Becoming a Managing Director

A qualitative study of the promotion practices in Canadian banks at the Managing Director level

September 2nd, 2016

A new study conducted in the financial industry by Roxana Barbulescu, Associate Professor at HEC Paris and Joanna Zapior, Managing Director in the capital markets arm of a Top 5 bank in Toronto, advises that transparency, accountability, and managerial support are key factors to consider for companies willing to give equal chances to men and women who want to reach the top levels of the corporation.


Over a period of three months in the fall of 2015, they confidentially interviewed a number of high-level finance professionals who had been through, or were on the cusp of, being promoted to Managing Director positions. Their goal was to see how the process of promotion to Managing Director is experienced by the individuals being promoted and how those aspiring to be promoted think about it. From here, the study aims to understand to what extent a gap may exist between how the process is intended (by the management of the firm) and how it plays out in practice. This gap may lead to unintended consequences as described by both the respondents and the academic literature in the field.

Read the Report

Cover page report Barbulescu

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