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The Och Initiative Hosts Event Celebrating Women in Finance

By Nicholle Cardinal

Earlier this fall, Michigan Ross alums gathered in New York City to celebrate the impact of the Och Initiative for Women in Finance.

A fireside chat between Mary Erdoes
and Daniel Och

Established at the Ross School of Business in 2014 with a gift from Jane Och, BBA/MAcc ’86, and her husband, Daniel Och, the Initiative fosters and cultivates interest in finance careers among female BBA students. 

The Och Initiative Celebration featured a fireside chat between Mary Erdoes, CEO of J.P. Morgan Asset and Wealth Management and Daniel Och, founder of Willoughby Capital Holdings, LLC. It also incorporated reflections from Jane Och on how the Och Initiative came to be and on the collaboration with Michigan Ross for its conception. 

“The plan would start with incoming freshmen and even high school kids… to include access to top firms and mentorship from the top women in finance,” she said. “Seven years later, we have seen significant progress.”

Edward J. Frey Dean of Business Sharon F. Matusik elaborated on the impact of the Och Initiative for Women in Finance. 

Mary Erdoes, Daniel Och, Dean Sharon Matusik, and Jane Och
Mary Erdoes, Daniel Och, Dean Sharon Matusik,
and Jane Och

“This initiative is designed to encourage women to explore careers in finance through outreach, education, and engagement — and this initiative is paying great dividends,” Dean Matusik said. “As of this date, we’ve had more than 800 BBAs participate in the initiative since it started, which is just an incredible number. We’ve also doubled the number of female BBA graduates pursuing finance related careers since the initiative started.”

A notable component of the initiative is student treks to financial centers across the United States, which allow Michigan Ross students to interact with women leaders in New York City, Chicago, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. Through these interactions, students are given the opportunity to learn about company cultures, gain insights and career advice, and network with women who have pursued careers in finance.

Ann Zhang, BBA ’25, joined the Och Initiative upon enrolling at Ross in order to gain insight into the variety of roles within finance and to meet new people. She joined a trek to New York City, where she had the opportunity to speak with members of several different firms, especially women who shared their stories and advice. She said that the experience on the trek expanded her understanding of the possibilities that finance may hold for her.

The Och Initiative at Ross is valuable in that it provides women in Ross the rare opportunity to get exposure in an industry in which they are traditionally underrepresented. Through the trek, we met trailblazers who inspired us with the possibility of what we could do and achieve throughout our own journeys.

 Ann Zhang, BBA '25

Another Och Initiative alum, Alyson Koh, BBA ’22, spoke briefly at the event about how Och Initiative treks to Chicago and New York helped solidify her interest in a finance career — and provided clarity about the kind of work and firm she’d prefer. 

The private Och gathering was followed by a larger RossTalks networking event.

Watch the event

 

Learn More About the Och Initiative