CME Scholar Jada Aduda seeks to be a role model for women of color in the financial field
Born in Kenya, Quinlan student Jada Aduda (BBA '22) and her family immigrated to the U.S. when she was 6 months old. Her mother, an accountant, and father, a data analyst, encouraged Aduda to enter business as well.
But Aduda knew that she could only afford Loyola’s nationally ranked business education with help. In 2019, she was awarded the highly competitive CME Group Foundation Scholarship. The scholars program supports underrepresented students with a variety of majors in finance and technology. More about this program →
Now, with her CME Foundation scholarship and a supportive circle of peers, mentors, and professors at Quinlan, Aduda has set her sights on earning a C-suite position.
Why did you pick Loyola?
I originally heard about Loyola through my dad. His coworker’s son attends Loyola, too. My dad encouraged me to come here, but at first, I thought it was too far away from my home in Minnesota. It’s a step outside of my comfort zone.
Then when I visited campus the summer before my senior year of high school, being in downtown Chicago made me feel like there was a lot of potentials for me to explore here. I thought with a small school, I would have endless opportunities and be able to succeed more.
The field of finance is very important, but people don't always see the impact of it. Those who manage finances can cause the success or downfall of the company.
After watching my mom work as an accountant, I thought accounting would be a good path for me. But as I got to know more about finance, I thought this field sounds more like me. The industry can open a lot of doors for me, and it can be a force for good.
What do you hope to accomplish in this field?
The biggest thing that bothers me about finance is the lack of representation. It's very hard to think you can achieve something when you don't see yourself represented in the position, when there's no role model for you that’s made it in that position.
Women of color make up 4% of top C-suites according to this report [CEO or CFO positions], which is a problem. It’s not that they can’t do it; it’s because they don’t see themselves there. So, if I do it and am up there, it can show other young black girls “she did it, so I can do it, too.”
It's more than the glass ceiling. It's an ambition gap because they don’t see anyone that looks like them in those positions. It's never shown to young girls of color that they can be the CEO. Those barriers start young, and we need to remove those barriers to let black women pursue those fields. I want to show young black girls they can be in this field, too.
How does finance allow social justice?
Financial stability is a very empowering thing. Through a finance background or being able to spread finance education, I will be an aid in helping people in disadvantaged communities, and help make financial knowledge accessible to all. I want to have the tools to help others, and show young girls that they can have these tools, too.
What does this scholarship enable you to do?
I knew the only way that I would be able to afford Loyola would be to find outside help. The scholarship gives me an opportunity to just focus on my school without worrying about paying for school. To pay and succeed in school, my energy would be split, but now I can focus on my entire energy on success in my studies.
Getting this opportunity has also given me a connection with CME for possible internships and guidance, and there’s opportunities through CME to help further my career.
Tell me about your goals.
I would like to be in the C-suite as either the CEO or CFO, and be able to stand in that power and know that I deserve to be there.
What sets Quinlan apart?
Quinlan prepares leaders who are socially responsible and are ready to make a difference on both the micro and macro scale. A lot of employers like to hire Quinlan students because the academic rigor results in deep growth. The curriculum fosters ethical and responsible conduct.
Favorite Quinlan experience?
I've had two or three professors who have challenged me in ways that helped me get to levels that I didn't know I could. Those professors let me know I can be successful even when I doubted myself. The professors are the best part of the experience, in that they challenge me to achieve.
If I ever find myself needing that extra help, or just someone to talk to about career goals or feeling lost, Quinlan has always been there for me. Everyone has told me here I can be successful. A lot of them have commended me for sticking with this field because most of the time when I walk into class, I'm the only black woman there.
Advice for students?
My dad would always tell me nothing is too hard. You may have self-doubt, but change your mindset going into things. If you go into something thinking it's too hard, you won't be open to it. Changing my mindset has made all the difference for me.
Describe Quinlan in 10 words or less.
Dedicated, ethical, challenging, distinguished, collaborative, transformative, rewarding, full of opportunity.