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Inside Kellogg recently spoke with Cristina Hackley and Hadley Brooke (both 2Y, 2022) about their experience serving as co-chairs of the Women in Finance Dinner and how Kellogg is supporting women pursuing careers in finance. Here’s their story.

What experiences led you to study finance?

Cristina: Prior to Kellogg, I worked at a private bank in New York in its wealth-management group. At my firm, an internal group of former investment bankers would work with our wealth-management clients who were thinking about selling their private business or buying another business. I quickly became really interested in the work that this group was doing, introducing a buyer to a seller and helping to facilitate a transaction.

 Hadley: After my time at Northwestern as an undergrad, I made the jump to investment banking at William Blair in their technology group. Then, I got an amazing opportunity to help Eric Larson, who had founded Linden Capital Partners, and Johannes Burlin build a new private equity firm called Tilia Holdings from the ground up as the first associate there. After two years on the investment team, I worked for one year for one of our portfolio companies, and then was able to make the jump back to NU for business school.

How did you choose Kellogg?

Cristina: A lot of the advice that I got about banking early on was that it’s a huge team sport. I knew I wanted to be at a school where that was a core value. At Kellogg, there’s a way to be successful and ambitious while still elevating everybody else in the room.

Hadley: I echo that. But also, when Dean Cornelli came into the NU family as a brilliant economist with a true finance focus, I knew it was going to be a really exciting time to be at Kellogg.

How did you move into leadership roles for the Women in Finance dinner?

Cristina: The event last year was all virtual, but I thought it was still really special. It’s such an authentic and genuine event that Kellogg takes the time to create every year. I knew that if there was an opportunity to help pay it forward the following year, I would be really interested.

Hadley: What inspired me to lead was the fact that Cristina tapped me on the shoulder and said, hey, would you want to do this with me? I knew that she was really driven, really fun to work with, a very good person that I really wanted to know better heading into my second year here at Kellogg.

Also, Professor David Stowell, whose brainchild this event was, has been such a great mentor to me, helping me figure out what experiences I wanted to have in my first year of business school, that it was a no-brainer to say yes.

What were the highlights of this year’s event?

Hadley: Our keynote speaker was Sidney Dillard ’88, who leads Loop Capital Markets, an investment bank downtown. She was amazing. The primary audience was first-year students, but we did have a lot of second-year students sign up as well. We had 12 to 15 tables, and we had an industry professional from across all types of finance at each one.

Cristina: Also, as people were first coming in, we had a welcome reception for students, table hosts and faculty, so that before we started the formal programming, people would have an opportunity to get to know each other better.

What’s next for both of you?

Hadley: I’m in the throes of full-time recruiting to go back to private equity. I am planning to go back home to the East Coast, which is very sad, because I’ll be leaving Chicago for the first time in a very long time!

The best part of going to Northwestern twice (Go ‘Cats!) is always knowing that I’ll be back, whether for a weekend or a week or a year. I feel like I’m leaving this place knowing that I’ll always have a connection to Northwestern’s incredible network of women in finance.

Cristina: I interned at Evercore this summer, and I’ll be going back there full time in New York. We’re both looking forward to Finance Week at Kellogg later in the fall, and we’re trying to build off the momentum of the dinner to find additional ways for female-identifying students to boost their financial acumen or their qualitative skills, or just learn more about what it means to pursue a career in finance.