The Financial Markets Institute hosted the Women in Finance Panel Discussion on Sept. 26, featuring four alumnae and one current student with diverse backgrounds in the finance industry. The panelists shed light on their career paths and gave advice on how to succeed as a woman in finance.
“You have to be passionate about what you’re doing and be willing to take on new challenges,” said Beckett Fabbie, chief human resources officer and co-chief administrative officer at Greentech Capital Advisors.
Beckett graduated from MSU with a communication arts degree and has “accidentally” found her way into the finance industry. She works on the human resources side of finance and is currently responsible for all aspects of human capital strategy and operations for an investment banking advisory firm that has a strategic theme of sustainability. Beckett shared how it’s important for women to have confidence in their abilities and the drive to stand out in finance, typically a male-dominated field. She also mentioned that sometimes “you have to push back in the right way” and not be afraid to ask for what you want.
Her advice was echoed by others on the panel. “Be assertive, take the chances when you can and at the beginning of your career really put yourself out there,” said Wendy Tilotti (B.A. Accounting ’98), operational finance transformation lead for Aptiv.
Wendy helps to streamline financial processes, and her work takes her around the world, deploying global finance systems. She advised students to take risks, to talk to new people and to find people they can “click” with to form good relationships and learn from those people along the way.
The panel also discussed the importance of building a strong network and using that network to your advantage in your career. “A big part of your career is about the network and luck,” said Chrissy Svejnar (B.A. Finance ’03), managing director at Ares Management and chair of the executive committee for the FMI. Chrissy handles sourcing for new investment opportunities for a leading specialty finance company. She joined the company as its 12th employee and has grown her career in tandem with the company, which now has more than 250 employees.
All of the panelists described how MSU’s network specifically has helped to shape their finance journeys.
“I think MSU is really good for giving you a framework for communicating and respecting people,” said Mary Maguire (B.A. Finance ’15), a junior investment professional for Tribe Capital and former FMI scholar. Mary graduated with high honors and has found herself taking on a variety of generalist roles to get the most exposure she can. She has worked in investment banking, private equity and venture growth, and she is now working to leverage data science to provide entrepreneurs greater knowledge to make business decisions.
“Going to MSU was the best decision of my life … it shaped the trajectory of my life, and the intersections that I still have with MSU are some of the most valuable,” Beckett shared.
The panel was also joined by current MSU student and FMI scholar Jordan Polk, who said, “The FMI can be a good starting point to start growing your network, explore the finance industry and connect with alums.” Jordan is a junior studying economics and statistics and became an FMI scholar during her junior year.
Although the event was centered on women in finance, every piece of advice and wisdom shared from the panel can be useful for anyone. All Spartans should believe in themselves to take on new challenges in their career, spend time to grow and nurture their network and reach out to others who are in the MSU network.