When she started her Commerce degree at Queen’s, Izzy Farag wasn’t sure which path she wanted to follow, but she did know this: “I wanted to pick a career path that would offer a breadth of experiences and a steep learning curve. I wanted to do something where every project I’m working on is different and challenging.”
Izzy felt academically prepared for her undergraduate degree, leaving Greenwood with a solid grounding in math, business and economics. “I got to focus on courses that were most interesting to me and played to my strengths. I was able to take advanced options in subjects I was curious about,” she says. “My first year at Queen’s covered a lot of material that I had already learned in Grade 12, specifically in Accounting and Economics.” During her first year, she narrowed her career options down to Accounting and Finance, but an internship with CIBC’s Private Capital Group during her first-year summer sealed the deal. “I was working under extraordinary mentors who were willing to guide me through the big black box that was Investment Banking,” she says. “I’m so grateful for that opportunity and the relationships I made along the way. I’ve been fortunate enough to stay with the bank ever since.”
Over her next three years at Queen’s, she deepened her knowledge of finance through involvement with two Queen’s Commerce clubs: Limestone Capital and Queen’s Private Capital Group (QPCG), both of which are designed to mimic real-world workstreams. “QPCG is run to be very similar to Investment Banking,” Izzy says. “We worked with actual Private Equity clients, including major Canadian-based pension funds, and had the opportunity to help perform due diligence and market research on some of their potential investment decisions.” Through these clubs, Izzy was excited to deepen her knowledge and make connections with like-minded students in the field. She is also grateful to fellow Greenwood alumnus Elly Rosenbaum ‘14, a senior Queen’s Commerce student who acted as Izzy’s guide and mentor in her first year at the school. Elly was also involved with both Limestone and QPCG.
Izzy (fourth from left in second row) poses with the Limestone Capital Club in third year.
Izzy’s proclivities throughout university led her to her current role as an Investment Banking Analyst at CIBC Capital Markets. “Every day is different and every deal is different,” she says. Working in Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A), Izzy’s group manages M&A mandates across all industries and transaction structures. The Investment Banking industry is demanding, and Izzy puts 100% into everything she does - a trait she developed at Greenwood. “I learned the importance of taking ownership of your work, both in and out of the classroom,” she says. “I put care into everything I produce.”
Investment Banking is still a male-dominated field, which can be intimidating at times. “Starting in Investment Banking was challenging, but I pushed through and gained confidence over time thanks to the help of a lot of female mentors.” Although the Investment Banking career path can be intimidating to undergraduates for many different reasons, Izzy feels that it is important to challenge yourself and try new things, especially when you’re nervous.
Greenwood provides a number of opportunities to push yourself out of your comfort zone, and she encourages future students to capitalize on this. “Do things you’re scared of - sign up for clubs or committees that you have no experience in, but want to try. It’s how you discover new interests and gain self confidence.” she says. “You’ll be doing it in a community where everyone supports each other -- there’s no better place.”