In this G&F PS #1, we learn from Maude Culis-Fery, student at ESSEC Business School, M&A intern at BNP Paribas and member of Gender & F inance team.
What is your current role?
“Hi! I’m Maude, 22 years old. I am currently a student from the Master in Finance at ESSEC and a member of the “Gender & Finance” project. I chose this Master for its strong reputations among professionals and the numerous networking opportunities it offers. I also decided to join the Gender & Finance project because I need to understand why there are still now too few women in leadership positions in finance. Previously I attended a finance summer camp and had my first answer, we were three women out of 50 men! Indeed, in schools, women are rare in finance tracks… This experience reinforced my desire to work in finance to prove it is possible and then help other women, who would like to work in finance, to reach their objectives too. Thus, this project represents my first step towards my purpose. As a student, I still have doubts about what I precisely want to do in finance but speaking with or reading about inspiring women helps me to have a broad picture of all the opportunities I have and how I could manage my own career. Thus, I want to offer to you, students or young professionals, a place where you could find different stories about women in finance. A place where you could understand more deeply the finance world and may discover jobs that you didn’t know before. And I hope that by reading them, you’ll get inspire and more confident about your potential success in the finance world. If so, then I would reach my objective to make you discover why I’m so interested in this world.
What attracted you to Finance and how did you get started?
Before ESSEC, I studied accounting because I wanted to know more about how companies work inside. Working in accounting gave me a broad understanding of the business world as business accounts tell a lot about a company’s structure. Then, during one of my internships, I helped an entrepreneur to launch his business by building a business plan and pitching his project in front of banks to raise funds. This experience taught me how precious is finance advisory for the development of companies. Later, I learnt how much damages bad financial decisions could make when I worked for a company in the wake of a judicial review. In parallel, I read a lot about finance in the news and discovered that finance is highly linked to economics and politics two other fields in which I am highly interested. Working in finance enables you to discover different sectors and countries as well as develop a strong economic culture. Thus, it represents an incredible playing field for someone as curious as I am! For these reasons, I attended a double cursus composed of a BA in Economics and a “Classe Préparatoire” to enter the Master in Finance at ESSEC. My next stage? A first internship in Investment Banking at BNP Paribas!
What is your advice to female students interested in leadership position in the finance industry?
NETWORKING, NETWORKING and NETWORKING! Don’t hesitate to use the wonderful ESSEC network to ask professionals about their career, their motivation and their advice. I have written a lot of e-mails and generally people are keen to speak about their career to a motivated student! I had wonderful phone discussions with people I didn’t know, simply by asking them on LinkedIn: “Could you please tell me about your current role and why did you choose it?” Beside meeting new people, networking also gives you a broad view on the opportunities within the finance world, I am sure you’ll discover new jobs. Indeed, working finance is not only about trading and M&A!