My first few weeks in Cambridge have been more enlightening than I had expected. I have not only met incredibly talented and successful people, but I have also found role models that are helping me redefine what I want to do.
The ability to take a step back and reconsider your decisions, to be flexible about your options, and to allow yourself to make mistakes takes a great deal of bravery, and the first Fearless Woman I met in the UK has completely mastered it. Her name is Anne Marie Fleurbaaij and she is currently Managing Director of Marketable Assets at the Cambridge University Endowment Fund and co-founder of the charity Girls Are Investors (GAIN).
Anne Marie earned her Bachelor of Arts degree (with Honors and Distinction) from the University of California at Berkeley. She spent 7 years with Deloitte & Touche in the US and UK. After earning her MBA from London Business School, she joined Morgan Stanley, where she worked for seven years as an Equity Research Analyst and an equities Portfolio Manager. She then moved to GIC, a sovereign wealth fund, where she spent 12 years as a Global Equities Portfolio Manager and Senior Vice President before her current role at Cambridge University Endowment Fund.
She does not consider her professional career as a linear process, as it has taken different paths; however, connecting the dots backwards, those paths have led her to the right place.
“I remember during my first-year as an MBA student I wanted to apply for investment banking positions because all of my classmates were applying for these jobs, but when I finally got the opportunity to work at an investment bank many years later, I realised very quickly it was not for me.”
Anne Marie explains that her professional career has not always taken the direction she imagined, but being flexible allowed her to redefine her goals and leverage the opportunities in front of her.
Talking more about her MBA, she says the best advice she would give to her younger self would be to ask for help, don’t be afraid to make mistakes, and widen her network as much as possible.
“The people you meet and the friends you make on your masters’ program will be some of the most important contacts you make over your career. While you may initially think you’re competing with each other for grades and jobs, I’d challenge you to see your classmates as potential life-long friends and allies who can help broaden your network and facilitate your growth.”
Derived from her experience, Anne Marie co-founded a charity called GAIN, which encourages young women to consider investment management as a career. GAIN’s main aim is to generate interest in young women and to open their minds to working in finance.
One of the problems of equality in finance is that just 20% of the entry level applications come from women, basically because young women tend to self-select themselves out of the industry before even trying.
Anne Marie says, “We need to encourage young women to seek a career in finance in order to fix the entry level problem, as this will lead to equality within higher levels as well.”
Anne Marie is a perfect example that success does not usually come from the perfect plan we create in our heads; there are many factors involved in our development and many things that we cannot control, however, to have the ability to redefine and readjust your plans accordingly is, without a doubt, your biggest asset.
For more information about GAIN, visit https://www.gainuk.org/