When Wided touched down in Tokyo for the first time, she was tasked with managing three full days of investor meetings with the CEO of a large financial institution. And she made the most of every minute, using even travel time to her advantage. “The moments when we were driving in the car from one meeting to the next turned out to be the best opportunity to go over the information our clients needed,” says the Vice President in Morgan Stanley London’s Global Capital Markets division.
“It was really exciting, because it was my first time managing senior-level client meetings on my own.” Since then, Wided has managed many similar presentations, in Japan and all over the world.
Today she advises clients, mostly in Scandinavian countries and the Netherlands, on accessing global capital markets, typically by issuing between $500 million and $2 billion of debt instruments. Wided describes her role as “part sales and trading, part investment banking,” involving extensive collaboration with both—conferring with sales and trading colleagues to learn about current and expected market conditions, and brainstorming with investment banking colleagues about the types of transactions that interest institutional investors at any given time.
I grew up in Normandy, France, and studied finance and economics at the ESCP Business School, spending a year each at its Paris, London and Berlin campuses. One of the main things that attracted me to the school was that I could live and learn in different countries and get to know people from different cultures. I was keen to travel the world from a pretty young age, and I wound up looking for a job in London after graduation because there’s such a great mix of people and cultures here.
I was amazed by the way Morgan Stanley demonstrated care for employees during the coronavirus crisis. Most of us were working from home in London and around the world. If you weren’t feeling well, oftentimes a colleague from Human Resources called to check in on you and to offer to organize a call with a medical consultant, if wanted or needed. These types of things make you realize how much your colleagues truly care.
I also had daily video meetings with my team, just to see each other and catch up. A lot of the junior members of the team live alone. The Managing Directors on our team were really great, making sure we all connected each day just to talk, even to share small things, like which local restaurant was still able to deliver food. My family is back in France, so this kind of support was nice to have and helped with adapting to the new working environment.
When I graduated from university, I was working for a different investment bank in the global capital markets area. I worked on a transaction with a team from Morgan Stanley, which is very common; you often will have several banks working together on a large transaction. I guess they appreciated the way I worked, because when they had an opening on the team, they invited me for interviews. After learning about the position and all of the opportunities at Morgan Stanley, the decision to move was easy.
I’ve worked at different banks as an intern and after college, but I never comprehended what “culture” really meant until I started at Morgan Stanley. At a lot of places, it’s just a word. Here, it’s a genuine part of what we experience every day. Morgan Stanley is a place where people want to be the best, differentiate themselves from the rest of the street and bring value to the client. At the same time, it’s a place where people almost universally work in a collegial way and always try to work as a team.
We receive a lot of support internally from women who are more advanced in their careers and are Managing Directors. They work hard to make sure that more junior members of the firm have great opportunities.
One big example of this for me was when one of our senior leaders asked me to join her on a panel to interview one of the best-known women in the financial industry, attended by a large audience in our London offices.
I think at a lot of firms, you’d only have one senior person conducting the interview, but my senior colleague thought it would be more interesting and refreshing to have a more junior woman also asking the questions. It was an amazing experience, and I don’t think I’d have that kind of opportunity anywhere else.