Early start to the Finance option

"Finance education at UBC Sauder aims to contribute to building a more just, sustainable, and prosperous world for all, by instilling in our students a deep sense of rigour, respect, and responsibility."

Jan Bena

PhD Finance (London School of Economics), PhD Economics (CERGE-EI)
Bank of Montreal Chair in International Finance
Associate Professor and Chair, Finance Division



What is the Early Start to the Finance Option?

The Early Start to the Finance Option is an opportunity for students to begin specializing in Finance in Year 2 and complete all of the requirements for the Finance option by the end of Year 3. For more information, download the Early Start to the Finance Option fact sheet.

Download Fact Sheet    



Why Apply to Early Start to the Finance Option?

 

  • You want to learn about financial markets and explore career opportunities in finance earlier in your commerce degree.

  • You’ll get early exposure to:

    • Foundational finance courses as well as more advanced courses

    • The different specialization areas within finance

    • Support from the UBC Sauder community for Finance students (e.g. BCC programming & beyond)

  • Preparation and opportunities to get finance internships as early as the end of your 2nd year.

 

Early Start is the right fit for you if you...

Have strong quantitative and analytical skills.

Are an adaptable team player with strong relationship building and communication skills. 

Demonstrate a diverse and inclusive mindset and critical thinking.

Have a keen work ethic & capacity to manage a challenging course load while maintaining a high GPA.



Remember, you can always follow the traditional Finance pathway if you need more time to decide or aren’t admitted to Early Start.



Why Consider a Career in Finance?

 

  • You never stop learning and financial markets change all the time.

  • Finance is both qualitative and quantitative.

  • Finance is both global and local.

  • Finance focuses on the future.

  • Ethics matter more than ever.

  • Finance benefits from diversity in thinking.

 

Fields in Financial Markets

banking sales and trade icon

Banking, Sales and Trade

Asset & Investment Management

FinTech, Crypto & DeFi

equity and debt capital markets icon

Equity and Debt, Capital Markets

Corporate Finance, ESG

Trading, Exchanges, Brokers

Impact & Socially Responsible Investing, Compliance and Risk

Private Equity, Venture Capital

Finance Careers

Employers are looking for you to stand out with...

  • Knowledge of theoretical foundations of finance. 

  • Oral and written communication skills.

  • Analytical and technical skills.

  • Independent critical thinking and ability to confront new problems.

  • Identification and utilization of key sources of financial data and information.

  • Teamwork and relationship building skills. 

  • Ability to analyze and interpret data.

  • Responsible and ethical behaviour.

How do you Apply to Early Start to the Finance Option?

Register for COMM 298 in 2021W Term 1. Once you are registered, an email will be sent to you on July 23, 2021 with a link to the Canvas application form.

Complete an application form on Canvas, including an opinion essay (Part 1 of application) by August 2, 2021.

Achieve required grades in COMM 290, 293, 295, and 298 in Term 1. 

Complete Part 2 of application on Canvas by end of Term 1 deadline.

Early Start to the Finance Option Course Pathway

Year 2
COMM 298Introduction to Finance (Term 1)
COMM 370Corporate Finance (Term 2)
Year 3
COMM 371Investment Theory (Term 1)
COMM 374Applied Financial Markets (Term 2)
Year 3 or Year 4
Six credits from the following courses:
COMM 3771International Financial Markets and Institutions
COMM 4702
Venture Capital
COMM 4713Mergers and Acquisitions
COMM 4741Fixed Income Markets & Management
COMM 4751Investment Policy
COMM 4774Risk Management & Financial Engineering
COMM 4795Advanced Topics in Corporate Finance
COMM 486H1Advanced Topics in Investment Management
1 Can be taken at the earliest in Year 3 Term 2 because COMM 371 is a prerequisite for the course.
2 Formerly numbered COMM 386G and titled Venture Capital and Angel Financing. COMM 470 may be used to fulfill requirements toward either the Entrepreneurship or Finance option, but not both.
3 Formerly titled Financial Management. 
4 Can be taken at the earliest in Year 4 Term 1 because COMM 374 is the prerequisite for the course.
5 Formerly numbered COMM 486Q.

Eligibility

To be eligible for the Early Start to the Finance Option in the 2021 Winter Session, students are required to: 

  • Be starting Year 2 for the first time in 2021W (students who had a Year 2 standing in 2020W or a previous winter session are not eligible to apply).
  • Have COMM 290, 293, and 295* completed or be completing them in Term 1 of 2021W.
  • Complete COMM 298* in Term 1 of 2021W. 
  • Have COMM 291 and COMM 294 completed or be completing them in 2021W.
  • Be eligible for promotion to Year 3 at the end of 2021W.
* COMM 290, 293, 295, and 298 must be completed while registered in the BCom program at UBC Sauder.

Admission

You must submit a two-part application for admission to the Early Start to the Finance Option. Part One of the application must be submitted after successful registration in COMM 298 in Term 1 as a condition of continued registration; students who do not submit it will be removed from the course. Part Two of the application must be submitted by the end of Term 1 (date to be determined).

Space in the Early Start to the Finance Option is limited. Admission is competitive and based on of the following criteria:  

  • A minimum grade of 65% on the first attempt in each of the following UBC courses: COMM 290, COMM 293, and COMM 295. All of these courses need to be completed by the end of Term 1 of Year 2. Grades from repeated attempts will not be considered.
  • A minimum grade of 75% in COMM 298.
  • A minimum average of 76% calculated on all of COMM 290, COMM 293, COMM 295, and COMM 298.
  • Qualitative evaluation in COMM 298.

Applicants to the Early Start to the Finance Option will be notified of decisions at the start of Term 2 of Year 2. Students who are admitted to the option will be registered in their first required Finance option course, COMM 370 Corporate Finance, in Term 2 by the Undergraduate Office.

Note: Students who are not admitted to the Early Start to the Finance option can still choose the Finance option after completing Year 2. Selection of the Finance option requires a competitive GPA (see option selection criteria).

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  • Eligibility and Registration
  • Admission
  • Option Requirements
  • Career Preparation and Employment Opportunities
Eligibility and Registration

Is this Early Start to the Finance Option a good pathway for me?

If you’re interested in pursuing a career in the capital markets, the Early Start to the Finance Option provides early access to advanced finance courses in Years 2 and 3. This option pathway is a good fit if you have:

  • The capacity to take on an extremely heavy/challenging course load in BOTH Years 2 and 3, while maintaining a high academic average.
  • Strong quantitative, problem solving, and analytical skills.
  • An exceptional work ethic.
  • Excellent time management skills.
  • Strong teamwork and interpersonal skills.
  • Research skills.



What if I’m not able to register myself in a Term 1 section of COMM 298 because the sections are full?

Your registration date and time for the winter session is determined by your previous winter session average. The higher your previous winter session average, the earlier your registration open date and time will be. If Term 1 sections of COMM 298 are full when your registration opens, register for a Term 2 section. You can then add yourself to a waitlist for a Term 1 section; waitlist details will be provided in the registration information you will receive prior to registration. If any seats become available before the start of Term 1, students on the waitlist will be prioritized for registration based on their previous winter session average.    



Will I still be eligible to apply to the Early Start to the Finance Option if I can’t complete one or more of COMM 290, COMM 293, COMM 295, or COMM 298 in Term 1?

In order to be eligible for the Early Start to the Finance Option, you must have all of COMM 290, COMM 293, COMM 295 and COMM 298 completed before the start of Term 2. If you have deferred standing (i.e., SD) for any of these courses at the end of Term 1, you will not be eligible for the Early Start to the Finance Option. Instead, you can still choose the Finance option after completing Year 2. Please note that selection of the Finance option requires a competitive GPA (see option selection criteria).



Can I retake any of COMM 290, COMM 293, COMM 295, and COMM 298 if my grades were less than the required minimums?

We will only consider grades from your first attempt at the required courses to determine your eligibility for admission to the Early Start. Appeals on the basis of extenuating circumstances will not be accepted. Remember, you can still choose the Finance option after completing Year 2. Please note that selection of the Finance option requires a competitive GPA (see option selection criteria).



What if I register for the Term 1 section of COMM 298 and decide that I no longer want to pursue the Early Start to the Finance Option?

If you decide that you no longer want to pursue the Early Start to the option before the start of Term 1, we encourage you to switch yourself to a section of COMM 298 in Term 2. If you are unable to switch yourself to a Term 2 section, please complete the online registration assistance form so that the Undergraduate Office can assist you. If you decide that you no longer want to pursue the Early Start to the option while completing COMM 298 in Term 1, it is not necessary to submit Part Two of the Early Start application. 



Can I take COMM 271 Introduction to Capital Markets and still be eligible for the Early Start to the Finance Option?

Yes. Admission to COMM 271 is also by application (see details). If you are admitted to COMM 271, keep in mind that the course is scheduled in Term 1 of the winter session during which you will also be taking all of COMM 293, COMM 295, and COMM 298 (and possibly COMM 290 if you are a transfer student). If you are a direct entry student who is planning to apply for a seat in COMM 271, you may consider taking COMM 293 and/or COMM 295 during the summer to reduce your Term 1 course load.

One advantage to taking COMM 271—if you are admitted to the course—is that it may help to you determine if a career in capital markets is the right fit for you.

You could also complete COMM 271 and start the Finance option in Year 3 or complete COMM 271 and pursue a different option.

Admission

Once I register myself in a Term 1 section of COMM 298, when will I need to submit Part One of the application to remain registered in my Term 1 section?

Part One of the application will be required to be submitted through Canvas by August 2, 2021. The link will be provided by email to all Year 2 students registered in a Term 1 section of COMM 298 on July 23.



Is the 76% minimum average requirement based on only COMM 290, COMM 293, COMM 295, and COMM 298 or does it include other courses?

The 76% minimum average requirement for consideration of admission to the Early Start to Finance Option includes only COMM 290, COMM 293, COMM 295, and COMM 298 (in addition to the individual course minimums listed under Admission above).

If you are not admitted to the Early Start and plan to start the Finance option in Year 3, selection of Finance requires a competitive GPA based on your Year 2 winter session average of all courses taken from September to April (see option selection criteria).



If I meet the academic minimums, will admission be considered by my average or would admission be more heavily based on my written application?

Both components are equally important and will be considered when determining admission.



If the number of applicants to the Early Start to the Finance Option exceeds the limited number of seats available, does that mean that achievement of the academic minimums required for admission may not guarantee admission?

Yes. If there is high demand for the Early Start to the Finance Option, actual admission averages may be higher depending on the pool of applicants.



When will I know if I’ve been admitted?

Applicants to the Early Start to the Finance Option will be notified of decisions at the start of Term 2 in January.



Can I still join the Finance option even if I wasn’t admitted to the Early Start to the Finance Option?

Yes. Students who are not admitted to the Early Start to the Finance Option can still choose the Finance option after completing Year 2. Please note that selection of the Finance option requires a competitive GPA (see option selection criteria).

Option Requirements

Are the option requirements the same for the Early Start to the Finance option and the traditional Finance option?

Yes. Course requirements are the same regardless of when you start the option.



What are the promotion requirements for the Early Start to the Finance Option?

Within the Early Start to the Finance Option, progression from year to year still requires completion of the same promotion requirements. Participants should expect to complete a Commerce-intensive schedule of core and option courses in Years 2 and 3, deferring most electives to Year 4.  



Can I still complete a double option if I’m admitted to the Early Start?

Yes. It is still possible to complete a second option. Courses taken toward a second option count as Commerce electives toward your elective degree requirements. Completion of a second option may require you to extend the duration of your studies. Learn more about double options.



If I’m in the Combined Major in Business and Computer Science (BUCS), am I eligible to complete the Early Start to Finance as a second option and use these credits toward elective requirements?

No. The BUCS program itself is intensive with limited room for electives. It is not structured to be completed with a second option.



Can I take Finance as a minor if I am not sure about taking Finance as my major?

Finance is an option (i.e., specialization) rather than a major. All BCom students have the same major: Commerce. The BCom program is not structured to allow for completion of a minor in an area of business. For BComs, a minor is typically 30 credits of coursework in a subject area outside of business, of which at least 18 credits are at the 300/400-level.

If you are planning to take 300/400-level Finance courses, it is recommended that you pursue Finance as your primary option. Because there is high demand for Finance courses, there are very few seats open to non-Finance students (many Finance courses don’t have any).



If I finish the option in Year 3, can I graduate early?

While the Early Start does allow you to complete the Finance option in Year 3, you must also complete all of your other BCom program requirements to graduate. Your earliest opportunity to complete your required Year 4 capstone course (i.e., one of COMM 491, COMM 497, COMM 498, etc.) will be during the summer session after Year 3. 

If you start the BCom program with advanced credit, complete a full course load each winter session, and complete courses during the summer, you may be able to finish your program in less than four years.



Will my academic transcript indicate that I completed the Early Start to the Finance Option?

No. Completion of the Finance option will be denoted on all academic transcripts in the same way for all Finance students regardless of when they started the option.  

Career Preparation and Employment Opportunities

What extracurricular activities should I do if I want to pursue a career in capital markets?

You should be ready to commit most, if not all, of your extracurricular time to the following:

  • Building knowledge on the different roles and skillsets needed to stand out to employers in the capital markets.
  • Reviewing online resources, attending company information sessions, and setting up informational coffee chats with BCom Career Managers, senior students, alumni, and finance professionals. It is recommended that you start doing this in the summer after Year 1 and throughout Year 2.
  • Getting involved with relevant clubs, events, and competitions to build your financial knowledge and practice the interpersonal and technical skills needed to succeed in the capital markets.
  • Practicing self-reflection as new knowledge is gained, to build a solid understanding of your individual “why” for pursuing particular finance roles. The answer to this foundational question is necessary to help you navigate the opportunities in finance you will be exposed to. It is also asked during internship interviews and often referred to in informational interviews.



What are the benefits of completing the Early Start to the Finance Option versus the traditional Finance option?

Career path engagement

The Early Start to the Finance option allows you to be identified earlier for specific campus recruitment events from the major banks, pension plan companies, and investment firms. This allows for connection opportunities that can benefit you when you search for relevant summer internships. It can also provide you with a better understanding of the types of roles and positions that fall under the large capital markets umbrella. Organizations are eager to identify, and are starting to target, students interested in finance earlier in their academic careers.

Early exposure to relevant knowledge and skillsets

Along with giving you early exposure to the fundamental concepts of corporate finance, the Early Start to the Finance Option provides you with the opportunity to practice relevant Excel skills in COMM 370 in Year 2.

Additionally, you have an opportunity to take all of your advanced finance courses by the end of Year 3, which allows you to focus on specific areas in the capital markets and better prepare for interviews.



Do my grades matter once I’m admitted to the Early Start to the Finance Option?

If you apply to summer internships in capital markets, companies will consider your academic transcript during the screening process as a performance indicator so it’s important that you continue to maintain good grades. Your continued research and self-reflection in this area and involvement in relevant extracurricular activities will also help you to stand out as a strong candidate.



Does taking the Early Start to the Finance option guarantee I will find an internship in the capital markets?

No, there are no guarantees that students taking the Early Start to the Finance Option will land an internship in the capital markets or any other area of finance. This is due to the high level of competition for these internships.

Whether or not you are in the Early Start to Finance Option, students who have landed internships exhibit both a strong dedication to their academics and a commitment to relevant extracurricular activities. It’s important to keep in mind, even this combination of academics and commitment does not guarantee success in landing an internship.



Will not getting into the Early Start to the Finance Option prevent me from landing an internship in the capital markets?

No. Students who do not take the Early Start to the Finance Option can still land internships in the capital markets. Students from various options, not just Finance and Accounting, have successfully landed internships in the capital markets. 

 

Additional questions?

Do you have more questions about the Early Start to the Finance Option? Please send them to bcomquestions@sauder.ubc.ca.


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