A senior female banker's advice about succeeding on Wall Street

Krystal Hu

Finance and politics have traditionally been male-dominated industries, but Stacey Hadash found her own place in both. Being fearless and forming relationships are critical for young people who want to pursue a career on Wall Street, according to the Bank of America Merrill Lynch (BAC) managing director who oversees banking in New York and Long Island.

Hadash was the first person in her family to attend college. She went to Smith College, a women’s liberal arts school in Massachusetts, where she was encouraged to venture into industries lacking diversity and she learned how to become a leader.

“There’s never a sense you couldn’t do something because all leadership positions of the school are filled by women. I think it’s not sometimes women think they can’t do something, it’s that they don’t think of doing it,” Hadash told Yahoo Finance editor-in-chief Andy Serwer in a talk hosted by Asian Cultural Center and PLC Ltd. Inc. in July.

Today, Hadash is actively engaged in diversity initiatives and cultivating women leaders in the business world, both at her company and the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, where she obtained an MBA degree. She thinks MBA schools still have a lot of work to do in attracting women as the gender parity in MBAs is much less balanced than in other higher education programs. Females account for only 37% of MBA students, according to the latest report from the Graduate Management Admission Council, which runs the GMAT business school entrance exam.

To land a job and advance in your career, Hadash said it’s up to the applicant to tell a story in a way that shows they have some inherent qualities to succeed. Having worked in both the public and private sectors, in particular, her time in the 1992 Clinton campaign, Hadash learned the importance of communication and emphasizes its value in the business world. “Your boss can’t read your mind. Tell stories about yourself, your accomplishments and what responsibilities you want to take.”

Thinking back to her early days on Wall Street, Hadash wished she had been braver. She recalls being one of those young analysts who thought senior managers would be too busy to answer questions, but now she is impressed by high school interns who knock on her door and ask for time to meet.

“Be fearless about who you look to make connections with, or what you think you’re capable of doing,” said Hadash.

Krystal Hu is a reporter at Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter

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