Lessons of grit and tenacity from the National Investment Banking Conference

Thursday, June 1, 2023
by Keshav, CFM student

In early March, School of Accounting and Finance (SAF) students Mahek, Puneet, Daniel and I competed in the final round of the National Investment Banking Conference (NIBC) in Vancouver. I participated in the conference because I believed it would offer a glimpse into what a career in investment banking would be like. As a Computing and Financial Management (CFM) student, all of my work term placements have been in computer science or software engineering roles, so this pushed me out of my comfort zone to explore the finance side a bit more. The competition and the conference that followed showed me the importance of grit and tenacity. 

Preparing for the competition and qualifying for the final round was no small feat. To qualify, our team utilized our knowledge from SAF courses, like mergers and acquisitions, to perform a thorough financial analysis and create a pitch book. The competition looked at two possible acquisition strategies within the Canadian dental space and provided a go-forward recommendation. During this process, I realized the importance of crafting a story and how our strategy had to make sense from both a strategic and financial rationale. I was shocked to see the speed and intensity to which many of the competitors worked. You could feel the excitement in the air. Our team culminated our competition experience by presenting in front of and taking questions from a panel of seasoned industry members. 

Following our pitch to the judges, I think the true learning came from speaking to industry professionals during networking sessions and fireside chats. I had the opportunity to speak with one of the managing directors of British Columbia Investment Management Corporation (BCI) who provided some insights on how they hedge foreign political risk and invest during the current inflationary environment. I also had the chance to meet competitors from across the globe. Teams from all over the world, including countries like England and Thailand, were all friendly and wonderful to talk to! I could not help but notice that while everyone who came to the conference brought their own unique experiences and diverse background, the underlying similarity everyone shared was the deterministic and tenacious attitude that helped them succeed. 

Beyond the competition, I had a chance to explore Vancouver for the first time. Our team made sure to soak in the sights and mountain ranges from the Canada Place Waterfront by taking a SeaBus to explore North Vancouver. I even had a chance to ski the slopes of Grouse Mountain during our day off!  

Leaving Vancouver, my peers and I came out of this experience learning more about ourselves and our strengths. This competition showed me that the learning and career opportunities available to SAF students are endless.