Georgetown’s Women in Leadership Initiative and the Georgetown chapter of the Financial Management Association hosted a panel and networking event Thursday in the Rafik B. Hariri Building about women and their roles in the financial sector, specifically on Wall Street.
The panel, which was moderated by professor Lynn Doran from the McDonough School of Business, has been planned and moderated by Doran for the past five years. Many of the panelists were Georgetown alumni, with representatives from various investment banks including Barclays Capital, Credit Suisse, Citibank, Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, Merrill Lynch, Blackrock, JPMorgan Chase, Morgan Stanley, Deutsche Bank and UBS.
Doran said that she placed a high importance on featuring Georgetown alumni among the panelists.
“I think our students can better relate to the panelists since they were once students at Georgetown themselves,” Doran wrote in an email to The Hoya. “It is also important for our students to see how accomplished and successful these women have been. It allows students to imagine their own similar success in the financial world.”
The first section of the panel, which was split into two parts, focused on internship and job applications. Four panelists spoke, and each was introduced by a female Georgetown student who had either participated in an internship for the firm the panelist represented and had accepted a job after graduation, or had an internship lined up with the firm for the coming year.
Many of the women spoke about their personal experiences applying for their jobs and internships, as well as their experiences sifting through resumes and cover letters when hiring for their firms now.
The panelists spoke about the importance of researching the company for which one is applying, memorizing and polishing one’s resume, and taking advantage of the vast number of networking and recruiting opportunities available on campus.
The second panel, titled “Tips for Success in Your Internship or Job,” featured six panelists who gave insight into achieving success in their fields.
The panelists emphasized the importance of confidence, proactive networking and asking questions at one’s job.
Though the event was entitled “Women on Wall Street,” speakers emphasized that a woman’s experience working in the financial sector is not much different from that of a man.
In one exchange, Doran asked the panel what specific skill sets women need in order to be successful on Wall Street.
“They are exactly the same as men,” Meghan O’Connor (MSB ‘07) of Citibank said.
Karin Ross (MSB ’04) of JP Morgan Chase followed up to argue that women are more skilled than men in some aspects of their jobs in the financial sector.
“One of the questions for this panel we have gotten to think about was, ‘Are there any challenges you think women face being on Wall Street?’ My response to that question was going to be I actually think it’s a huge advantage,” Ross said.
Ross added that as women typically connect better on a personal level with people, they also build better relationships with clients. She called on the women in the audience to use this skill to succeed in their financial jobs in the future.
After the panel, the audience moved to the Fisher Colloquium in the McDonough School of Business for a networking reception with the panelists.
According to Doran, the reception was a way for interested firms to meet with current Georgetown students.
“The firms heavily recruit our students and, in most cases, Georgetown is one of only a handful of core schools targeted by the firms,” Doran said.
Doran attributed Georgetown students’ academic and extracurricular involvement to their success in finding jobs in investment banking.
“There are several characteristics our business students tend to have that are valued by the firms,” Doran said. “In addition to the required academic excellence, Georgetown’s business students tend to be well-rounded, active in campus activities, have leadership experience and possess an ethical underpinning that is valued on Wall Street.”
Misty Li (MSB ’17) attended the panel and said she appreciated that the panelists were Georgetown alumni.
“The fact that the majority of the panelists were Georgetown alum made them that much more relatable,” Li said. “Hearing them speak about how their experiences at Georgetown prepared them for the professional world was reassuring.”
Li also said that she was inspired by the women in the panel who excelled in their careers.
“You always hear about how Wall Street and finance in general is a male-dominated industry,” Li said. “However, as a woman who is interested in finance, I attended this event to see the path that women who were once in my shoes have taken to end up at their current positions.”