Exciting opportunities for women

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Corporate Finance

Corporate Finance may still be a man’s world, but that doesn’t mean it’s closed to women! On the contrary, I know from experience that there are plenty of exciting opportunities for women in the thrilling and dynamic world of mergers and acquisitions.

I dream about doing my own deals Emma Scholten Emma Scholten Associate ABN AMRO Corporate Finance

Getting the best deal

I thrive on the excitement that comes with a major merger or acquisition. The deals we do involve millions of euros, and we act on our clients’ behalf to ensure they get the best deal possible. These are large-scale, complex processes, so clients expect our services to be of the very highest calibre. Associates are an integral part of the department and the teams doing the deals, and are given a lot of responsibility right from the start. We give presentations, prepare valuations and analyses, collect information, make appointments and attend meetings. If you feel you’re ready, you can ask for even more autonomy in certain aspects of your work. Being actively involved in these deals, I’ve also had a lot of contact with clients, which I personally find very rewarding.

A growing demand for women

Corporate Finance is a world in which you can learn so much from young, ambitious people. I may have only just signed on as an associate, but I already feel like a fully fledged member of the team – like “one of the guys”, I guess! It’s true there aren’t that many women in Corporate Finance yet. And while I know first-hand that it’s not some testosterone-fuelled pressure cooker, or a place where I’m the only woman in a sea of grey-haired men, those images are hard to shed. Lots of women don’t even bother to apply for a job here because of preconceptions like these, and that’s a real shame. I personally like working with men because they’re usually clear and straightforward in their dealings with me, and I appreciate those qualities. Since there aren’t as many of us in Corporate Finance, women can set themselves apart and create opportunities for themselves. So many of our clients want to work with a diverse team. Women with the right skill set can really go far here.

Making friends in the trainee programme

Besides working at Corporate Finance, I’m a trainee in the Corporate Banking Graduate Programme, which teaches you all about ABN AMRO Corporate Banking and Corporate Finance in just thirty-six months. The programme offers a unique experience – it starts with a comprehensive six-week introduction to finance in collaboration with Nyenrode Business University. Taught by inspirational teachers, the course brings together all the Corporate Banking trainees, and we’re a close-knit group. After the introduction, you start to work in your own department, simultaneously participating in a number of training courses throughout the year to improve your soft and technical skills. Plus there are various initiatives to ensure you keep developing and challenging yourself, such as teach-ins by leading lecturers and professionals, and cases. Lots of activities outside work are organised including excursions with other trainees, drinks parties and even ski holidays. Last year, sixty of us spent a long weekend in the Austrian Alps.

A few hours later, I was sitting in on a deal worth millions

The thing I love most about my job is the challenge it brings not just through training, but also in terms of the responsibilities assigned early on. ABN AMRO offers so many opportunities to help you develop your personal and professional skills in your particular areas of interest, all in a very dynamic environment. Some mornings I have no idea what the day will bring, only to find myself in the middle of a deal worth millions of euros a few hours later. The bank’s international aspirations are a real bonus, too. So if you’re looking for exciting cross-border opportunities, there are plenty of possibilities at our offices in Singapore, New York and Paris, to name a few. For me, the most exciting prospect – the thing I dream about – is doing my own deals: identifying for a client an M&A opportunity, and initiating and concluding the entire transaction. How incredible would it be to manage such a complex process from start to finish, giving the client exactly what they want?

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