One of the key skills that the M.S. in Commerce Program instills in its students is the ability to identify business opportunities in a given market. Leigha Field (M.S. in Commerce, Finance Track ’12) embraced this mindset when she co-launched Okko, a Philadelphia-based lingerie company founded on the belief that women shouldn’t have to hunt for the perfect undergarments. With Co-Founder Phoebe Kunitomi, the soon-to-be Wharton M.B.A. graduates are disrupting the lingerie industry with their female-empowering products.
Okko (which stands for Our-Kind-of-Knock-Out) believes in providing “a collection of invisible intimate essentials that empowers you to be your most #knockout self—for every occasion and casual moment in between.”
“There was room for a better brand of undergarments for women,” said Field. The company’s creation stems from the perfect combination of two businesswomen wanting to move into the entrepreneurial space and having an actual product need that they both connected with on a personal level. The skills Field learned in the M.S. in Commerce helped bring this idea to fruition.
Field said she decided to pursue the M.S. in Commerce Program because she wanted to transition from economics, which she studied as an undergrad, to a tangible business career. Field credits the course “Strategy & Systems” as a means of gaining a “holistic analytical view of the world.” The ability to look at her business as a whole has helped immensely with the growth of Okko. “In the M.S. in Commerce, you’re not just taking finance courses—you’re taking marketing, accounting, strategy, and analytics,” said Field. “Taken together, they bring to life how everything in business fits together.”
Furthermore, Field credits McIntire for her comfortability with risk taking, something any entrepreneur needs when launching a new business. From running financial models to running a business, McIntire instilled in Field a sense of independence and the confidence to problem-solve on her own.
When asked if she had any advice for current or prospective students, both Field and her partner Kunitomi stressed the importance of building a strong network. Whether from coworkers, professors, or friends, any young businessperson should seek different perspectives. Field specifically credited UVA and McIntire alumni as the foundation to her professional network. Furthermore, she stressed the importance of personal growth. “You should always be reevaluating what you’re learning and what’s important to you,” she said. “If something starts to feel repetitive, that’s when you should look into doing something else.”
On behalf of the McIntire community, we are excited to see what’s next for Okko!