Career Advancement

Exploring Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Investment Management with GCM Grosvenor Employee, Julia Kim

Diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace are three major qualities Julia Kim was looking for when she started her career journey. After learning about GCM Grosvenor as an undergraduate majoring in Economics and Spanish, Julia knew she found the company (and the culture) that would fit her needs. Read more about how Julia’s undergraduate experiences prepared her for career success, as we as helpful advice and guidance for those seeking to enter and excel in the investment management industry.

How did your undergraduate student experience prepare you for career success? What academic, personal, and professional opportunities were most impactful and influential to your career?

As a liberal arts student, I aspired to take coursework across multiple disciplines and explore a wide variety of career choices through internships/shadowing. I found that experience was the best teacher in deciding what I truly enjoyed and sought to gain experience by doing. As I participated in different internships, I was better able to discern the characteristics of the role and what I liked about each job. Understanding the key characteristics each job entailed helped me decide to pursue the investment management industry. For me, internships during my junior year at my college endowment and a private equity firm helped me realize that I enjoyed the role of becoming a better investor and led me to pursue the investment management industry.


What attracted you to start your career in this industry? What do you enjoy about working in this industry? What do you want undergraduate students to know about this industry?

I first learned of the investment management space through organizations like Forté Foundation and Girls Who Invest. Throughout my sophomore and junior years, I learned more about roles in the public and private markets by attending diversity days and insight programs, and later interning at different firms. I was attracted to some elements of investment management roles – looking at longer-term investments, analyzing investments, and having conversations with managers. As a new analyst, I enjoy hearing from managers and look forward to working on deals and interacting with clients.


What unique skills and abilities help someone to stand out in your particular area of business? How can undergraduate students develop or bolster these attributes?

Interpersonal skills, Excel, and analytical skills are used quite often in my role. The more people you speak to, the more you develop interpersonal skills, and client-facing jobs (part-time or summer jobs included) are good for developing those skills. If there are courses you can take that involve Excel, those could be useful in getting comfortable with spreadsheets. Training programs like Training the Street or Wall Street Prep offer good coursework and instructions, as well.


What advice would you give undergraduate women who wish to pursue a career in business? What about your industry specifically?

Speak to people about their experiences and jobs and thank them for their time. Organizations like Forte Foundation hold events and programming that are very useful, as well as written resources on the financial services. Many companies hold diversity days and insight events that discuss different roles at their firms.


What is something you wish you had known when starting your career that you can pass on as advice?

I would advise undergraduate students to explore the financial services industry – there are so many different roles across the sell-side and buy-side. Within the financial services industry, the investment management space is quite broad – there are investment strategies across public and private markets and across different asset classes. Some roles are more client-facing while others are more research-oriented. Speaking to different people about their experiences is very helpful in finding roles that suit you. Also, start the process early – the sooner the better!

Why did you choose to start your career at this employer? Why is this organization a good fit for your professional goals and objectives?

During my interview process with GCM Grosvenor, I was drawn to the company culture and team – everyone I spoke to was so kind, intelligent, and humble. Several team members made time for me after the interview process to tell me about their own career paths and experiences. Also, I resonated with the team’s mission – I am on the Diverse Managers team that invests in underrepresented minority and female managers.


What is your role? How do your work responsibilities fit within the context of the overall organization? Why is your work important?

I am a Private Equity Analyst on the Diverse Managers team at GCM Grosvenor. The team invests in underrepresented minority and female managers, as well as, small and emerging managers, on behalf of the firm’s clients, which include institutional  investors. As an analyst on this team, I have the opportunity to speak to managers with years, sometimes decades, of investing experience and work on deals that increase diversity within the private equity space.


What skills do you leverage in order to excel in your work? What have you learned so far from this professional experience?

Analysts have calls with managers to learn about their background and investments, create track records for funds, and build relationships with managers. Interpersonal skills are a vital part of the job – the team may build relationships with managers and provide advice on the general partner’s process and may invest in the future.


Do you have a mentor at your organization? If yes, what qualities and characteristics of this person have helped you to navigate the modern workplace?

All of my team members, from the Managing Directors and Co-Heads of the practice to the older analysts, have been very welcoming and all act as mentors. They have spent time with me delving into explanations of funds, underlying portfolio companies, and Excel analysis, as I navigate the ins and outs of the job.


How has your organization supported your leadership and professional development?

During the firm’s Analyst Training Program, leaders across all teams, many of whom have been at Grosvenor for many years, came to speak to the Analyst class. They were open to answering all questions and made themselves very available to us, whether we were based in the Chicago or New York offices. Representatives of the affinity groups also came to speak to us and informed us of mentorship and professional development opportunities.


What activities, programs, or resources have been most helpful to you?

The Analyst Training Program was a great resource for meeting the whole Analyst class and learning about the firm from senior leaders. I appreciated their time, advice, and willingness to open their doors to us. Since starting with the team, they have all been generous with their time and answering questions over training sessions and coffee chats.


How would you describe the organizational culture at your employer?

GCM Grosvenor has an inclusive and open company culture. As I mentioned previously, everyone at the firm has been very welcoming of the new Analyst class. My team has been supportive of each member’s personal lives and professional lives – during calls we get to meet some team member’s kids and hear about their families. Grosvenor, as a firm, also cares about their employees’ wellbeing – work-life balance is very good and remote work is a possibility as team members are located across the US. Diversity is also something the firm cares about – this is prevalent across the firm (employees) and Grosvenor’s investments.


What actions is your employer taking to prioritize gender equity in the workplace?

Throughout the firm’s teams, from C-suite level to Analyst level, Grosvenor’s prioritization of gender equity is prevalent. Our diversity statistics and more on the firm’s commitment to diversity can be found here. Additionally, the diverse manager team has invested in small, emerging, and diverse managers for the past 30 years.


What is it about Forté’s mission that makes you want to support the organization’s efforts?

The business world, and in particular the financial services industry, has a reputation for being a male-dominated industry, and organizations like Forté seek to provide resources for women to enter the business world, from undergraduate to professionals. The business education, leadership conferences, and business school programs offer a variety of resources to combat the lack of diversity. As an undergraduate student, I found these resources invaluable for learning and aim to give back to the community when possible.


Did you engage with Forté throughout your undergraduate experience or as an early-career professional? If so, what advice would you have for those who are just starting to engage with Forté events, activities, and resources?

I engaged with Forté as an undergraduate and would highly recommend attending Forté’s undergraduate conferences. Many of my peers had positive things to say and continued to engage as campus ambassadors. There are also educational resources online that are accessible, and the community is there to support you throughout your career, from undergraduate to early career to business school to working professional.

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