Here we introduce four female bankers working at Morgan Stanley. Find out what three senior women have learnt as they’ve advanced, while one of last year’s graduate joiners talks about how her first year has gone and her aspirations for the future.
Analyst in Regulation Management
I’m on the Morgan Stanley graduate scheme. I have a BSc in Business Management from the University of Birmingham and joined the bank upon completing it last summer. I’m currently in Regulation Management, but am moving into Equity Research soon.
Regulation changes nearly every day, and it’s constantly in the news. It’s interesting to see how new rules will affect you when they come out and how what we’re doing relates to what other banks are doing. You never get bored.
Life at Morgan Stanley
My team is fantastic. It’s amazing that I’ve met so many people in a year and have managed to get to know them all quite well. There are lots of social events organised, and these definitely help me with my job – getting to know my colleagues makes me feel more confident about asking them questions when we work together.
You don’t need to be afraid of speaking up here. At first I was nervous about saying things in some situations because I felt I didn’t have enough knowledge or experience to comment. But now I’ve realised that everyone always prefers it when I contribute as that can only help to create solutions.
I’ve got two mentors. One’s a man in my team, and the other is a woman who works in a different part of the bank. They’re both excellent. It’s great to be able to talk to someone who understands my day-to-day role, while it’s good to also have a mentor outside my immediate area, who provides a different perspective.
During busy times some days will be longer than others but I enjoy a good work-life balance. I have time to be on the London office’s Charity Committee and some Morgan Stanley sports teams too. Outside work, I play in an orchestra.
I want to progress as far as I can. At the moment I’m studying for my ACCA qualification, and I’m hoping I’ll be promoted to associate when I qualify. After that, I’d like to do an MBA. The bank helps you develop. If you say you want to reach a certain goal, they do what they can to put you in a position where you can work towards achieving it, and they’ll support you as you do so.
Vice President in Investment Banking Division (IBD)
I started out as an IBD analyst at the bank based in Frankfurt. After a year there, I felt I wanted to be in a bigger office so moved to London, and loved it. I also moved from working with general industrial companies to focusing on renewable energy companies and helped the bank build its business in this area. It was a great opportunity for me – I was a third year analyst working exclusively with the vice president, also a woman, who’d been assigned to this sector.
After a year as an associate, I started studying for my MBA. I came back to Morgan Stanley once I’d got it and worked in our Johannesburg office for six months. I then returned to London, where I’ve been ever since. Now I focus on deal execution, making mergers and acquisitions transactions actually happen.
Life at Morgan Stanley
In M&A, you can’t really plan your working days, and I think that’s what makes them interesting. You need to be open and flexible so that you can respond to whatever comes up. You might know what clients you’re going to see, or that you’re travelling somewhere, but you can’t predict the outcome.
I get to work with my friends. The people I met at Morgan Stanley as an analyst are some of my closest friends now, and I still see them all the time. For me, it’s really important to work with people I like and appreciate, and I feel people at Morgan Stanley in general really take time for each other. I’ve never worked on a project where more senior people haven’t sat down with junior team members to make sure they understand what they’re doing and why.
Some other more senior women and I have started running networking lunches for junior women. We invite analysts and associates along, and they can chat to us about our career paths and ask for any guidance or help they need.
Don’t be afraid to apply to investment banks. If you’re analytical and interested in how businesses work, there are so many great opportunities in this industry. Once you’re here, it’s very important to be yourself and to follow your intuition. But be open to challenges and to change.
Executive Director in Institutional Equity Division
As soon as I tried trading I knew I liked it. I started at Morgan Stanley in private wealth management as a fresh graduate, working with high net worth individuals, first with those based in Spain and then in the Middle East. Following this, I joined the institutional equity trading desk, which advises corporate clients on equities and executes trades on their behalf. I’ve worked here ever since.
I’m still learning new things. I’ve recently been put in charge of a new team looking after a bespoke set of clients from hedge funds to asset management firms. Doing so has allowed me to improve my expertise in disciplines I know less about – for example I’m currently learning how to program trade, which is a type of electronic trading used primarily by institutional investors typically for large-volume trades.
Life at Morgan Stanley
After maternity leave, I came back to all of my old clients and some new ones. It’s been a real success. It helps that I’ve got understanding managers, an extended family all living near me, and a husband who starts work later than I do, so he can do the morning routine with my son. And I get to see my son in the evenings, as my markets close at 4.30pm.
It’s important to spend time with clients, and I meet with them on a regular basis. Our clients come first, so I’m extremely focused on providing them with the best service possible.
I’m part of the Family Network here. It’s for mums and dads, and also for people with other caring responsibilities. It offers seminars, networking events and just support in general. There’s also an unofficial network in action of all the women who work on the trading floor – there are a few of us who’ve been on maternity leave, but we all share information, tips, and ways of coping with issues that may crop up from time to time.
I’m excited about my future here. Because of technology, equity trading is developing a lot at the moment and I want to be involved in this process. Eventually, I’d like to run a bigger team and become a managing director.
Executive Director in Equity Research
I’ve always worked in equity research. I joined another investment bank as a graduate, and then joined Morgan Stanley eight and a half years ago, where I’ve progressed from analyst to associate to vice-president and now executive director.
I cover sustainable and responsible investment. It’s a relatively new area for Morgan Stanley, but one that’s gaining a lot of momentum and is really becoming integrated into how the whole of equity research is thinking about investment.
Life at Morgan Stanley
I find my job incredibly interesting. I get a lot of enjoyment out of building up a new business and trying to integrate it into the bank. I do lots of different types of work – financial analysis, writing reports, working with clients, and making presentation to other teams here.
Banking is challenging even before you have children. But since I had my son, Morgan Stanley has been very flexible and has helped me manage. I leave work at 5pm every day so I can pick my son up and then, if I need to finish anything, I log in from home in the evening. There are also great childcare options at the bank.
Having my job and my son makes me appreciate both more. I get intellectual stimulation and satisfaction from my job, and then enjoy the contrast when I go home to a completely different set of challenges and rewards. Being a mother has also made me more efficient and organised at work. In the past, I might have travelled abroad for work on the spur of the moment. Now I have to plan everything a couple of weeks in advance to make sure I have childcare covered.
I co-chair the bank’s Women’s Business Alliance. We hold lots of events specifically targeted for women, but invite men as well! I also know plenty of other women at the bank just through my role, and we all offer each other help and advice.
Don’t worry too much about what might happen in ten years. Just focus on what kind of career you want now. Morgan Stanley can offer you a huge number of really interesting and exciting roles, with plenty of scope to combine them with whatever else comes up in your life. Banking is a lot more flexible than people think it is.