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Teaming up with Women in Capital Markets (WCM), the Institute for Gender and the Economy (GATE) hosted a design sprint on October 1, 2018, with 15 teams of Rotman MBA students to develop solutions for one of capital markets most persistent challenges: career longevity for women.

Rotman MBA students

Research shows that women enter capital markets at a slower rate compared to men, but leave much faster. Many banks and financial institutions have tried to implement solutions to ‘fix the leak,’ but haven’t been successful.

With help from the Rotman Women in Management Association and Rotman Finance Association, WCM and GATE developed a challenge that used design thinking and empathy to encourage students to propose solutions focused on influencing structural change in capital markets.

The challenge question:

You have complete control to design the ideal capital markets workplace. How might you design this workplace so that Dee (user persona) could develop a long-term and meaningful career?

We received many outstanding ideas in response to this challenge, primarily centred around creating a more inclusive environment for everyone.

Rotman MBA students (2)

The Finalists 

Four teams were nominated for the finals; Team 3, Team 6, Team 9, and Team 14. Their ideas ranged from introducing roles within capital markets to signal the importance of diversity and inclusion, to an application that distributed work equitably among team members to create improved flexibility and performance measurement. The four finalists’ ideas are listed below:

Workload Delegation Tool–A software that distributes new work based on bandwidth, priority, and capability. This will ensure that one team member isn’t overwhelmed by the work on their plate, and every employee’s work is visible, accounted for, and recognized. (The winning idea by Team 6!)

Dialogue Committee–A group responsible for creating opportunities for open discussion among teams, managers, and organizational leaders. By having conversations between groups, we can move towards progress.

Stretch Project for Associates–A capstone project for early-career Associates that showcases both their soft and hard skills. Projects provide an opportunity for meaningful and actionable feedback early, and can create a platform for improvement and insight.

VP Gender Risk Management–A new role that focuses on increasing diversity within capital markets as a risk deterrent. This position’s mandate would be to engage with diverse teams in order to improve return on investment, and promote inclusion in the workplace.

The winning team comprised of Franklin Gumeyi, Jack Shi, Yurisleidy Zoreda Vazquez, and Asli Zayim. For their prize, they will spend an hour on the trading floor with Derek Flood, RBC’s Head of Canadian Equities.

In addition to our finalists, 11 other teams pitched their ideas. These teams identified four areas of opportunity in the capital markets industry, and indicated that if these areas are targeted, and current challenges are remedied, capital markets can foster a more inclusive culture. This will not only elongate the careers of women, but also attract and retain a more diverse workforce.

Thank you to all of the participants, coaches, and judges for being a part of this great event!

To see all of the recommendations and ideas, view or download this short brief.
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