Is Finance still a male dominated industry? According to our female alumni from different parts of the world, things are changing for the better.
We catch up with Nicolé de Loor, one year after she graduated from the Master in Finance. We talk about her experience of studying at AMS and how the Master in Finance has prepared her for her current job & her aspirations. According to her, gender equality is "a great and upcoming theme in the business world".
Can you give a brief introduction about yourself?
My name is Nicolé de Loor. I am 24 years old and born and schooled in South Africa. My academic background is in engineering having obtained the degree BEng (Industrial) from Stellenbosch University, South Africa (2015-2018). With a desire to establish a career in finance and investments, I enrolled for the Master in Finance course at Antwerp Management School. I then completed the dual Masters in Global Finance through Fordham University, New York, USA. I am currently enrolled as a candidate for CFA level 1.
Where are you working at the moment?
I am currently working in Utrecht, The Netherlands at a company called Wire Group where we do impact investing. We are hard at work towards contributing to a more sustainable and conscious economy.
What does your company specialize in and what is your role within the company?
I am currently the intern impact investment analyst. I work directly on the Wire Private Market Fund (WPMF), which was set up by Wire Group to provide a convenient and professionally managed solution for private investors and foundations to invest their wealth consciously. WPMF invests in an internationally diversified portfolio of the best impact funds that contribute to regeneration of natural and human capital while generating an attractive financial return, and aim to have a 2X impact multiple.
We are a team based organization so I work closely with a number of trusted and experienced colleagues. My function within in the team is data collation, funds analyses, evaluation and recommendations for the investment portfolio composition of the Wire Private Market Fund.
Did the Master in Finance fulfill your expectations? How did this master prepare you for business life?
The MIF program was very challenging with a lot of pressure in deadlines and group projects, but I enjoyed every moment of it. We were a widely selected and diverse international group of students and I felt I learnt much from being exposed to this. Everyone came from a different background with both studies and cultures and the combination of this fully grows your knowledge and prepares you well for the challenges of industry, particularly in an environment that is team based. I made some true and lifelong friends over this period.
How do you feel about the applicability of what you have learned?
Not only does the actual subject work educate you in a wide variety in the field of investments and finance, but also the way in which the lecturers selected and handed out projects and selecting random groups of students together, all contribute to the learning experience and its applicability in the work place. Personal growth levels are high and prepared us well for what the business world has to offer.
You actually have a double degree, so you followed the extra courses at Fordham with success. Why would you recommend this extra degree?
The Fordham collaboration program was challenging but very rewarding. The course was complimentary to the AMS Master's in Finance and provided me with additional in-depth knowledge on the workings of finance in global markets. Even though we were unable to travel and enjoy the New York campus experience, I can confidently say that the quality of the lectures and the course content offer a further exceptional learning experience.
You are currently applying for your CFA level. Can you tell us more about the added value of obtaining this?
The CFA exams are a globally recognized, provides you with career advancement opportunities and it helps boost your finance credentials. Furthermore, the exams allow you to gain analytical skills, quantitative methods, economics, financial reporting, investments analysis, and portfolio management. These skills are bound to serve you well within your career.
My studies currently are well assisted with the knowledge that I gained at AMS and Fordham.
Where do you see yourself (professionally) in the next 5 years?
The environment that I grew up in necessitates substantial social investment in order to make a difference to the daily lives of ordinary people. It is in this area that I dream to make a difference in future.
In 5 years, I see myself still working in the field of impact investing and guiding investors to invest their money more consciously. Impact investing is a beautiful form of putting your money towards regeneration, providing equal opportunities and really reaching those who need it the most at the bottom of the pyramid. It gives me a sense of working for something bigger, a brighter future.
Do you feel that finance is still a male dominated industry? Or are things changing for the better?
I have always been studying in a field that is more male dominated but I think that we are in a generation where gender equality is a great new and upcoming theme, especially in the business world. Currently the finance industry is still male dominant but I come across many young and dynamic females within business teams that are likely to cause a generational change of this trend. For example, within Wire Group, we do not make any investments in a company that does not have at least 50% females within their team.
If you have courage and belief in what you want to do, great things will come your way no matter your gender
What would be your advice for female students?
Businesses are starting to look past gender and in fact businesses are looking into hiring more females as they realize diversity within a team is a great benefit. Read the book “The XX Economy” by Linda Scott. She gives a heartwarming, strong case to the economic power of women. If you have courage and belief in what you want to do, great things will come your way no matter your gender.