______reasons for joining SWS

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There are many reasons why women in college may wish to learn about investing: Perhaps students are independently managing their money for the first time... Perhaps they are making money for the first time. Perhaps some women just wish to learn about investing for their own personal knowledge. Perhaps they wish to enter the investment industry as a potential career. We asked several students about why they wanted to learn about investing... here is what they said:




Investing has always been something I felt I should know about. When I was younger and I would go to a family friend's house for dinner, I remember that all the men would sit around the TV and watch stock reports while the women would be gossiping and exchanging recipes in the kitchen. While we've come a long way in terms of gender equality, I think financial knowledge is one area where the gap is still huge, especially in cultures like the one I grew up in, where men are expected to control finances. I feel like I need to break past these barriers; I want to be financially independent after I graduate, and a huge part of this would involve knowing how to invest.

-- Economics concentrator, SWS Associate, Princeton




I want to learn about investing so that I do not have to rely on others, most especially a husband, to invest for me. Financial independence, in my opinion, is the most important factor that determines whether or not a person has truly attained independence apart from his or her family. Learning how to invest is one way in which that independence can be achieved. I think that it is critical that all individuals, regardless of age or gender or occupation have at least a basic knowledge of the stock market and finance so that he or she can invest money for the future. Investing is a key skill to know whether or not one wants to save for retirement or become a multi-millionaire. Similarly, it is an important topic of conversation. The activities of Wall Street affect individuals in some degree and it is important that we know about and understand them to better relate to real world activities.

-- Government concentrator, SWS Associate, Yale




I was really excited to hear about SWS, because I have always been interested in investing but felt that the opportunities at SWS Associate, Class of were probably over my head. I'm interested in investing because when I'm older, I want to be a financially independent woman. I think our generation is on the cutting edge of a fundamental change in women's economic awareness. Right now, most of the richest women in the world are either heiresses or wives. By the time I reach maturity (and yes, I'm currently far from it), I'd like to see self-made women topping the Forbes. I do believe that it's possible to balance personal success, family life, financial freedom, and all the other pressures there are on women. I want to learn to invest so that my money can work for me and bear part of that load.

-- History concentrator, SWS Associate, Cornell




Coming from a financially unstable background, I have a strong interest in obtaining financial independence and security for myself and my family. Additionally, I hope to pursue a career from where I can help and educate other families or organizations to achieve a personal level of economic security. Having seen various segments of Robert Kiyosaki's Rich Dad Poor Dad, I have come to the conclusion that the most effective way to achieve my aforementioned goal is through education in personal investing.

-- Economics concentrator, SWS Associate, Fordham




In 1997, my family was personally affected by the Asia financial crisis. Along with many other companies inBangkok, Thailand, my mother's firm was on the brink of bankruptcy. Despite the gravity of the situation and the headlines of newspapers with words like "bank run" and "risk shock",I did not have a clear idea of what was going on. To my surprise, neither did my mother. The lack of knowledge on finance and investment was clearly shown during the time of the crisis. The crisis itself, was partially caused by the investors' irrationality. Investors were borrowing short-term to finance long-term projects without hedging them. The risky investments, therefore, prompted the "panic" that spread the crisis across Asia. I feel that learning to invest properly is not only important for myself, but also for a nation's economy as a whole. Right now, my knowledge about investing is very limited, and I feel that SWS is the perfect opportunity for me to develop skills that are not provided by any class at Harvard. Investing skills are not just useful for corporate jobs. In the future, I plan to apply my knowledge about investing to develop Thailand's economic sector.

-- Economics and East Asian Studies concentrator, SWS Associate, Duke




In all my time as an economics concentrator, I have not had any rigorous training in the fundamentals of capital markets, and it is an area that I find both exciting and challenging. I worry that if not for an opportunity like SWS, I will go far too long before I enlighten myself as to wealth management and intelligent investing. I am very grateful for the SWS initiative and am quite ready to make the requisite contributions. Further, I can think of no better environment to tackle the complexity of investment strategies than a community of ambitious and supportive women.

-- Economics concentrator, SWS Associate, MIT




I am interested in learning about investing because I think it's important for young women like me to understand the financial markets around which so much of the world revolves. I have never had any prior investment experience, and am attracted to the opportunity Smart Woman Securities affords it members with introductions to investment as well as the chance to gain direct investment experience. I want to learn about the finance industry so that I can be empowered with that knowledge upon graduation. At Harvard, it is difficult to find opportunities to learn about investment, especially as we do not have a Finance concentration. I want to obtain the tools to become financially responsible and independent so that I can possibly one day invest my own money and build my own portfolio. In this day and age, it is crucial for women to be seen at the same level as men in the financial world, and through an organization like SWS, that goal can become achievable.

-- Social Studies concentrator, SWS Associate, Boston College





Undecided about my future career plans and looking for a challenge, I took an internship this [past] summer at MSD Capital, a private investment firm in New York that manages the capital of Michael Dell. Thrown into the world of finance headfirst,I found learning about investing to be exhilarating, empowering, and, admittedly, a bit intimidating.When I returned to Harvard this fall, I was excited to find an opportunity to continue learning the basics about investments, particularly in a supportive and community-like atmosphere.I am currently giving serious consideration to a career in finance, and am hoping to work for an investment firm again this summer. I know that the sound introduction to the financial markets that SWS offers through access to high level speakers and mentors will serve me well both in the interview process and in future internships in finance. Moreover, I look to the investment project as a valuable opportunity to gain hands-on experience in researching investment opportunities. However, contemplating a career in finance is not the only reason that I think learning about investing is important. I think that having the knowledge it takes to be financially independent is vital to every woman as she thinks about her future. I believe firmly that in order for women to gain equality, we need to gain control over our financial resources.

-- Comparative Study of Religion and Government concentrator, SWS Associate, Harvard




I first became interested in investing this summer when I asked my parents for stocks for my 18th birthday. However, rather than invest the money for me, my parents gave me money to invest myself. Months later this money is still sitting in the bank and I have no idea where to begin. Therefore, I am most interested in learning about investing because I would like to be able to finally make an educated decision about investing my own money. I want to be able to open up the business section of a newspaper and understand what the numbers mean. I want to know what it means for the Dow to rise or fall a couple points. I also think that everyone, especially women, should understand the basics of investing to secure their own financial independence.

-- Government concentrator, SWS Associate, Harvard




The concept of investing has always been foreign to me, and I hope, through the SWS workshops to educate myself enough so that I can start to invest my own money after college. Not only do I think learning how to invest is crucial to financial independence, but it also is important to know for retirement, and throughout one's working life. I think SWS will teach me the skills I need to learn how to tell a good investment when I see one and look forward to the program.

-- Economics concentrator, SWS Associate, Dartmouth





I want to join Smart Woman Securities because my personal observation of my parents' struggles with their finances made me realize how important it is to have access to information. In what I presume to be a very safe and welcoming environment, I seek to learn about investing early-on, so that in the near future, I will have the knowledge and means to manage my own finances. I believe it is empowering for women to be able to actively engage in financial decisions, and draw upon available options and resources. I hope to actively engage in upcoming seminars and projects.

-- Neurobiology concentrator, SWS Associate, Yale





I believe financial security and independence will be a prerequisite to my leading a happy and fulfilling life in the future. I also believe that education about how to achieve financial security and independence has, until now, been conspicuously absent from our campus. I am thrilled, therefore, for this chance to participate in SWS and learn more about the essential and exciting skill of investing.

-- Economics concentrator, SWS Associate, Harvard




I want to learn about investing because I believe it is a very important life skill. No matter what career path I pursue, I know that I want to be a great investor. In turn, by being a good investor, I will have the freedom to choose a career that is intellectually stimulating to me, no matter the compensation. In my mind, the stock market is a incredible opportunity for achieving financial stability and independence that too few people utilize fully and prudently.

-- Government concentrator, SWS Associate, MIT




I am interested in learning about investing because I wish to become more financially independent and business savvy. In addition I am interested in learning about investing because I would like to be able to discuss issues of finance and investment with my older brother who is a senior analyst at a hedge fund and my father who invests heavily in the stock market.

-- History of Art and Architecture concentrator, SWS Associate, Columbia




I wish I could have intelligent conversations about investing, but I don't know enough about the subject. I wish I could learn about investing through Harvard courses, but we don't offer them. I wish I could pick up the Wall Street Journal and understand what was going on... Even though I probably won't pursue a career in finance, I am interested in business, and these financial skills will help me no matter what subfield of business I enter. I'd love to join SWS and learn about investing, both for personal financial decisions and to help me in my future career.

-- Economics concentrator, SWS Associate,Yale




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