Awards for 3 outstanding female students in finance

June 15, 2023

Jeanne Bourgault, Charlène Hébert and Meriem Mehri, 3 students at HEC Montréal specializing in finance were rewarded for their involvement and excellent academic track record in this still male-dominated field. All 3 women won a Relève award at the annual Gala of the Association of Quebec Women in Finance (AFFQ) in May this year.

The financial institutions that confer these awards offer the winners a workplace internship. Jeanne Bourgault (2023 Relève CDPQ award) is currently working in one of the portfolio modelling teams of the real estate division at CDPQ. Charlène Hébert (2023 Relève Desjardins award) is handling fund analysis in the manager performance and solutions team at Desjardins.

Meriem Mehri (2023 Relève Desjardins award) has not started an internship at Desjardins because she is also the recipient of an academic excellence scholarship and an internship at National Bank Financial. She is currently working there as a summer analyst within the business operational strategy, resilience & risk management team.


Jeanne Bourgault: from mathematics to finance

Jeanne Bourgault is, simply put, a wizard at math. Most of her undergraduate studies were devoted to mathematics at the Université de Montréal. She soon realized that she was even more intrigued by the applications of this subject, so she focused her interest on finance. Currently pursuing a master’s degree in financial engineering at HEC Montréal, she has found a way to bring even more relevance to her expertise.

“Finance adds a more practical dimension to mathematics, in addition to paving the way for a wider range of job options, and helping me meet more people from different disciplines.”

She has been involved in related activities both on and off campus, throughout her academic journey. Last year, she shared her skills and passion for this subject with others by volunteering her services at the HEC Montréal Mathematics Help Centre. She was also a scientific educator with Les Scientifines, an organization that provides extracurricular activities to primary and secondary school girls to stimulate their interest in science.

After her internship at the Caisse, Jeanne Bourgault will complete her master’s degree at HEC Montréal. She has chosen the supervised project stream, and she intends to subsequently enter the job market.


Jeanne Bourgault

Charlene Hébert: taking up challenges

When Charlène Hébert joined HEC Montréal to do her Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA), she didn’t know which specialization to choose … until she took Marie-Hélène Allard’s introduction to finance course.

“Throughout the term, I sensed how passionate she was about promoting the role of women in finance. This lit a flame in me, and I wanted to carve a place for myself there.”

Taking up intellectual challenges and acquiring new skills are constant sources of motivation for Charlène. It is no wonder then that she took online courses to learn and get acquainted with Python, the computer programming language. She will complete her BBA in Fall 2023. She then wishes to pursue an MSc in financial engineering at HEC Montréal.

In that respect, her internship at Desjardins will have helped her narrow down her choices for the future:

“This confirmed my interest in quantitative finance, which is a very influential and innovative field. And it will sit very well with my passion for programming!”


Charlène Hébert

Meriem Mehri: leaving her mark

Meriem Mehri wanted to pursue university studies in an area that would combine her interest in mathematics with the surrounding global context. So she dove into a BBA with a double major in quantitative finance and business analytics. She aspires to a career in the fields of quantitative finance, operations research, and data science.

As an undergraduate, she was involved in various committees and groups, and chaired the Association des Technologies de l’Information. She has participated in numerous student case-solving competitions and university competitions.

She attributes her strong drive to a desire to leave her mark and inspire others:

“Being the eldest in my family, my current academic pursuits are partly dedicated to my little sisters. I would like them to be proud of their big sister and be inspired to do the same, if not better! I sense that my journey and the privilege of studying are the keys to both personal and collective success.”

Meriem is also the producer and host of her own podcast, Tours d’Horizons, where she discusses “the quest for meaning and self-discovery while navigating the choppy waters of the twenties, a period of life fraught with questions and indecision, and nourished by personal growth.”

Meriem Mehri

Discover some of our programs that could lead to a career in finance:

Find out more about the Association of Quebec Women in Finance [in French only]

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