Meet Kylie Janse van Vuuren, Retail Client Service Consultant at Coronation Fund Managers.
This month we decided to look at someone young and in the first years of her career in Finance to sound her out about her experiences and any tips she has for young women considering entering the finance industry as a career. Kylie has just completed a 2-year graduate internship at Coronation Fund Managers which was an important stepping stone to her career.
What did you study and what has been your career path thus far?
I did a BComm Investment at Stellenbosch, and then I did my Honours at UCT in Financial Analysis and Portfolio Management. It was only in my second year when I chose investments as my major that I really knew that this was the right industry for me; although out of all the projects I did throughout my school years the one that I really found interesting was on the 2008 Financial Crisis - I think I realised then that the fast-pace environment of investments was the place I wanted to be!
This is my first "real job" so I haven’t had much of a career path yet, but it’s been the perfect entry level position for anyone wanting to enter the world of finance as it teaches one how to work in a corporate environment and to be given tasks and achieve them on time, without being too challenging. I feel like I would now consider myself skilled at what I do, and it’s prepared me to be able to move into a more advanced position in the field at some stage.
What does a typical day look like for you?
As a retail client service consultant, we have three basic means of communicating with clients - over email, telephone and some walk-in clients. I essentially assist people with product information on unit trusts, which is primarily what we deal with, and answer questions about the market and where it is going according to our house view. I also help with things like how to open a fund, and the basics of investing - the people that we deal with typically don’t have much exposure to or knowledge about investments, so it’s really about getting down to the very bones of what’s involved in starting to invest your money wisely.
I really like the fact that every case is unique as everybody is different - dealing with a variety of people really keeps you on your toes! I also love being surrounded by highly motivated people - not too difficult to find in the finance environment - and being able to share my knowledge with new joiners to the graduate programme.
Best piece of advice received?
My dad works in finance and has been my biggest role model and mentor. One piece of advice from him that’s stuck with me for as long as I can remember, is him saying that the harder you work, the luckier you get. I’ve worked really hard over the past two years trying to study for my CFA and work full-time and now it does feel like it’s starting to pay off, and there’s a correlation between what I put in and what I get out. It’s something so simple, but when you’re lacking motivation it’s helpful to remember, especially if you have past successes to look back on.
What does it take to succeed as a woman in finance?
While the playing fields are certainly far more level these days (at university my course was extremely male-dominated), there is still much opportunity for women to challenge stereotypes and prove that they can be as successful, if not more so, than a man, in this industry. I find that strength, structure and certainty are three quality attributes that are essential to being a woman in finance. The sector is exceptionally results-driven and there is little room for error or lost time. Being structured in your work, organised, assertive and technically strong goes a long way to earning respect and recognition for a job well done. Also, learn from your successful male counterparts - have confidence and speak up!
Any tips for those looking to enter the sector?
Read, read, read... I just can’t emphasize it enough. If you want to enter the finance world and be an analyst you need to make it for yourself - if you can’t get experience at a firm you need to start doing your own models and keep practising until you develop a style and someone will see that. You could also set up your own web page and post your own articles; if you’re passionate about what you do it will be picked up. Find a mentor, someone who is in the exact position that you want to be in in a few years’ time, and listen to their advice on how to get there. Stick it out - you have to do the hard work and work right from the bottom - that’s what I’ve learnt so far, and I’m confident that now that I’ve been doing the hard yards, my time will come to put my skills to good use at a higher level.
Read about other Femmes in Finance:
- Technical Analyst - Moxima Gama
- Economist At Citibank - Gina Schoeman
- Client Manager at Incompass Financial Solutions - Anja Du Plessis
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Nicole Cameron is a features writer with over twelve years’ experience, focusing primarily on the business market with a niche focus on entrepreneurship. She has written on a variety of topics for Sharenet and is excited to be focusing on women in finance in her new monthly column "Femmes in Finance". She holds a Business Science degree from UCT and is passionate about reporting on the events and people that make up the local business landscape.