Lena Förster named first EY Corporate Finance Woman of the Year

London, 28 February 2018

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  • Global competition aims to build pipeline of female talent in corporate finance
  • Work experience challenge on live UK merger determined overall winner
  • Grand prize is a 30-day global tour across EY locations

On 27 February 2018, we announced the winner of the inaugural EY Corporate Finance Woman of the Year, a global competition that took place in London’s iconic Shard building.

Lena Förster from Germany was selected as the winner. Förster will participate in a 30-day immersive internship experience and will have the opportunity to work with EY mentors and Transaction Advisory Services (TAS) teams in Asia-Pacific, EMEIA and the Americas.

Steve Krouskos, EY Global Vice Chair – Transaction Advisory Services, says:

“Lena is an extremely talented person and well-deserving of the award. She has demonstrated all the skills required to be successful in corporate finance and mergers acquisitions (M&A), including strong business acumen, cross-cultural collaboration and communicating ideas in a compelling way.

“The perception that corporate finance and M&A is male-dominated still persists and this competition is designed to help dispel that myth. Lena and all of the outstanding global finalists show how diversity of thought adds to the quality of the solution.”

The competition drew hundreds of applications from university students, culminating in a shortlist of 81 national finalists worldwide. Eight regional winners from seven countries came to London for the global final.

EY collaborated with mental health charity, Place2Be – currently undertaking a merger – to provide practical, hands-on experience to the finalists. A panel of judges comprising representatives from EY and Place2Be senior management selected the winner based on their performance during team challenges relating to the merger.

Lena Förster, EY Corporate Finance Woman of the Year – 2018, said:

“Working with a client in a live situation gave me incredible insight into the issues executives face when undertaking a merger – as well as the impact I could have as part of an M&A team. It was also exciting to put the technical skills I have gained at university into practice, and work with the other finalists to address complex issues and find solutions.”

Campus competition designed to build pipeline of exceptional female talent

The EY Corporate Finance Woman of the Year competition welcomes applications from female university students and aims to encourage more women to pursue a career in corporate finance. The inaugural competition is part of EY’s broader goal to attract top talent, build diverse teams that can provide exceptional results and to prepare its people, clients and businesses for the future of work.

Graeme Browning, EY Global Talent Leader – Transaction Advisory Services, says:

“We know that building diverse, high-performing teams is critical to providing outstanding results for clients. And through initiatives like EY Corporate Finance Woman of the Year, we look to attract and engage outstanding females who are purpose-led and have the necessary acumen to ask, and find answers to, the toughest questions, delivers exceptional results and help navigate clients through a rapidly changing business landscape.”

Changing perceptions and new realities

The competition aims to help bridge perception gaps and building a better understanding of the types of roles available within corporate finance was a fundamental objective.

Julie Hood, EY Global Deputy Vice Chair – Transaction Advisory Services, says:

“In order for us to attract, retain and enhance the skills of our next generation we recognize that we need to demystify the world of corporate finance, ensuring we leverage technology and ways of working to create flexible operating models. We also need to challenge stereotypes, of who can and should be able to succeed in this industry.

I know that both EY and all participants have benefited from the different perspectives and insights throughout the program.”

This year, seven countries participated and eight regional winners came to London to take part in the global final, including Australia (Rebecca Zhang), Singapore (Yanyan Duan), Germany (Lena Förster), Norway (Henny Tanberg Hansen), the UK and Ireland (Eleanor Knight), United Arab Emirates (Aliaa AlMheiri), and the US (Jacinta Chang and Sabrina Peng).

Follow us on Twitter: @EY_TAS (#EYCorporateFinanceWomanOfTheYear) and Facebook: EY Transactions.

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