Females In Finance

Published on February 21, 2020, 1:30 pm
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Females in Finance is a club at the Ethical Culture Fieldston School consisting of four women: Rosemary Jiang (‘21), Olivia Pollack (‘21), Natalie Chen (‘22), and Vivian Lee (‘22).

It all began in September of 2019 when Rosemary, the group leader, reached out to three of her female peers with the hope of starting an all-female investment team. “I have always been
interested in finance and investment,” Rosemary explained, “however, much like other fields,
finance is male-dominated. Even at Fieldston, we see this gender gap in the investment club. For me, it is often discouraging seeing the lack of women in the field, which is why I created Females in Finance.” Olivia, Natalie, and Vivian agreed that the time was right for a
female-centered finance club and Females in Finance was born (follow them at @femalesinfinance_ecfs).

The team set out to tackle the KWHS (Knowledge@WhartonHighschool) Investment
Competition— one of the most prestigious international finance competitions for high school
students. Over 800 teams from across the globe entered this year. The entries are split into 4
regions. Females in Finance is in Region 3, which includes North America, Europe, Africa, and
Oceania. In this competition, the women were tasked with creating an investment strategy for Reshma Sohoni, the CEO of Seedcamp- a company that invests in over 250 small companies.

Each of the competing teams was assigned $100,000 in virtual cash to invest over the course of 10 weeks. The final 572 strategy write-ups were first submitted to Wharton judges, who selected the top 10-12 from each region to go to regional finals in March. There, 3 finalists will be selected to move onto the global finale at The University of Pennsylvania. Each member of Females in Finance plays a vital role in the success of the team.

Rosemary educated the team on financial decision-making skills. Olivia used her background in Model UN to inform the team of current events. And Natalie and Vivian used their knowledge of technology and environmental consciousness to choose ethical and sustainable stocks.

Supervised by their advisor, Robyn Deakins ( a Fieldston math teacher), the team met weekly to
discuss investments.

The Females in Finance team decided that their investment strategy would embody the core belief of Fieldston: ethical living. During their decision-making process, they factored in each company’s Environmental, Social, and Governance rating (aka ESG rating) before investing. They also prioritized their client’s particular needs. Each team member, armed with their particular skills, researched sectors that they have the most knowledge in. Olivia researched emerging markets, Rosemary investigated alternative energy and utilities, and Natalie and Vivian studied the technology sector. They decided to invest in 14 different stocks from three different countries (China, India, and the US.) After the trading had finished, the team spent their time working on the Final Review which ended up being a 13-page document that illustrated the group’s approach and results.

One month after the final submission, the team heard the exciting news: they had made it to the regional finals! Hours of preparation, research, and writing had paid off and Females in Finance team became one of 12 teams advancing to the Region 3 finals in San Francisco, CA.

The team is currently preparing for the Region 3 finals where they will be presenting their investment strategy to experts in the field. The team is now spreading its mission to the Fieldston Middle School. Girls Investment Finance & Trading (GIFT) is a middle school club held after school every Monday where girls gain financial literacy. In addition, Rosemary is in the process of bringing the club to the Goddard Riverside Community Center.

Females in Finance started out as an idea— an opportunity for a few students to spend time together and learn more about finance. However, it turned out to be much more. It brought together four girls into a coherent team, and the bonds of friendship that were created by this competition will long outlast the duration of the competition itself.

By Olivia Pollack

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