Guest blog post by Isobel Nash, one of our student marketing assistants.
Women in Banking and Finance Panel, Monday 29th October
On Monday 29th 2018 October a panel of female speakers from the banking and finance industry visited the University of Bath to give advice to female students on how to access and succeed in the incredibly male dominated industry. For example, research funded by Virgin and Hermes in 2016 found only 23% of workers in the banking and finance industry in the UK were female.
Natalie Binnie graduated from the University of St Andrews with a Psychology degree. During her final year Natalie became interested in the world of business, with a particular interest in how top companies work. After graduating, Natalie went on to the graduate scheme at KPMG in audit and is still there now after three years, having progressed to assistant manager in Financial Services Auditing, boosting an impressive client portfolio. Natalie displayed such passion for her job, explaining that no two days are ever the same and the fascinating insight she gains into a wide range of companies on a daily basis. Natalie has the opportunity to work with senior people in her clients’ organisations, which she highlighted as a positive aspect of working in audit. Natalie has also completed the ACA exams as part of the graduate scheme and became a qualified Chartered Accountant in 2018. Natalie has a particular passion for business and gender equality and from this joined the KPMG’s Women in Financial Services group in her first year at the firm. From this Natalie has set up an Accelerate Program for women at the firm and also has volunteered for UN Women as part of the Draw-a-Line Campaign.
Grit Young graduated from the University of Brighton in International Business. Grit has worked for PwC for over 14 years working in areas such as strategy and evaluation, consulting and audit. Grit discussed her many career highlights including redesigning the PwC audit process in the US and successfully developing and establishing the PwC valuations product in a new territory in the south west. Grit’s main challenge in her career was moving away from London to start a family and starting work with a new team in a new territory. Grit spoke of how she and her husband have shared flexible working and caring responsibilities.
Johanna Barr is another University of Bath graduate in Business Administration. Johanna joined Advent International, a global private equity firm, in 2007 and now co-heads Advent’s Limited Partner Services group globally, primarily focusing on fundraising and investor relations activities in Europe and Asia. Previous to this Johanna worked for four years in the M&A and Corporate Broking departments of Deutsche Bank in both London and Frankfurt. Johanna discussed how travelling and relationship building with different cultures is the part of her job she enjoys most.
After all the panellists had spoken we had a Q&A where our students asked some great questions. The topics included:
Applying to finance from a non-finance related degree – this is entirely possible; graduates working in the finance sector come from a wide range of degree subjects. The most important thing is to show you’ve researched the industry, and the specific employer and role you’re applying to. Employers are interested in a range of skills and experience, so think about what’s unique to you.
Working from home – all of our panellists had done this to a greater or lesser degree. Requesting to work from home may be easier once you’ve got to know your line manager and built up trust. Increasingly organisations are aware of flexible working needs and practices; our panellists highlighted the importance of keeping in touch with colleagues.
Having a panel with four successful women in the banking and finance industry highlights how women can achieve success and in this industry. All speakers passionately talked about how instead of seeing gender as a disadvantage and a barrier to this industry use it to stand out and be proud!