The BYU Women in Finance organization has expanded this year in an effort to encourage more women to major in finance.
The finance major traditionally has a very low admission rate for women, according to Colby Wright, the finance program director for the Marriott School of Management.
The percentage of women admitted to the program has increased from 9 percent to 14 percent within the past few years. The program also expects another increase this year.
“If we do get an increase this year, it will be almost 100 percent attributable to the Women in Finance program,” Wright said.
Women in Finance is not an official BYU club, according to Erika Mahterian, the organization’s president. She said the group acts more as a women’s initiative in support of the BYU Finance Society.
“We call ourselves the Women in Finance group, or association,” Mahterian said.
Before the group started, “women in finance” was just a phrase used to refer to all the women who participated in the finance program.
Tina Ashby was appointed as the faculty adviser of the organization in 2016 and chose the organization’s student leadership.
“A lot of this is just the energy and excitement that (the club presidency) has brought to the table on this topic,” Ashby said.
When Ashby and Mahterian first got involved last semester, Women in Finance hosted one pizza dinner event during Fall Semester, which was attended by approximately 30 students.
The organization hosted two events since the beginning of Winter 2016, and the most recent event had 75 people in attendance.
Ashby said the group’s events focus on the message they want to send to women about the finance program.
“All women should consider a degree in finance,” Ashby said, adding she wants students to know finance teaches skills to help them in their families, in their communities and in the workforce.
Wright said the program doesn’t just target students who want to work on Wall Street.
“We do try to make it clear that whatever somebody’s ambitions are, there could be a place for them in the finance program,” Wright said.
Junior finance student Sarah Lyman said she is grateful for the attitude of those in the program.
“The finance program does an incredible job preparing women for a wide variety of future paths,” Lyman said. “I am amazed by the great people this program attracts and the support they provide in job placement.”