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News > Event Reports > Professional Networking event - 2 May 2024

Professional Networking event - 2 May 2024

With a focus on the Financial Services Sector at the latest SHSK Society event in London, three inspiring alumnae spoke about their career experiences.
9 May 2024
United Kingdom
Event Reports

Our latest SHSK Society Professional Networking event took place on 2 May in the lovely Seamus Heaney Library at The Bloomsbury hotel in London. We were delighted to be joined by three inspiring alumnae speakers: Charlotte Edwards (class of 2010), Director and Head of ESG FICC Research at Barclays; Jessica Murray (2010), Executive Director, UK Equity Capital Markets at JP Morgan Cazenove; and Ruolin Wang (2011), Insurance Solutions Manager at Schroders.  

The panel began by talking about their careers to date and although none of them had planned to go into the finance sector when at school, they all agreed they were glad to have done so. For Charlotte and Jessica, who both studied economics at university (for Jessica as part of her PPE degree), it was a natural step, whereas Ruolin trained to be an actuary working in insurance before being head-hunted to join Schroders.  

One of the main points made during the evening was that you do not need a finance background to work in the sector. Charlotte said that at Barclays they looked for people from a variety of backgrounds, to create a team with a range of skills and experience who they would then train in the specific skills needed for the job. And Ruolin said that her knowledge of Mandarin helped her secure her position at Schroders.  

The general advice from the panel to young women considering a career in finance was to do your research, be ready for hard work and long hours and to seek mentoring from other women in the sector.  

Questions from the audience, who ranged in experience from university undergraduates to those with several decades in the sector, led to some interesting discussions, including the differences between working in the UK and abroad, and about gender imbalance in the finance sector, especially at more senior levels, and how companies could support woman to bring the changes that are necessary to overcome this.  

There were some humorous moments, too, such as when one of the panellists recalled meeting a friend for lunch and was told by a more senior colleague that they should not be talking together, because of the so-called Chinese wall between their two departments. (This is the ethical ‘wall’ which must be in place between two different departments to prevent any conflict of interests in the company). Rather than be seen having lunch, the colleague advised, they should instead chat on WhatsApp!  

After the formal panel discussion came to an end, the evening continued more informally in the next-door bar, accompanied by food, drink and some very lively conversations.  

We would like to take this opportunity to thank all our speakers and guests for engaging so wonderfully at this Professional Networking Event and hope to see you again at future gatherings. If you would like to speak at one of our events, please do contact us by email at alumnae@shsk.org.uk  

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