work begins.

Can You Get Fired During Training?

Unfortunately, or fortunately, you can get fired during the training and orientation program. However, this is very rare and usually only one person gets fired across all the banks every year. If you get fired during orientation this is quite negative for future employment processes.

The usual offences are:

Missing the training sessions – especially for analysts in a new city, it is tempting to explore and party too hard late at night. However, training is paid time and the cost of getting third party trainers for accounting and finance concepts as well as the excel modelling professionals is very high and skipping these is grounds for termination. You will have to show up, even with a bad hangover.

Getting too drunk and doing something inappropriate – banks like to put on a show for new hires to foster job pride early, but some analysts do not hold liquor well. This is a politically sensitive time and an off-colour remark or roughhousing is almost surefire dismissal. As a representative of the organisation during training, you can be dismissed for actions committed outside of bank functions. We heard of a new analyst getting dismissed because he solicited the services of an escort at bank provided luxury hotel lodging.

Common sense will usually prevail. Don’t get too drunk and if you do get too drunk don’t try to fight a managing director or anything.

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ex investment banking associate

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