Women in Finance Interests and ambitions: the question of gender?

A lot of effort is being put into getting more women into finance. Research shows that the most successful companies are those whose management team strives for gender parity. But are the ambitions and interests of female students so different from the students of the Faculty of Finance? We are discussing this with Lami Senhaji, who received a master’s degree in finance, and Felix-Antoine Prevot, who received a master’s degree in applied economics, both after receiving a bachelor’s degree in finance from HEC Montreal.

Published at 11:00

Martin Letarte

Martin Letarte
special cooperation

Interests

Mathematics, quantitative: these are the interests that led Felix-Antoine Prevot and Lamia Senhaji to choose finance at university. “Before coming to Quebec, I studied engineering and mathematics in Morocco: I have a very Cartesian, very technical mind,” explains Lamia Senhaji, 28. Finance attracted me because there are a lot of calculations. “I wanted to understand how financial models work,” said Felix-Antoine Prevot, 28.

Minority

One thing is for sure, women are still in finance at the university in the minority. “This is true in classrooms, at the undergraduate and graduate levels, and in student clubs, but we feel open, a desire to make room for women, especially with all the scholarship and mentoring programs for women,” said Lamia Senhaji. . In 2019, she herself received the Relève Prize from the Quebec Women’s Finance Association (AFFQ), which allowed her to do an internship at the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec.

ambitions

Are the ambitions of students and students different? “No, I don’t think so,” says Lamie Senhaji. All the women I met at HEC were motivated to get a great job, they were ambitious and did not allow themselves to be intimidated by men’s teams. She notes that Angela D’Angelo’s mentor, National Bank Financial’s vice president of development and customer experience, helped her achieve her goals immediately after receiving her bachelor’s degree. “She pushed me, pushed me out of my comfort zone, and I advise every financial student to find a mentor like Angela D’Angelo who can show her how to achieve great things,” she says. emphasizing the importance of the AFFQ mentoring program.

Balance of work and life

Although we immediately link, as early as 2022, the issue of work-life balance for women, especially those with young children, Felix-Antoine Prevot spontaneously raised this issue in an interview. “Whether you’re a young man or a young woman, working 100 hours a week is no longer attractive to many people, especially when there is a shortage of labor,” he said. We want to have big challenges, but we also want to have a quality of life outside of work. We are looking for balance. We no longer follow the same philosophy as in the 1990s, and I think it’s much healthier. “In the past, many women in finance would not have dared to say, for example, that they wanted to start a family,” said Lamia Senhaji. Today we are comfortable talking about it. It seems to me that it is much easier than before to have children and an ambitious career. We have come a long way, but there is still a lot of work ahead. »