Experience that adds up

April 22, 2020

With Cady Ericson's education, connections and experiences — which include an internship with the IRS and managing a College of Business investment portfolio through the stock market's turbulent spring — she says she’s prepared and ready for what’s next.

Finance major Cady Ericson chose UM-Dearborn because of the strong reputation of the College of Business. But she didn’t realize how far her connections made during this time would take her — until she sat down for a one-on-one conversation with the Chief Financial Officer of the Internal Revenue Service.

Ericson, who spent last summer as an intern with the IRS financial assurance control testing team, says her supervisors were impressed with her drive and asked her if she’d like to meet IRS CFO Ursula Gillis.

“Of course I wanted to meet her. Chief Gillis is a successful female executive in finance. I wanted to learn from her,” Ericson said. “She told me to not be afraid and to take new opportunities as they come. She told me the importance of networks and self development. Chief Gillis also told me to trust my instincts; she took a break from work to raise her daughter, even when people told her it wasn’t a smart idea — but she knew what was right for her and was confident in her ability to re-enter the workforce.

“I learned the importance of being connected, confident and vocal as I move forward in my career from one of the country’s top financial executives. That conversation is something I’ll always carry with me.”

Ericson, who graduates this month, said her talk with Gillis was a definite highlight during her college career. 

But she also points to other UM-Dearborn experiences that have helped strengthen her interest in the finance field — like successfully managing the UM-Dearborn College of Business investment portfolio in her FIN 457 course when the S&P 500 went from an all-time high (Feb. 19) to experiencing the biggest one-day drop since 1987 (March 16), and traveling to New York City with the Financial Management Association to meet with finance executives from several Avenue of the Americas-located banks like MUFG Bank and Royal Bank of Canada. They also toured S&P Global and Moody’s Corporation.

“My professors and the people I’ve met have really helped me grow my networks, which leads to opportunities,” said Ericson, who is considering an out-of-state financial analyst position with General Electric post graduation. “My College of Business professors here are experts and great teachers. But it really goes beyond the classroom. They have written letters of recommendation, shared their industry connections with me and more. I wouldn’t be where I am today without them.”

Looking back on college, Ericson balanced work, internships, classes, family and more. And she did it while nearly earning a 4.0. That’s because, in addition to Gillis, Ericson said there’s also another strong financially-focused female finance influence in her life — her mom, who’s a finance manager at Ford Motor Company. And, since she was little, she’s watched her mom juggle work, school and family while balancing her time and money well. Ericson, a middle child of five, said her family taught the kids the value of money through chores, repurposing items and budgeting at a young age.

“My mom is one of my role models. I’ve always liked math and numbers, and — looking at what mom’s accomplished — she encourages me,” Ericson said. “Solving financial problems is about looking at numbers to improve a situation, whether that is for a company, a public organization, yourself or your family. Analyzing data and thinking creatively is key to coming up with the best financial solutions. And I’m ready to get out there and do that.”

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