Diversity in finance pays dividends
From a young age, University of Queensland student Carta Ryan dreamed of one day carving out a career in a field that challenged her.
While she was once uncertain of the path she would follow, today she is confident in her decision to study finance – thanks to her internship experience through the Women in Finance Scholarship.
Carta was one of nine undergraduate students from the Faculty of Business, Economics and Law to receive the $5000 scholarship and internship opportunity, which supports high-achieving future women in finance with their studies.
With the funds from her scholarship, Carta spent her summer break living in Sydney and interning at an affiliate of Pinnacle Investment Management.
There, she worked in a team of 10 and was mentored by a female equity analyst, an experience she relished.
“My mentor had gone through the same experiences I had as a female student in finance,” Carta said.
“She was aware of how daunting it can be entering the industry and trying to make connections when you’re one of very few women.
“Thankfully, I was lucky to meet a lot of amazing people, especially other women in the industry.
“It was a fantastic opportunity overall. My team was extremely supportive and the internship was solely focused on my learning, skills development and network building.”
Led by UQ Business School alumni – Pinnacle Managing Director Ian Macoun and Plato Managing Director Dr Don Hamson – both firms aim to work with UQ to address the lack of women in finance.
In addition to providing funds for nine scholarships, Pinnacle and Plato also offer recipients the chance to complete an internship and receive guidance from industry mentors.
Carta said her scholarship experience so far had given her a “massive confidence boost” in her chosen career.
“It gave me confirmation that I’m on the right path,” she said.
“The money wasn’t the main benefit for me – it was being recognised for my hard work and learning there’s a strong support network for women in finance.”
Fellow Women in Finance scholar Jasmine Cheruvankalayil said she had “unrivalled exposure” to portfolio construction, stock valuation, investment approaches and more while interning for a Pinnacle affiliate in Sydney.
“I kept a journal every day, and it was extremely rewarding to flick back to my first entry on my last day and realise just how much I had learnt from my mentors and environment in such a short time,” Jasmine said.
“I had the opportunity to speak with portfolio managers and investment analysts from Pinnacle's various boutiques, as well as numerous meaningful and inspiring conversations with the Pinnacle team, including Ian Macoun.
“Afterwards, I was lucky to be offered a follow-up three-week internship with their Brisbane-based boutique fund manager.”
As a vice-president of the Financial Research Network (FIRN) and head of the FIRN Women initiative, UQ Business School Associate Professor in Finance Jacquelyn Humphrey knows how important it is to embolden young women like Carta and Jasmine to enter the industry.
“The finance industry does suffer from a lack of female representation, particularly in some (often better-paying) jobs,” Associate Professor Humphrey said.
“For example, a 2018 survey found only 14.2 per cent of Australian fund management companies have any women equity managers.
“That’s why I was delighted when Pinnacle and Plato Investments were willing to underwrite the Women in Finance Scholarships and offer a pathway to internships.
“I think the opportunity to get women placed in finance companies during their study is important because this gives them a taste of what working in the industry will be like, as well as access to networks.”
As one of the inaugural Women in Finance scholars, Jasmine said she would wholeheartedly encourage her peers to apply for the scholarship in 2020.
“To all the girls who are looking to apply – please, give it your all and do it!” Jasmine said.
“The scholarship provided invaluable work experience and mentorship that I would not have otherwise had access to.
“It’s life changing and may well be the push of support and confidence that you need to recognise that this industry is the right move for you.”
Are you an aspiring leader in finance?
Apply for the 2020 Plato Investment Management Ltd Women in Finance Scholarship or Pinnacle Investment Management Group Ltd Women in Finance Scholarship.
Applications close 6 March.
2019 Women in Finance Scholarship recipients
Zoe Victoria Yii Ng, Bachelor of Commerce
Jasmine Cheruvankalayil, Bachelor of Advanced Finance and Economics (Honours)
Matisse Clark, Bachelor of Advanced Finance and Economics (Honours)
Elyse Dwyer, Bachelor of Advanced Finance and Economics (Honours)
Gabrielle Emerick, Bachelor of Advanced Finance and Economics (Honours)
Lauren Gorringe, Bachelor of Advanced Business (Honours)
Sarah Jennison, Bachelor of Advanced Finance and Economics (Honours)
Carta Ryan, Bachelor of Advanced Finance and Economics (Honours)
Selena Sekulic, Bachelor of Advanced Finance and Economics (Honours)