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Amy Solek, BBA ’92: Shaping the Next Generation of Accountants

A professional headshot of Solek in a gray blazer and white shirt in front of a gray background. Logo for PwC to the left.

Amy Solek, BBA ‘92, has a passion for the accounting profession.

“I think there may be some misguided stereotypes about accounting,” Solek said. “Accounting is at the root of business decisions, and accountants are essential collaborators with the C-suite. Our work shapes all kinds of business strategies.”

Among her many accomplishments as an accountant and Ross School of Business alum, Solek is now the first female chair of the William A. Paton Advisory Board. The Paton Board, which was founded in 1955, serves the school by providing industry advice to faculty, industry connections for students, and oversight of accounting-related scholarships.

Shining a new light on accounting

As the newly appointed board chair, Solek said she wants to build on the board’s track record and further expand student learning and career opportunities. In doing this, she said, “I want to demonstrate just how exciting careers in accounting can be, and I want to inspire students to see accounting in a light they may not have seen before.”

Solek started her career at PwC as an intern and has been with the firm ever since. Today, as the Detroit office managing partner and tax partner, she focuses on tax efficiency, risk mitigation, and helping large multinational companies better understand tax codes for business decision-making. “I truly love my work,” Solek said. “I get to collaborate with leaders across all industries, and I’ve formed deep and trusted relationships with my clients over my career.”

Solek says her passion for tax accounting is rooted at Michigan Ross. “My decision to pursue a focus in tax was inspired by a beloved professor I had at Ross, Carl Griffin,” she says. “I often reflect on how he inspired me and many others to pursue a career in taxation, and I feel so grateful for so many aspects of my education at Ross.”

A circle of learning at Ross

Solek’s gratitude for her Michigan Ross roots and passion for shaping the next generation of accountants motivates her to serve Ross today. 

Together with faculty and other Paton Board members, we are exploring how Ross can push the bounds of accounting education and develop students to meet the demands of the current and future business world.

She says those demands focus primarily on technology. “Automation and AI are rapidly changing the way accountants serve clients, provide advice, and impact strategic decisions. We are increasingly able to leverage data and forecast aspects of accounting that we’ve never been able to forecast before,” Solek said. “The business world needs more smart, talented people to usher in this change. We need people with technical know-how and big-picture thinking to connect dots, innovate, and create new paradigms of work.”

Charting new territory for students

Solek said that business schools must figure out how to develop students to thrive in these domains and that collaborating with faculty and administrators through the Paton Board to imagine new programs, courses, and student experiences is truly a thrill. She is particularly excited about the new concentration in data and analytics in the Michigan Ross Master of Accounting Program and its potential to complement accounting-focused education.

Solek also enjoys shaping students’ understanding of trends in accounting through classroom visits, panel discussions, and conversations during recruitment efforts. “I love talking with students about the enormous opportunities in accounting and the ways we advance work,” she said. “Talking with students and hearing their perspectives is invigorating for me as well. The inspiration goes both ways.”

“In all of my conversations with students, I try to make their interactions with industry meaningful and honest. Because of the emphasis on action-based learning at Michigan Ross, students already have a baseline understanding of the real world. I aim to help students build on this understanding, expose them to new perspectives, and inspire them to pursue careers that will be truly rewarding for them.”

“Through all of my collaborative work on campus,” she said, “I want to enable students to go into the work world ready to hit the ground running and able to contribute at a very high level. I also want them to see that they soon will be steering monumental emerging trends.”

Excited for the future

“Every time I go to campus, I’m energized,” Solek said. “I feel so impressed and heartened by the caliber of everyone I encounter, whether faculty, students, or peer professionals on the Paton Board."

Serving Ross makes me excited about our collective future. We’re creating leaders who will go on to be game changers in the business world.

Documents & Links
Learn more about the Paton Center Learn more about the Master of Accounting