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Black History Month: pursuing a career in banking and finance

14 October, 2021Mutahara Gofur
Binta Darboe

Binta Darboe studied our Financial Education qualifications at school and college and went on to achieve a degree in Finance, Investment and Risk (BSc) with us. She tells us about her experience studying with us and why diversity is important to her.

What did you enjoy about Level 3 Diploma in Financial Studies (DipFS)?

It was the first time I learned about personal finance and became interested in how to take control of my finances. One of the most important things I learned was how taxes work and how to get a mortgage. It helped me shape my financial goals and taught me skills I could apply in the future.

Why did you choose to study Finance, Investment and Risk (BSc)?

Initially, I didn’t want to do a degree, but I attended a Goldman Sachs event on investment and wanted to find out more about it. I looked on UCAS and came across LIBF.

It really prepared me career wise. Modules like equity investments and alternative investments provided me with knowledge I’ve used in interviews, which helped me get an offer from Goldman Sachs! I think if I’d gone to another university, I wouldn’t be in the same position I am right now.

I also joined LIBF’s student Women in Finance Society. Banking and finance can be quite male dominated, so we wanted to create a safe space especially for those new to the university.

I was part of the diversity and inclusion committee too. And I helped connect those two groups, for relevant events and dates like International Women’s Day.

Why do you think diversity is important?

I moved to the UK when I was ten and settled in Colchester, which wasn’t very diverse. I had a lot to overcome, being in an environment where I was a minority.

There were conversations I felt left out of because I could not relate to them. I found that being in more diverse environments helped me come out of my shell and find myself more.

What does Black History Month mean to you?

I’m a Black woman, but I’m African first. In Africa, Black History Month is just our history.

It took me a while to understand what it meant in the UK, but I think it’s about celebrating Black African history and Black British history. Especially recognising and celebrating the Black people who came here in the 60s or 70s and really built a community for themselves.

What challenges have you faced professionally? And how did you overcome them?

Luckily, I haven’t faced many challenges because I was very aware of where I wanted to be professionally.

I found a mentor, who’s also a Black woman, and joined her network called Black Women in Finance. Through this, I connected with other Black women and found people who could guide me. That network really helped me, and I think I’d have struggled without it.

What advice would you give to Black women seeking out a mentor?

I’d suggest focusing on spaces you want to be in or careers or companies that would suit you.

I googled Black women in finance and signed up my email to any relevant websites I came across. Then eventually someone responded to me and that’s how I found my mentor.

What’s next for you?

I’m starting as an analyst in asset management at Goldman Sachs where I’ll be working with all the different asset classes. In terms of the future, it’s all very exciting!

I might go into private equity or end up in a hedge fund but I’m just going to see what comes my way.

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