Women are good business.
As a recent MBA graduate working in the investment management industry, I am the minority.
Why am I the minority? What’s the reason there aren’t more women in business? Why aren’t there more women in the C-suite? These are all questions I hope to shed some light on.
I recently had the opportunity to attend a conference focused on women in business. This conference emphasized the importance of increasing the pipeline of women into careers in banking and financial services. This starts as early as elementary school, with introducing young women to simple business concepts such as money, budgeting, investments, etc. From a young age, it is noted that women seek careers in which they can help or serve someone.
Encourage and support female finance students
Young women hear, “you would be a great nurse or teacher” but do they ever hear they would be a great financial advisor or portfolio manager? Probably not. It is important that we start emphasizing that a career in business serves a greater purpose as well. As a financial advisor or portfolio manager, you help your clients or firm achieve their personal financial goals or desired investment returns.
Let’s switch gears to women pursuing their undergraduate or graduate education. As if starting a new school and preparing for three exams in one week doesn’t give you enough anxiety, what about pursuing a major in which you are the minority as well?
Compare to the support and guidance for women in STEM
Many universities have tried alleviating this by offering residential communities designed for women in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics). These dorm communities not only support women academically and socially, but also create a sense of community and cohort like environment where women are comfortable and eager to continue to pursue their major. But, are these residential communities being offered for women in business or finance? No, it is definitely a rarity. Would these residential communities encourage more women to continue in their major and pursue a career in business? Probably. Therefore, it’s worth considering or trying.
As I continue to ponder why women in business are the minority, I remain hopeful that the pipeline of women in this industry will increase and universities will partner with firms to offer women more internship, shadowing, and mentoring opportunities. So, the question remains, will women continue to be the minority in business and the C-suite? Surely, only time will tell. In the meantime, I see firsthand everyday how important it is to have women in the workplace. Women are good business: we offer a different and unique perspective which leads to engagement and innovation which ultimately drives the bottom line.
Key conference takeaways:
- Gender diversity in the investment management industry is not keeping pace with other professional fields
- Firms need to create a demand for diversity while also promoting the fact that a career in finance can be impactful on society and the world
- Women are crucial pieces to the puzzle when it comes to creativity and intelligence in managing money
Questions to follow-up
We’d love for this piece to spark a discussion about finance as a discipline and career path, and would love to answer some questions and follow-up in a future post:
- Are you interested in finance?
- What questions do you have about breaking into the industry?
- What questions do you have about various career paths in finance?
- Are you a woman working in finance? What programs or tools have you leveraged along the way in pursuing your education and career? Did you have a mentor/advisor or sponsor who really advocated for you and encouraged you in your work and studies? What would you have liked to know when first starting out?
Would you like to share your experiences with MBAchic? Head here and let’s get the ball rolling!