Anne Ritts: A Fierce Female in Finance
Senior finance student Anne Ritts has built an outstanding resume during her time at Kent State University, but with a full-time job already lined up for her after graduation, she will not have to worry about updating it any time soon.
In her first three years at Kent State, Ritts has maintained membership in multiple finance organizations and a sorority, studied abroad, changed her major, and held multiple internships. Ritts’ next adventure will begin this summer in her career with PNC Bank in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Kent State’s education program is what initially drew Ritts to the university. She spent a year studying integrated mathematics, planning to teach math after graduation, but her path took a turn when she became inspired by her grandfather’s passion for the stock market, which grew within her, and Ritts decided to switch her major.
“If I hadn’t made the switch to finance, I definitely wouldn’t be where I am today,” Ritts said. “I’ve had so many amazing experiences as soon as I switched my major.”
Once she made the change, Ritts received an email from the finance department chair with all opportunities available to finance majors within the College of Business Administration. The initial encouragement inspired her to attend meetings where she discovered she was one of the only women within her major and the student finance organizations.
“I loved the atmosphere, all of the people involved were talking about important things and they were the kind of people I wanted to surround myself with,” Ritts said. “Being in finance and being the only girl many times, it felt like I was always just walking into a room of guys. Because I’ve had all of these experiences at Kent State, I’m able to be more confident.”
Through her involvement in Golden Flash Asset Management Group (GFAM), Ritts has had the opportunity to participate in the Certified Financial Analyst (CFA) research challenge, visit the New York Stock Exchange, and go to the Cayman Islands to study money laundering and tax havens.
Steven Dennis, Ph.D., Firestone Chair of Corporate Finance at Kent State, leads GFAM as co-advisor. Dennis has worked alongside Ritts for three years within the fund and has been an integral part of her success.
Within GFAM, students handle real money and create portfolios of investments they manage and enter into competitions. “Students are now managing over a million dollars in the fund,” Dennis explained. “We use a top-down management style where we look at how the economy is doing, which sectors ought to do well, and then look within those sectors to determine which stocks we should own within that sector.”
In 2019, Ritts’ team brought home first place for their Fixed Income portfolio at the Quinnipiac Global Asset Management Education Forum, which is the largest student finance competition in the country. Looking back, Ritts recalls this accomplishment as one of her best memories in GFAM and at Kent State.
“Going to New York City and getting to represent Golden Flash Asset Management was something I’ll always remember,” Ritts said. “It meant a lot knowing we had put so much time and effort into this portfolio, and I got that opportunity because I put myself out there.”
Although Ritts was one of the only women when she initially switched to a finance major, her accomplishments have inspired more women to study finance at Kent State and be involved in GFAM.
“Anne was one of the early people in the fund, and she’s attracted more women into it, which has been such a great thing for us.” Dennis said. “Most of our senior officers now are women, and a lot of that had to do with Anne’s leadership and being willing to come in early on and be a part of what we do.”
While Ritts says she never intended to study abroad in college, her connections through GFAM and her dedication to her major allowed her the opportunity to study abroad not once but twice during her time at Kent State. Ritts first went on her winter break trip with GFAM to the Cayman Islands, and then spent a semester abroad in Switzerland.
In Switzerland, Ritts studied finance while maintaining an internship in Tech 4.0 venture capital researching agriculture technology.
“I researched companies that used artificial intelligence, robotics and more to improve the agriculture sector,” Ritts explained. “We wanted to focus on investing in companies that are working to make things more sustainable and make the earth better while making humans better.”
Last year, Ritts was invited to the PNC Women in Business Summit where she interviewed for and was hired as a private wealth management intern for summer 2020. Although her internship was completed remotely, Ritts was able to live in Palm Beach, Florida, over the summer for her placement. After completing an extremely successful internship, PNC offered Ritts a full-time career post-grad in private wealth management.
“It’s a three-year program where I will essentially be able to shadow each role within PNC wealth management,” Ritts explained. “I will get to pick three financial advisor roles that I want to learn more about, and at the end of the program I’ll end up in one of those roles where I will actually get my own clients.”
Though Ritts’ time at Kent State will soon come to an end, she is grateful for the many opportunities and memories Kent State has given her, and she is excited to see where the future goes.
“Looking back, I don’t think I could have picked a better school,” Ritts reflected. “If you’re willing to put in the work and put yourself out there, people want to help you. If it weren’t for my professors in finance supporting me and spending extra time with me, I really wouldn’t be where I am today.”
To learn more about the College of Business Administration and the Golden Flash Asset Management Group, visit www.kent.edu/business and www.kent.edu/business/golden-flash-asset-management-team.
Left: Members of GFAM had the opportunity to visit the New York Stock Exchange during their trip to New York City for the Quinnipiac G.A.M.E Forum.
Right: Ritts poses with her team’s first place trophy at the Quinnipiac G.A.M.E Forum. Photos courtesy of Anne Ritts