A Student Perspective
My name is Bridget Murphy and I am a senior studying accounting and finance at Bethel University in Saint Paul, Minnesota.
I had the privilege to compete in the 2019 Midwest Regional CFA Research Challenge, where my team and I presented our hold recommendation on a biotechnology company that we had researched over a period of five months. During this time, we examined the company’s financials, management team, and business strategy as well as the competitiveness and risks of the industry as a whole. The opportunity to compete in this challenge was immensely beneficial to me. Compiling a research report on a complex company allowed me to apply my knowledge from almost all of my business classes into one project. Even though this was an investment report, I was able to use my accounting background to provide a new way of looking at things. My favorite part about competing was being able to work alongside my team and bring all of our different ideas together into one comprehensive report.
I decided to participate in this competition to step outside of my comfort zone. Though one of my majors is finance, I am going into the public accounting field, and after graduation (spring 2019) I will be working at an accounting firm as an auditor. Even so, I recognized that getting more experience in finance would be beneficial to my learning and push me to explore all my options. Working on this project allowed me to understand what finance has to offer. It gave me hands-on experience of the technical knowledge I have gained in my courses at Bethel.
My team was comprised of five individuals, and I was the only female. I was also the only female competing in the regional finals. Though I have gotten used to being the only, or one of a few, females in my business courses, I was very surprised that I was the only one among all five teams presenting at the CFA Research Challenge. Before this experience, I was aware that finance was a male-dominated field, but had not personally experienced it. Being the only female was a bit discouraging. At the beginning of my college career I will admit that, at times, I felt intimidated to be surrounded by males in my finance courses. However, as I gained knowledge and started to understand what I was learning, I was no longer intimidated. I am also very lucky to have supportive professors who instilled in us that we have a voice and we are equal. Through school and internship experiences, I have met many women who I consider to be role models, and they encourage me to work my hardest and push through trials. I would encourage women who are thinking about majoring in finance to not be intimidated, and to step outside their comfort zones. I believe that women will continue to pursue finance as more women already in the field continue to share their experiences and strengths with others.
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