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If you thought a career in finance was stagnant cubicle work—and the stuff of clock-punching drones—think again. For instance, consider the world of capital markets: A fast-paced, youthful work environment driven by brains, charm, passion and yes, even adrenaline. What's even better? It's also a workplace that is welcoming to young women. So, we asked some of the experts at BMO Capital Markets, a team that offers everything from merger and acquisition advisory services to corporate lending, to explain why their jobs are so exciting—and why you should consider a career in finance.

1. Make money

Have you ever seen HBO's Girls, that show about the miseries of wandering between bad relationships, even worse internships, and the nastiest jobs ever? If you want to avoid that lifestyle—and don't want to borrow tons of money from your parents—and are driven towards financial independence—pursuing finance can offer you an awesome, lucrative alternative. What does that mean? Whether you're into a massive book collection or a massive shoe collection, your career can fund your passions. "I'm very practical and pragmatic—and my family's not from the corporate world. I wasn't focused on business initially," offers Jenny Li, an Associate in BMO's Loan Products group. "But then, in school, I had one prof tell us, 'If you have student loans to pay, and you want more of a guarantee of a job when you get out of school, go into finance and accounting and you'll learn practical skills."

2. You'll never be bored again

Because, contrary to popular belief, jobs in finance don't entail being a desk jockey. In fact, it can be downright riveting (which is the reason that Harrison Ford stars in all those financial thriller movies). For example, on BMO’s trading floor, rather than yawning in cubicles, employees experience on-the-fly decision making, thrilling twists and turns and open-door collaboration with team members. "The trading floor is a very different place to work," says Carleigh Publow, Associate with BMO's Trading Products Rotational Program. "You see your work pay off right away. It's also very challenging—which makes it very rewarding."  

3. You'll be part of a high-performing team

If you're an athlete, you get it. The things you love about team sports—the competitive spirit, the rush of adrenaline, the camaraderie with your teammates, and the desire to work towards a common goal—can be found in the finance world. "You have to work as a team," adds Publow. "You’re sitting with over 300 people, and there are no walls. You work with everyone."  New employees are literally elbow to elbow with seasoned professionals; learning from them every day.

4. You'll satiate your desire for information, information, information

If your friends are constantly wrenching you away from Twitter, Facebook and your RSS feed—y'know, if you're an information junkie—you'll find plenty to like working in capital markets. "The type of work you do will be different every day, because the markets are dynamic and ever-changing," says Joanne Hing, BMO's Director of Financial Products, Sales and Trading. "The days go by very quickly, and you love to come in each morning to find out what's changed and what's going on out there in the global markets. You get a thirst for information on what's happening in this world."  And people in this business are among the first to know about it.

5. Are you an A-type? You'll fit right in

If you're known for your spontaneity, your chattiness and your ability to command an audience, then congrats! You're an A-type. "Outspoken and strong people do well in capital markets, because you need to make decisions very quickly," says Li. "You need to be confident, and deal with a lot of money as part of transaction deals. We’re competing against other banks while looking out for the interests of our clients." 

6. Or are you a myth-buster? They need you too

"There are different roles in capital markets— and it’s a myth that everyone here has to be extroverted," counters Hing. "I consider myself to be an introvert, even though I'm in sales. People think that being an A-type is necessary because it’s such a candid environment on the trading floor —people here are blunt - but I got used to it.  There are so many different positions in capital markets, and it's a matter of finding a position that fits your skill set."

Are you detail-oriented, fastidious, and hard-working? Try a few courses in accounting. Are you creative and communicative? Marketing might be the answer. Are you an analytical people-person? Human Resources might be your bag. In finance, you'll find nearly limitless possibilities.

7. It's not just for the guys

Zahra Ladhani, BMO's Vice President of Foreign Exchange, Sales and Trading, says women can bring a completely different dimension to their teams. "We have different strengths," she adds. "We're detail oriented and our multi-tasking skills are off the charts. We have a good group of women here, and we all hang out together—we're a great team."

8. You can be yourself

Do you think that everyone in finance is a clone?  Not so. Companies that employ a greater variety of people are more profitable and in finance, money talks.  "Diversity isn't only about gender and ethnicity," says Roslyn MacLean, BMO's Program Manager of Mentoring and Diversity. "It encompasses every bit of ourselves that we bring to work each day. Lifestyle needs are becoming more integrated with the workplace, and our young employees are leading that charge.”

9. You'll learn the tools to run your own business

A few facts about our generation: According to a University of North Carolina study, 70 per cent of Millenials say we're hoping to switch jobs. Most of us prioritize meaningful work over high salaries. 37 per cent of us don't trust big business. 70 per cent of us, meanwhile, consider ourselves optimistic about our future. What does this mean? As a generation, we want to control our own destinies. And the first step to realizing your potential could be working in the financial world.

"[When I was in school], I focused on investment management and the capital markets," says Nhat Tien Can, a graduate of York University's finance program. "I've always wanted to open a cafe myself, and the knowledge I've learned is a great tool. I've learned how to manage my own financial situation: How to invest, how to save tax, how to research the market and economy. It helps to know the timing of [when] to open a business."

BMO's Emily Schmidt, a Managing Director in Financial Products agrees. The knowledge you can gain from a financial career can be rewarding—even outside your job. "Financial literacy is a huge pillar," she adds. "It's critical, both personally and professionally."

10. You're never alone

A career in a results-driven business like capital markets, can be daunting—especially for workers with limited experience. Companies like BMO, however, provide plenty of support to their employees. Take the BMO Capital Markets Mentorship Program for example, which pairs up its young workers with experienced professionals, who offer support, guidance and advice—and the tools to succeed within their industry. "The mentorship program is sought after," adds MacLean. "And participating in it means someone will be looking out for you."

Photos: Michael Jung/Thinkstock