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Smart Women in Finance Boston trip explores the many paths to success
A recent trip to Boston organized by Bryant’s Smart Women in Finance (SWIF) offered 26 students an invaluable opportunity to go behind the scenes of the financial industry, and introduced them to mentors from Bryant’s successful alumni finance community. Most importantly, however, it showed the students that the path was open for them to one day join their ranks.
“I hope everyone on the trip realized they can do the things they saw today and work in the places we visited,” says SWIF President Denae Pisano ’18, a Finance major and incoming Financial Analyst at Raytheon.
“This trip is about taking what the students have learned from the classroom to the industry," Finance Lecturer Mara Derderian ’93 says. “It complements what we provide in an academic setting and rounds out their experience."
The itinerary for the trip, open to all students, was built from Bryant connections: alumni, parents, professional contacts and relationships established by SWIF. It was designed to provide a wide-ranging view of the many options open to students in the field.
The day began with a discussion at Wellington Management. Panelists included Anastasia Canty ’97, CFA, a Managing Director and Equity Research Analyst at Wellington, and Stephanie Field ’94, Managing Director, Learning and Operations at CFA Society Boston. They discussed their careers, what it takes to succeed, and their advice for students attempting to break into the field.
“This trip ... complements what we provide in an academic setting and rounds out their experience."
“If you enjoy finance there’s so many ways for you to go,” Field said. “The important thing is not to be afraid of it, don’t be intimidated by it.”
Afterward they spoke with the students in small groups, answering questions and sharing further insights. “It’s really incredible to be able to relate to the panelists as real people, to know that these very successful investment professionals have had the same experience and gone through the same things we have as students,” notes Vanessa MacMillan ’19.
The group then traveled to The Federal Reserve Bank of Boston for a presentation on how the Fed sets monetary policy. They also visited the trading floor of MFS Investment Management, where they examined the business from the traders themselves as well as an overview of the investment industry from the firm’s Director of Global Equity Trading.
“It was amazing to see where I’m, hopefully, going to be in the future,” says Chris Sherman ’19, who aims for a career in finance.
The day concluded with an alumni networking reception and panel. Heather Donahue-Ahrens ’93, Managing Director at Four Springs Capital; Erica Vaters ’91, Vice President of Compliance at Fidelity Investments; Eileen Hayes ’07, Vice President, Asset Manager Relationship Management at Envestnet; and Scott Voss ’92, Managing Director, HarbourVest Partners, all shared their stories and advice.
Events like the day’s trip, Voss noted, were of key importance for students just starting out in their field because it introduced them to mentors who would help them both in college and beyond. “Mentors are critical at all points of someone’s career, whether you’re a student trying to figure out your first job, or even when you’re on your second or third,” he said. “They’re the people who are opening doors for you and helping you figure out how to walk through them.”