Background and Specialities
Background: Laxmi has pursued MBA in Finance and a CFA Level III Candidate (US) with more than 6 years of work experience in Commercial Banking and project finance having worked in global banks like SMBC and now RBC.
Specialties: Financial analysis, relationship management, financial modelling and credit risk analysis.
Preferred Mentee profile
- Background in commercial/corporate banking
- Bachelor’s/Master’s degree in finance/business management/economics
- Excellent communication and presentation skills
- Adaptable and willing to learn cultural nuances
My journey of finding employment in Toronto
The decision to come to Canada for me was a very emotional one. I was very well settled in Delhi working as a Commercial banker – a top performer and had more friends than colleagues in office. I also had my parents and siblings and none of them liked my idea of moving to Toronto.
The decision to move was a phenomenal one for me. What really helped me to make the final decision was endless discussions with a few childhood friends who had made Canada their new home and were very upbeat about it. I believe inside most of us is a traveller soul, something that wants you to be continuously on the road, seeking new experiences, making new friends and overcoming new challenges. I let my soul take over my mind and decided to quit and take a leap of faith- on myself.
Even before I had moved in, I started to reach out to people on LinkedIn and ask their suggestions for searching a suitable employment for myself. The advices that I received were humongous and all over the place. I was keen on building my career at one of the big five banks and a lot of Mentors suggested that getting a break in banking is exceedingly difficult. A lot of people suggested me to target financial advisor roles and gradually break in into the business banking world. With more than 5 years of my experience in commercial banking, I decided to dug my heels on the business banking side rather than retail banking. Mentally I had decided for myself that if I don’t make satisfactory breakthroughs within the first two months of my landing in Toronto, I would make my search more flexible.
My journey really started when I started reaching out to people for coffee chats. By now I had received enough insights on how to approach professionals on LinkedIn for mentoring sessions. The gist being that you should refrain from asking directly for referrals or help in finding a job. Approaching a potential Mentor by appreciating any of their unique achievements or simply their breadth of experience is a good way to begin a conversation. I used to phrase my message in a polite way stating that I appreciate their years of experience in commercial banking within the Canadian market and wanted to seek some guidance on how I can best structure my job search process here. I was quite aggressive in reaching out to many potential mentors in a single day. I must have had a mentoring interaction with at least 50 people in a short span of 2 months. A lot of my mentoring calls were over the phone. In my experience, senior professionals are a little pressed for time and one should be flexible enough not to push for an in-person coffee chat.
I was so busy in my coffee chats that I did not notice how fast my initial two months had vanished. By now I had started to get initial screening calls from recruiters for business banking roles and I started devoting some time to preparing for in-person interviews as well. Business and Commercial banking are sales oriented roles and a key focus during the interview process is on discovering the behavioural traits of the candidate as well as a cultural fit with the organization. The Mentors who had referred me for these opportunities were also kind enough to guide me on how best to carry myself during the interview process. Armed with these insights and becoming more confident as I was getting more and more interview opportunities, I focused on the next hurdle of my employment journey- that of clearing interviews.
With my 6 years of experience in commercial banking, i found out some behavioural questions on glassdoor and other web portals and conceptualised my answers. The beauty of behavioural questions is that they force you to think an internalize a few learning’s, an opportunity that you miss while working full time in a role. I had my interviews scheduled with 3 of the big five banks and I spent some time on getting to know the organizations a bit better. People are really passionate about the organizations they work for here and some of them spend their lifetime with a single one. I was surprised to discover that most of these banks had more than 150 years of history signifying an incredible amount of resiliency.
Almost all of my interviews were closely spaced and went quite well. I was appreciated for my ability to network well and the number of coffee chats I landed for myself. A typical interview process for business and commercial banking roles can be spread out over a long term as there are multiple rounds. I am happy to share that I got an offer to join from all the three banks that I interviewed with and decided to join the RBC Commercial Banking Team.
Organizations here really care for their employees and the support system is simply awesome. There are dedicated experienced Mentors who work closely with you to help you realise your true potential and learn the new ropes. For me, the passion for the work that you do and happy relationships in the workplace are the key ingredients of a successful professional life.
My advice to newcomers would be to simply follow their passion. The opportunity to build a new life in this positive country is a lifetime event. Just focus on doing that you really want to and the temporary setbacks that you face would become easily surmountable. You are hardworking and smart and that why this country gave you an opportunity to come. You may have to do what it takes to survive but never let go of your dreams.
“Don’t be discouraged by any temporary setbacks in your job search. Have faith in the process of networking and be ready to help others. Quickly opens wonderful opportunities for you”
Here are some articles by Laxmi
Finding employment in Canada is certainly a challenge. One should…
Join our mentoring initiative by registering with us….