A career in banking wasn’t even on Kaleigh Brinkhurst’s radar until she started Dalhousie University’s Corporate Residency MBA program.
Now, as part of her MBA work placement, she’s a Small Business Account Manager and loves her work!
Kaleigh also has an undergraduate degree in Agricultural Economics from the Nova Scotia Agricultural College (NSAC), which indirectly sparked her interest in the field when she met an NSAC alumnus who used a similar degree to hatch a banking career. This connection created the perfect opportunity for Kaleigh to check out the banking industry for herself.
“After talking to the alumnus, I began exploring the different roles within banking and became very excited to work in an industry where there were so many different directions to take,” Kaleigh said.
Kaleigh offered some insights into banking careers.
Develop an array of skills
According to Kaleigh, exploring your career in banking might require tackling an unfamiliar or challenging role at any time, so it’s important to have a varied skill set.
This is good advice in any field, as a commitment to continuous learning and development ensures you’re a well-rounded employee.
Not just a career in banking
Banking is a great industry to work in thanks to its presence in other industries as well! For Kaleigh, this means being able to work in two industries she loves: agriculture and banking.
“Utilizing my financial knowledge and previous experience from my undergrad as a means to help farmers and businesses accomplish their financial and business goals is a way that I can give back to the community and help businesses grow,” says Kaleigh.
“I have developed a passion for the agricultural industry and helping people grow their ideas into successful ventures. The banking industry is the perfect platform to achieve these goals,” she adds.
Collaboration is a plus
Kaleigh said she felt welcomed into the team, as everyone was excited to have her there.
“At any point in my residency, I was able to reach out for advice, questions or the opportunity to job shadow. If it was not for these amazing people within the branch and the bank as a whole, I would not be where I am now and I would certainly not have learned as much as I have,” she said.
The opportunity for collaboration doesn’t only develop your teamwork skills. When you work as part of a team, you’ll get the chance to learn new things and approach tasks from different perspectives.
Mentorship plays a key role
Kaleigh is passionate about agriculture and she loves that she can combine the two in her current job. Kaleigh said that she was encouraged to pursue her passion for agriculture by people she works with in the bank and has now secured a position in Scotiabank’s Commercial Agriculture team.
“Having mentors and an organization that is willing to be flexible and have you pursue a role based on a passion was critical in fostering my desire to stay with the bank,” she said.
Tips for fellow placement seekers
Kaleigh also offered advice to students who are embarking on similar undergraduate co-op or MBA placements.
She says that being open to learning is a top priority. No matter what educational background you have, you can always learn more from people within an organization – don’t let opportunities pass by because you do not initially see them as being worthwhile.
Kaleigh added that a placement isn’t designed to be a dream job, but rather, provides the opportunity to take risks and break out of your comfort zone so you can learn and take valuable tools into your next role.
“It’s up to you to create a placement that provides the learning experience you want,” she says.
“There are too many instances where people blame others for not having a great coop or placement. Yes, the organization can greatly impact it, but as a student, it is up to you to learn and adapt to the environment you are placed in and make it a valuable learning experience,” she says.
Want to learn more about starting a career in the banking industry? Check out TalentEgg’s Banking Career Guide!
Photo credit: Ken Teegardin on Flickr