The first thoughts that come to mind when I think about my McGill Desautels MBA experience is simply ‘life changing.’ McGill University had always been a dream school of mine. I thought somehow it was destiny, as attending my dream school led to finding my dream job and meeting my life long partner.
Prior to my MBA, I attended the University of Calgary where I graduated with a degree in Marketing and Economics. Thereafter, I founded a real estate development company, Invictus Real Estate Holdings Ltd., where I managed a portfolio of apartment leases, residential renovations, vacant land sales and new multi-family development. After meeting with several angel investors and venture capitalists to raise capital for projects, I was motivated to switch industries from marketing and real estate and began exploring careers in finance.
I always knew of investment banking (IB) as a competitive, yet rewarding industry to work in, where the grind and the learning never stop. I began to connect with professionals in the industry and knew immediately that it was what I wanted to do. I was advised that landing a job in IB depended on four critical aspects: (1) networking, (2) technical interview preparation, (3) extracurricular involvement, and (4) a strong GPA. The course of my first year focused solely on those factors… coming from a non-finance background, the learning curve was incredibly steep.
January rolled around and I was invited to a few final round interviews only to fall short of receiving an internship offer in IB. I decided to go with plan B which was an internship in Sales & Trading (S&T) at CIBC Capital Markets. My summer internship experience turned out better than I had expected and I received an offer to return to the firm on a full-time basis. Although I enjoyed my experience at CIBC and learned more than I could have imagined over the course of the summer, I decided to keep my sight on investment banking. So back on the hunt I went. After a series of interviews and super-days, I ultimately decided to begin my investment banking career with TD Securities in the Mergers & Acquisitions group in Toronto.
The journey to success could not have been without the opportunities that Desautels had given me. From my extracurricular involvement in the MBA Finance Club, McGill Case Competition Association, McGill Investment Committee and Desautels Capital Management, to the Mentorship Program organized by the Career Centre, to the ongoing meeting with my career coaches. I believe that my success is owed to the existence of the support of my #DesautelsFamily.
My advice to incoming students is to (1) have a vision and to never give up on it. You are the master of your fate and with the right attitude, work ethic and persistence… anything is possible. (2) Always be open to criticism and acknowledge how you can work on your weaknesses – no one is perfect and there is always room for improvement. (3) Invest in meaningful connections and enjoy the journey – the next two years will fly by before you know it so don’t forget to enjoy it while it lasts. If you’ve made it this far, thank you for reading my story and feel free to contact me if you ever need any help or advice.
Jayden Van is from Calgary, Canada. Before embarking on his MBA journey, Jayden worked at Westjet in Digital Marketing and Analytics and started his own Real Estate company. At McGill, Jayden did the Investment Management Program and was President of the Finance Club. He was also involved with the Desautels Capital Management (DCM), the McGill Shareholder Activism Research Group (MSHARES), the McGill Investment Committee (MIC) and the McGill Case Competition Association (MCCA). Jayden’s team also placed in the Top 4 at the Finance Case Competition held in Bocconi, Italy. After doing an MBA internship in Sales and Trading internship at CIBC, Jayden successfully completed his MBA and career switch objective: He is now working as an Investment Banking Associate for TD in Toronto.