Finance student Karina Kanouni Simone has won one of this year’s National Bank Women in Financial Markets Scholarships. The award is given annually to three women enrolled in finance-related graduate programs at Canadian universities.
“This initiative is the only one of its kind in the Canadian banking industry and a way for National Bank to recognize talented and ambitious women looking to pursue graduate studies in a field related to capital markets while giving them an inside look at a major financial institution,” said Ricardo Pascoe, co-president and co-chief executive officer of National Bank Financial and executive vice-president – Financial Markets.
The scholarship program is in its third year and is part of a series of initiatives that National Bank has implemented with the ultimate goal of increasing the representation of women in management positions.
Simone, who has just begun her second year in the John Molson School of Business’ Master of Science in Administration (MSc) program, has a bachelor’s degree in science with a major in mathematics and a double minor in finance and computer science from McGill University. She says a career in finance will allow her to combine these disciplines in an interesting way. “I knew that I wanted to do something that put me in a challenging environment and that would involve problem-solving on some level,” she said. “Finance really fits my character perfectly.”
It was through JMSB Career Management Services that Simone heard about the scholarship. She decided to apply “because it had a meaningful mentorship component.” Each bursary recipient is paired with a senior professional from National Bank’s Financial Markets sector, who mentors the winners during their studies. “It provides direct access to someone involved in the business side of what I study,” says Simone.
The mentor assigned to Simone is Isabelle Paquet, who is National Bank’s director of global equity derivatives. Simone says she and her mentor have quickly developed a close relationship. “She has already helped me a great deal. Especially with the job application process. To have the input of an industry expert when working on my CV and writing cover letters has been invaluable,” Simone said.
More important, says Simone, it has been comforting to have someone to talk to about what it’s like to be a woman working in the financial sector. “I had a lot of questions about managing a successful career in finance while being a mother and raising a family, which is something I hope to do one day. Isabelle has shown me that it is indeed possible.”
Posted October 17, 2012