Meet Forté role model, Jane Gao. With a degree in Economics & Philosophy, Jane's career path was full of opportunities both in and outside of the financial industry. Now, just a few years out of college, she has already advanced her career at Forté's corporate partner, Wells Fargo, as a Securities Investment Banking Analyst – Convertibles/Derivatives after Jane met with Wells Fargo representatives at a Forté undergraduate conference. Learn more from Jane Gao's experience through college and studying abroad and how it changed her career path. How did your undergraduate student experience prepare you for career success? My undergraduate experience helped prepare me for my career in terms of gaining exposure, challenging myself, and learning to manage my time. I studied philosophy and economics in college, which initially sparked my interest in finance. I’ve also discovered that different disciplines help me approach the same problem with a new perspective and tool set. Trying to push myself out of my comfort zone was really helpful - for example, taking niche classes outside of my major or starting a new student organization. I learned to appreciate the “learn-by-doing” approach and to take initiative and seek out opportunities for myself, like finding older students as mentors, raising my hand to ask basic questions, and building a stronger knowledge base on my own. Another valuable experience was getting the chance to study in Morocco for a quarter. While the program was academically rigorous, a great portion of the learning came from my interactions with the locals, whether strangers I met on the streets or shop owners. Being able to appreciate and understand cultural differences is not only important for one’s personal development, but also comes in handy in the workplace, where we more often than not work with people from all walks of life. What is your role and how do your work responsibilities fit within the context of the overall organization? I am an analyst in the convertible/derivatives team at Wells Fargo. The group customizes equity-linked solutions to meet the needs of its clients. My daily work varies and includes working on presentation materials, responding to client questions, updating databases, and more. There’s a lot of collaboration in this position - we work closely with the coverage banking teams, traders, sales, legal, in order to conduct the transactions. Wells provides a very open, collaborative environment – there is constant communication between teams in order to ultimately provide the client with the best advice and service possible. How has your organization supported your leadership and professional development? I applied to Wells after speaking to several team members at a Forté conference in New York during my second year of college. I was blown away by the people and open culture - everyone was super kind and took the time to tell me more about themselves and their role. Wells invests in its people and truly cares about their success, whether through providing mentorship opportunities, educational seminars, or empowering employees to learn and take responsibility early on. Every day is different and challenging, and you’re given significant responsibility early on. My team members are very busy, but whenever I have a question, they are willing to sit down with me and explain the basics. When we receive projects to work on, the team members always explain how they would be used and what could be done to improve my work. Wells also has various employee networks like the Women, Asian American, etc. which brings people together and provides the space for people to show up as they are. 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? Forté has a mission that resonates with me - to help women succeed in business. Forté invests in womens’ futures and provides numerous resources such as MBA webinars, workshops that cover topics like exploring your personal brand, developing communication skills, etc., and opportunities to grow your network whether with other undergraduates or with their corporate partner's representatives. I attended the Forté Fast Track to Finance conference in New York during my second year of college. The conference was extremely useful in deepening my understanding of the industry as a whole in addition to understanding the different career paths within finance. Forté gave me exposure to various finance professionals that I normally wouldn’t run into. There is so much that you can learn from simply listening to team members’ stories and asking them questions. I was able to network with many of my peers and also very inspiring industry leaders, walking away with invaluable career insights as well as friendships. I actually had my first interactions with the company I currently work at from the Forté conference. Forté has an awesome network of supportive women who would love to help and give back – I would say to definitely feel free to reach out to people to connect and learn more about their experiences and perspectives! What is something you wish you had known when starting your career that you can pass on as advice? Stay true to yourself and be genuine! Also, be intentional with your time instead of trying to do everything at once. Perspective and attitude is everything! Want to earn a $1,000 scholarship in 2023? Apply for the #MoreWomenLeading scholarship today with a 500 words or less essay about what More Women Leading means to you.