The 100 Women in Finance, Ireland location offers a variety of events and initiatives to support our vision of promoting diversity and inclusion in the finance industry. The Early Career Committee has taken a strategic role in this regard through its university outreach work, by organising a series of student on-site visits.
A typical student on-site visit works by collaborating with a third level institution and by inviting students to the offices of an asset manager (for example). The objective of our university outreach work is to help de-mystify the world of finance for students and to encourage more females to enter the industry. This affords students the opportunity to learn, first-hand, about different finance roles, particularly those typically underrepresented by women.
We believe that university outreach is amongst the most impactful work we can do as an organisation and in the past year, we have organised four student on-site visits. We hosted our first student on-site visit with Amundi Asset Management, Ireland and another visit later in 2023 with Amundi and University College Dublin. Following on from this success, Mediolanum Irish Operations hosted a stimulating on-site visit with Maynooth University. We had the privilege of hosting our first regional event in conjunction with Northern Trust, who invited undergraduate students to their offices in Limerick.
During these visits, students had the opportunity to speak with professionals about their paths to the industry, details of their daily roles, and received advice on pursuing a career in finance. Students particularly enjoyed touring trading rooms and receiving insights from both senior staff on their career journey and younger members of staff who spoke to a lot of the immediate questions that are in the minds of university students coming to the end of their student journey. Without the support of firms like Amundi, Mediolanum and Northern Trust, who are pioneering diversity and inclusion in our industry, our university outreach programmes would not be possible. The first-hand sharing of experiences in an intimate session strengthens students understanding of what a day in the life of an industry professional actually looks like. Feedback from these events suggests that women who previously felt finance was not a career that was ‘open’ to them, felt more empowered and inspired to pursue this as a career, after having attended the event.
On-site visits can provide students with a wealth of practical knowledge and insights that simply cannot be gained in lecture theatres. We outline below some of the key benefits of hosting a student on-site event:
- Diversity and Inclusion: on-site visits help to promote diversity and inclusion in the industry by encouraging students, at an earlier stage, to better understand the opportunities open to them in the finance industry. Despite progress, women are still underrepresented in many areas of financial services, particularly in front office roles.
- Talent Pool Expansion: on-site visits can help to expand the talent pool by attracting individuals who might not have otherwise considered a career in finance. On-site visits also help us to expand our membership base through our complimentary membership to currently enrolled students.
- Role Models: on-site visits can provide role models and mentors for young women considering a career in finance, which can help to inspire and encourage them.
- Networking Opportunities: on-site visits can provide valuable networking opportunities, helping participants to build relationships that can support their career progression.
- Graduate recruitment: this is also an impactful way for firms to stand out to students as they make job application decisions.
Due to the success of our university outreach work to-date, there has been a notable increase in appetite from industry stakeholders in Ireland looking to host student on-site visits. This reflects the commitment of our industry to ensuring a more diverse pool of graduates is encouraged to enter the finance industry. It is inspiring to see such determination to promote diversity and inclusion in our industry and we hope that our work will inspire others to follow our lead.
Doireann O’Daly, Senior Associate, Dechert LLP, Dublin
With thanks to and contributions from:
Karoline Keane, Head of Product Development and Management, Mediolanum Irish Operations
Sophie Kiely, Second Vice President, Relationship Manager, Northern Trust Corporation
Annmarie Foley, Client Service and Implementation Manager, Amundi