Tina Saffarian is a vice president at Goldman Sachs' London office, and she's on a mission. Nearly six years into a career in Goldman's global markets division, where she works on electronic trading products, Saffarian has launched her own not-for-profit to inform female students about the benefits of careers in STEM.
An information management graduate from University College London (UCL), Saffarian has long been active in attending campus events as a representative of Goldman. But she says it's long been noticeable that female attendees are a minority. “I noticed that every time I went to speak to students, there weren’t many women attending – it would mostly be men," says Saffarian. "I thought it would really help to have an organization that introduces female STEM students to women from all industries, not just tech. I wanted to help as many students as I could.”
Called WInsightful, Saffarian's venture aims to provide women studying STEM subjects with insights based on "real life scenarios" from careers in key industries. ‘We’re open to female STEM students at all levels. There might be undergraduate students who want to know how to apply for certain roles, or PhD students who might be more interested in combining careers with children. The idea is to get women across industries like banking, consulting, private equity, technology or start-ups to talk about their roles and to reach as many young women as possible,” she says.
Saffarian herself joined Goldman after pursuing a summer analyst (internship) program and then joining full time after graduation. She says she wasn't really aware of banking careers until her flatmates began discussing the indsutry. "I got into banking thanks to my flatmates at university, who were extremely motivated and one had completed a spring internship at a major bank. She offered me insights on the application process and had it not been for her, I wouldn’t have applied.”
Saffarian suggests that women are dissuaded from applying for the huge array of technology roles in banking, both by a lack of awareness of the opportunities available and by the perception that they're mostly filled by men. However, she says this is a misconception: "I wasn't aware of the different technology roles within investment banks. Such roles were mostly represented by males during career fairs, and my interviewers were all male, but it’s now becoming more and more common to find women representing pure software engineering roles, which is fantastic.”
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