By Julia Munemo
Two Williams sophomores participated in the inaugural summer of Girls Who Invest, a program providing young women with the chance to learn core investment management concepts and get hands-on work experience in the field. Sarah Hollinger ’19 and Isabella Wang ’19 were among the 30 students from around the country accepted into the program, which started out in classrooms at the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, in late May.
Founded by Seema Hingorani, former chief investment officer for the New York City Retirement Systems, Girls Who Invest seeks to increase “the number of women in portfolio management and executive leadership in the asset management industry,” according to the organization’s website. “Our benchmark for success is to have 30 percent of the world’s investable capital managed by women by 2030.” Women currently manage less than 10 percent of the world’s investable capital.
Participants spent the month of June in the classroom with some of the top business faculty in the country. Each day during lunchtime, a different industry member came to speak to the group about her experiences. Wang says the speakers helped the young women contextualize the culture. “They spoke about the obstacles they face as women in the investment world but also about the fact that there is a community out there for us to join,” she says.
At the end of the month, the students were placed in six-week paid internships at investment firms all over the country. Wang went to Seattle to work at BMGI, and Hollinger went to Bloomberg in New York, where she worked in the trading solutions department.
“There’s an idea that investing isn’t noble work or that it doesn’t benefit people’s lives,” says Hollinger, who plans to double major in economics and environmental studies. “But we learned a lot about how investment management affects the infrastructure that gets created, and how that impacts people’s lives.”
Hollinger says Girls Who Invest helped give her the tools she’ll need to enter the industry after graduation. She hopes to go into sustainable investment work in the future, because, she says, “Our generation is going to have to deal with the damage to our environment. Investing as an industry is one of the vehicles we can utilize to improve the way we treat the earth.”
Collette Chilton, the college’s chief investment officer, says Williams students are uniquely qualified to succeed in investment management, and she hopes more women will apply for the program next year.
“Girls Who Invest offers the training our students need to read financial statements and complete analyses and build models,” Chilton says. “But when it comes to putting the numbers together and weaving a story—which is what investment management is all about—they are well suited to fit the pieces together because at Williams they’ve learned to think critically.”