While she was attending Harvard Business School, Dune Thorne thought it curious that an elite university, while teaching the next generation of financial experts how to manage millions of dollars of other people's money, offered no classes on personal finance.

Thorne, now managing director at Silver Bridge Advisors, an independent wealth manager in Boston, also was struck by the fact that, though 40% of her business school was women, men far outnumbered women in her investment management classes.

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