The M&A space, similarly to many other areas of finance, has traditionally been populated and governed by men. A 2011 study by Reuters found only 15% of executives and senior level managers in US investment banking and securities dealing industries were women. Fast-forward six years and that figure increases a mere 4%. Unlike the Advertising industry, where, according to a report by the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising, women held 38.9% of all C-suite roles in the UK. So why is there still a significant underrepresentation of women in the M&A sector?
Interestingly, as the conversation and initiatives geared toward gender diversity within M&A increases, the characteristics aligned with success in the sector are being widely recognised and celebrated within women. For instance, collaboration, creativity, relationship-building and heightened emotional and social intelligence are a small handful of attributes that set women apart at the negotiating table. And, notably, this isn’t to say females have only recently possessed such traits, instead it is the heightened acknowledgement and endorsement from not only key figures within M&A but by the industry as a whole.
This becomes particularly exciting when introducing a high-achieving female athlete into the equation. Take someone like Julie Mohagen for example, a multiple world championship skier and NCAA champion, who has worked towards reaching the top for the better half of 15 years. To reach such a level within sport requires a unparalleled amount of grit, sacrifice, and resilience. What’s more, during this journey soft-skills such as resilience, communication, and performing under pressure are developed. One thing is clear however: the 15 years Julie spent skiing 25mph down mountain-faces have made her perfectly equipped to succeed in M&A.