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Economics Alumni Feature: Connor Guile (BA, 2017)
Connor Guile is a corporate strategy analyst at Farmers Edge (TSX: FDGE) where he develops presentations and prepares research for the executive leadership team and the Board of Directors.
He is a recent graduate of the Master in Business Administration (MBA) program at the University of British Columbia and is currently a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) level 3 candidate. He brings a background in macroeconomic research, financial reporting analysis, private equity, and accounting.
Prior to his MBA in 2018, Connor was selected from a pool of over 5,000 applicants to be 1 of 100 RBC Career Launch Associates, and the first to be placed in the Office of the CEO. He recently interned as an associate at Kogi Capital, a local boutique private equity firm focused on service based sustainability investments.
What should students know about breaking into AN industry/profession?
If you know what roles you are looking for, I would suggest networking with those teams as early as possible. When the recruiters know who you are before you apply for the position, it puts you in a great light.
In the case of cold applying it often relies on good signaling. Great grades, CFA level 1, high scores on standardized tests are great signaling for roles that deal with high stress levels, and diverse knowledge bases (private equity, equity analysts, investment banking). Volunteering, sports and social activities are great signals for team-based roles (consulting, research, venture capital partners). In addition to the above, almost any job requires the following - integrity, determination, work ethic, communication, and problem solving.
In short, focus on building the skills needed for that specific industry you are trying to break in to. If you don’t know the industry, look at your personal strengths then find which industry suits you best.
What skills or credentials does one need to succeed in the job market?
While breaking into the industry is a result of proper signaling, sustained success is a factor of continuous improvement, intellectual curiosity, and a high motivation. To quote Charlie Munger: “You show me the incentives and I’ll show you the outcome”. Every interaction I have with a stakeholder I try to determine their incentive. Is this a need from me, a want from me or is this a nice-to-have from me? Is this a mutually beneficial use of our time?
On the flip side, it is paramount that you remember who has helped you along the way. Be hearty in your approbation and lavish in your praise. If you dedicate yourself to others, you will all succeed in the long run.
Looking back at your university experience, what is one piece of advice you would give to current students?
When walking around campus, don't be afraid to take your headphones out and talk to people outside of your close circle. Yes, SFU can be described as a commuter school but that doesn’t forbid you from being social with the people around you. Develop a sense of community by working through problems together, utilizing the SFU Economics events around you and the fantastic resources provided by Carmen Chin and Azam Bhatti!
What were your favourite courses? Any professors that made a big impact on you?
During my second year at SFU, I was introduced to behavioural economics and fell in love with the intersection of economics and psychology. Professor David Freeman provided me with so many great resources to thirst my curiosity on the subject. I highly recommend.