In academic settings, opportunities to gain hands-on experience are rare. The struggle to gain real-world experience like internships, co-op, and volunteering is an uncertain battleground filled with constant struggle and seemingly large mountains to overcome.

The University of Toronto Investment Banking Club (UTIBC) aims to solve this issue by helping its members get a foot into the door of investment banking — a form of banking that helps firms organize complex financial transactions such as mergers. They do so by providing students with an understanding of financial theory basics and experience. 

Preparing its members for a career in investment banking

“UTIBC is committed to [promoting] diversity across our organization by welcoming prospective members from all years and academic programs,” wrote Thomas Aalbers — co-president of UTIBC — in an email to The Varsity

The club has been focused on the vision of its members graduating with the necessary skills to begin a career in investment banking. UTIBC offers memberships and programs to train its members in this field in order to achieve this vision. 

The club achieves this by offering analyst training that spans a year, designed to help students gain knowledge and experience in analyzing. This program is designed for any student with any level of experience and knowledge in this field. Weekly tutorials, modules, intra-club stock simulation competitions, and interactive market discussions are a few of the activities students are exposed to in this program. 

The club also includes a membership program with the option of members joining as general or Blue Chip Members. General members have access to digital communications, like newsletters and email reminders about events; the UTIBC Discord Server that provides job updates; and access to the UTIBC online educational resources and recommended reading list. 

Blue Chip Members receive all the benefits of general membership, as well as others, such as invitations to limited capacity opportunities, career preparation guides, recordings of the Analyst Training Program sessions, and exclusive discounts for partner materials including Wall Street Oasis, Breaking into Wall Street and Corporate Finance Institute. Blue Chip Members also have access to mentorship opportunities with upper year students and club alumni.

The UTIBC Impact Fund 

The UTIBC Impact Fund is an initiative that the club aims to launch by fall 2023. This initiative focuses on giving back to the U of T community by contributing to financial aid at the university and charities within Toronto. It also aims to allow members to practice theory they learn in class through real-world application under the supervision of the executive board, the portfolio management team, and the investment team.

“We wish to leave a long-lasting legacy at the University of Toronto and broader community through this initiative,” wrote Aalbers.

As the fall 2023 project date approaches slowly, the onset of students giving back to students through a club focused on inclusion, education, and giving back will certainly be an exciting historical moment at U of T. 

Bringing diversity to a male-dominated field

“The finance industry has been historically dominated by white male bankers. We hope to address this and other dimensions of systemic inequality in the industry by establishing inclusion as a core value at UTIBC,” wrote Aalbers when asked about UTIBC’s open-to-all policy. “We aim to make access to information more equitable and breaking into the industry more accessible to students from all backgrounds,” he wrote. 

As UTIBC grows, Aalbers hopes to “continue to diversify [the club’s] member base, expand operations, and build long-lasting relationships with [the U of T] alumni network, industry professionals, and corporate partners.” 

With such a strong team, students with any level of experience who are interested in joining this club will most definitely be welcomed with open arms and minds.