Four years ago, they streamed onto campus as freshmen. Outwardly, they projected confidence, but they really didn't know quite what to expect. They had left behind their old lives to start over. Come summer, you'll find them on the front lines of blue-chip firms like McKinsey, Goldman Sachs and IBM.
They are the top business majors from the Class of 2017.
How impressive is this class? The graduating students shined in their studies, extracurriculars and internships. At Ohio State, nearly every undergrad — all 45,000 of them — has a story about Michael Inman, a force of nature who was named both homecoming king and the business school's top emerging leader.
His prowess could only be matched by Georgetown's Bserat Ghebremicael, a prolific volunteer and club leader ticketed to Google this summer. Grace Lee, the UC Berkeley Leadership Award Scholar and student body president of the Haas Business School Association, intends to break glass ceilings and fight inequality as an investment banker at J.P. Morgan.
Don't mess with the University of Texas' Katherine Magee, a Shaolin Kempo Karate black belt and Bain recruit who is passionate about international trade and global citizenship.
This year, Poets&Quants For Undergrads profiled 100 graduating business majors from 49 of the top business schools in the United States, including Cornell, the University of Virginia, Notre Dame, and Brigham Young University.
Here is just a sample of 10 students who'll someday be making headlines in the business pages (listed in no specific order).
1. Michael Inman - The Ohio State University, Max M. Fisher College of Business
Hometown: Cincinnati, OH
Employer: L'Oreal USA – LUXE Division
Biggest Lesson From Business School: "Leadership is not singularly defined as the person calling the shots. A leader is someone who rallies people to work toward a collective goal and invests in the development and success of the people around them. A good leader enables the work of a team to surpass what is possible from the sum of its individual members."
Administrator Quote: "Everyone knows Michael Inman. At an institution this size, this is no small feat. The mention of his name brings a smile to the face of many. He is that student — he excels in the classroom, is engaged as student leader and gives back to the greater Ohio State and Fisher community."
- Lorraine Pennyman M.Ed.
Assistant Director, Undergraduate Leadership and Engagement
2. Katherine Magee - University of Texas, McCombs School of Business
Hometown: Austin, TX
Employer: Bain & Company
Biggest Lesson From Business School: The biggest lesson I learned from studying business is the importance of teamwork. Through teamwork on difficult problems, we developed better solutions to group projects than I could have thought of individually. Each person brings their own knowledge, experience and ideas to the table. By combining the insights of each team member, we always reached a better solution than any one of us could have alone.
Faculty Quote: "Katherine is a black belt in Shaolin Kempo Karate, so I don't give her any crap. But I do give her my admiration. Her dream job is to run the Gates Foundation and she'd be a good choice because she is as dedicated as any student could be to taking her substantial intelligence, creativity, and drive and putting them to good use making the world a better place."
- Dr. Robert Prentice, Director – Business Honors Program, Professor – Business Law
3. Grace Lee - University of California, Berkeley, Haas School of Business
Hometown: Fremont, CA
Employer: J.P. Morgan
Biggest Lesson From Business School: Everyone, and I mean everyone, has something to bring to the table, but you have to make sure it is open.
Faculty Quote: "Grace Lee is a superb student. Indeed, of the many thousands of students that I have taught over the years, Grace stands out as one of the finest. She is very perceptive, diligent, and immensely likable. Grace is always ready to accept new challenges and works well individually or in a group. Her outgoing and friendly personality, combined with her strong work ethic, earns her both the respect and friendship of her peers."
- Alan Ross
4. Colton Calandrella - Washington University, Olin Business School
Hometown: Colorado Springs, CO
Employer: Teach For America
Biggest Lesson From Business School: If you want to know how people will act, follow the incentives. If you want to change how people will act, change the incentives.
Administrator Quote: He is focused on not only making Olin a better place for our community but for making the St. Louis community a better place for all. Colton has been involved in experiential activities and courses that have allowed him to give back in addition to serving key roles in the school focused on ensuring that Olin remains an inclusive and diverse community."
- Steve Malter
Associate Dean and Director of Undergraduate Programs
5. Casey Gelchion - University of Notre Dame, Mendoza College of Business
Hometown: South Bend, IN
Employer: Pursuing a graduate degree at Notre Dame
Biggest Lesson From Business School: Over these past few years, I have learned about balance sheets, marketing strategies, cost analysis, etc. but the one lesson that looms the largest is the importance of leadership within an organization. Great leaders have a clear vision of their company, as well as the ability to communicate that vision to their team. Great leaders make the difference.
Faculty Quote: "To know Casey is to know that her personality is infectiously positive. She has an enthusiasm for life that breaks down barriers and draws people to her. With all the challenges of the sophomore business curriculum, not once did I see Casey with anything other than a positive attitude."
- Dr. Michael J Meyer
Associate Teaching Professor Department of Accountancy
6. Nabiha Keshwani - Cornell University, Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management
Hometown: New Hyde Park, NY
Biggest Lesson From Business School: Be confident and take risks.
Administrator Quote: "Nabiha was the founding President of DysID, the Dyson Inclusion and Diversity student club. The prime objective of this group is to improve academic and social integration. She was instrumental in establishing an executive board, forming subcommittees and establishing the framework for a sustainable, active organization. The foundation she built will allow the club to continue enhancing the environment for her fellow undergraduate students."
- Cindy Lynn Van Es, Ph.D.
Director for Undergraduate Studies, Director for Business Inclusion and Diversity
7. Bserat Ghebremicael - Georgetown University, McDonough School of Business
Hometown: Las Vegas, NV
Biggest Lesson From Business School: "I've learned to look at my surroundings and the impact of my decisions. With an advancing technological world, more people will most likely lose their jobs to technology. With big companies coming into new areas, it could result in more gentrification. I don't have answers to these huge social issues, but the biggest lesson I've learned is to understand my impact, especially as someone who grew up low income, someone who was affected by these social issues, and someone who will soon be in the middle class."
Administrator Quote: "Bserat Ghebremicael embodies the mission of Georgetown University's McDonough School of Business by serving to create justice where there is injustice. While Bserat excels academically, she also passionately commits hundreds of hours of her time to social justice programs. Bserat is a model McDonough student, in service to business and society."
- Michelle Marie Sheahan, MBA
Associate Director, Undergraduate Program Office
8. Alejandro Mestre - Indiana University, Kelley School of Business
Hometown: Urbana, IL
Employer: Bain & Company
Biggest Lesson From Business School: "Working in team environments is an extremely gratifying experience, and also one that is essential in the business world. I began college preferring to work independently, but I am leaving with a deep appreciation for working, accomplishing goals, and sharing success with others. My satisfaction from working with others is complemented by the fact that the business world — and especially consulting — is all about working in teams to solve complex problems. To that end, I learned that it is incredibly important to surround myself with motivated, intellectual, and caring people."
Faculty Quote: "Over the past two years, I have had the pleasure of teaching Alex in three courses. He was a strong student in each course, combining intelligence, drive, and intellectual curiosity, with the recognition that success need not come at the expense of others. He is humble, has a positive attitude, and personifies a natural disposition to work with others."
- Professor Joel D. Rubin
Clinical Professor of Business Law & Ethics
9. Lindsey Hirt - University of Michigan, Stephen M. Ross School of Business
Hometown: Okemos, MI
Employer: Cardinal Health
Biggest Lesson From Business School: "The biggest lesson I gained from studying business was the importance of being internally driven (knowing yourself, your values and your mission) and being externally focused (focusing on how can I use my strengths and skills to positively impact others.)."
Administrator Quote: "Lindsey Hirt has been an invaluable addition to Michigan Ross's BBA Class of 2017. I've gotten to know her as a highly engaged member of our Ross Leaders Academy (RLA), which is a selective program for 25 of the University of Michigan's leaders and best. She's been a positive force there, and a supportive leader of her team. She's a student of management and organizations with a passion for applying positive psychology to business. She's brought that mindset and tools with her to leadership roles with the Center for Positive Organizations' +Lab, the Michigan Business Women Club, and Michigan Ballroom Dance Team, where she serves as president. She's also a student of social change and community action, with a long-term personal mission to create positive impact in the lives of others. She's certainly started down that path during her time at Ross!"
- Brian Flanagan
Managing Director, Sanger Leadership Center
10. Casey Rhode - Emory University, Goizueta Business School
Hometown: Blue Bell, PA
Employer: Perella Weinberg Partners
Biggest Lesson From Business School: "From studying business, I've learned the value of integrity and forming relationships. By never compromising on my values and treating people accordingly, I have formed more than a network, but a support system for the years to come."
Administrator Quote: "Without fanfare or expectation of recognition, Casey has amassed an astonishing array of accomplishments. I don't think the many faculty who are struck by his intellect and work ethic are aware of how much time he devotes to economic development as CEO of a student organization that raises funds and provides microloans to entrepreneurs in under-served communities. Similarly, I doubt that his varsity track & field and cross country teammates, with whom he trains daily, know that he is finishing three concentrations in finance, strategy and accounting, along with a Spanish major in Emory College...with a perfect 4.0 over his academic career."
- Andrea S. Hershatter
Sr. Associate Dean
Want more? To read in-depth profiles of all 100 graduates, go to Best & Brightest Business Majors of 2017.
Student photos provided by Poets&Quants.