Stephanie Ming Ching Pow has always embraced opportunities. Pow, 25, graduated from the Australian School of Business in 2009 with a Bachelor of Commerce, receiving first class honours and the University Medal in Finance. Pow received nine awards and scholarships whilst studying at ASB and was recently named a Sir John Monash scholar.
Sir John Monash Scholars are selected on the basis of their demonstrated and potential leadership contribution to their fields of endeavour and to the Australian and global community. The scholarship means that Pow can enrol in a Masters in Public Policy and an MBA at Harvard University where she intends to focus her research on impact investing.
Pow explained that impact investing: "is an allocation of capital to businesses that achieve both a financial return and social good. Unlike most other funds, achieving a positive social outcome in a community is the primary aim."
Pow said she hopes to one day establish a major and preeminent impact investment fund in the Australian market.
Pow's mother, who she lost to cancer at the age of eleven, remains a significant inspiration in her life. "She's not famous but she is someone who had quite a big impact in a small community. I think that really drives me to be the best that I can always be and I think that's what has partly driven me to apply my skills in finance to impact investing."
Pow acknowledges how she wants to use her skills in finance to follow in her mum's footsteps. In many ways, Pow has already demonstrated this. She established Capital W in 2007, an organisation that provides leadership, networks and training for female students to become future business leaders. After seeing the success of Wharton Women whilst on exchange at the Wharton School, Pow was spurred to introduce a similar opportunity for female students in Australia.
She refers to her memorable first day on the trading floor at financial services company, UBS. Outside of her comfort zone at just 18 and in a male-dominant industry, it proved intimidating. But Pow overcame the initial uncertainty and discovered a surprise enjoyment for the trading room, which has led her to her current role as Associate Director, Derivatives at UBS.
"I just wanted more young women to do something they might not feel like they are one-hundred percent ready to do, like I was when I was on the trading floor," she says.