2017 Best & Brightest: Allana A. Nelson, Babson College

Allana A. Nelson

Babson College

“I have the energy and warmth as that of my island of Jamaica.”

Fun fact about yourself: I have attended a total of 10 schools between Jamaican and the United States.

Hometown: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (but born and raised in Kingston, Jamaica)

High School: Julia R. Masterman High School

Major: Accounting

Minor: Legal Studies

Favorite Business Courses: Business Law

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles During College:

  1. Dean’s List
  2. Student Government Association, previous Senator Class of 2017 and current Vice President of Finance
  3. Black Student Union, previous Vice President and current Black Affinity Conference Student Chair
  4. Office of Diversity & Inclusion, Student Associate
  5. Student member and Scholarship Recipient of National Association of Black Accountant (NABA)
  6. Student member and Scholarship Recipient of National Association of the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)

Where have you interned during your college career? Ernst & Young in Boston, MA. Lee, Clarke, Chang Chartered Accountants in Kingston, Jamaica.

Describe your dream Job: My dream job is to be a forensic accountant, who travels to clients around the world based on their demand in order to protect investors and maintain fair and orderly markets.

It is my aim to climb the ranks at any firm I decide to join, while gaining the knowledge and skills of a great leader. It is important that there is an emphasis on diversity and inclusion, which I intend to push at whichever firm I decide to join. An important component of my career goal is promoting outreach programs to neighboring communities.My biggest career goal is to become the CFO of a private company with an emphasis in corporate social responsibility.

Who is your favorite professorMy favorite professor is William Coyle, who has been my professor for three courses in my undergraduate career and is expected to teach me again, once I start my Master’s program. Although he taught me three seemingly different courses including Introduction to Accounting, Auditing, and Business Environment in Russia, he was equally as passionate teaching each, and often made reference to those other courses as an anecdotal effect. His passion to teach is truly motivational, and inspired me to learn about a wider range of business in other cultures. This eventually led me to participate in BRIC: The Cornerstone of the New Global Economy Abroad — a Babson program through which I travelled to BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India, and China) to learn about the business cultures of these emerging economies.

What did you enjoy most about majoring in a business-related field? In this day and age, a lot of actions are driven by the desire for wealth and success. With this in mind, majoring in a business-related field allows me to see the most efficient and cost effective ways of achieving one’s goals in any industry, from education to health to entertainment. Majoring in business provides me with a skill that is transferable to any industry, and it allows me to understand and converse with people from many different personal and professional backgrounds.

Where would you like to work after graduation? Auditor at Ernst & Young

What are your long-term professional goals? I would like to return to my home country of Jamaica, and work in the Ministry of Finance or any governmental position, where I can impact the country’s financial stability. More importantly, this would allow me to give back to Jamaica’s underserved population that faces poverty.

What advice would you give to a student looking to major in a business-related field? Don’t limit yourself to pursuing traditional business-related career paths with the aim of simply getting rich. You can never truly be happy if you only pursue money. Find something you are passionate about, and consider incorporating your business knowledge in order to benefit from that passion. Business can be applied in any field.

“I knew I wanted to major in business when…I found myself continuously asking my parents what was the cost of an item I wanted, followed by how much did it cost to make it.”

“If I didn’t major in business, I would be…majoring in political science.”

“Before I entered business school, I wish I had known…that the likes of business and numbers can lead to great financial success, and often guarantee you a job post-graduation. However, it is important to not shy away from liberal arts courses, as they enhance critical thinking and communication skills, which makes for a more effective and eloquent business professional.”

What was the happiest moment of your life? The happiest moment in my life, is one that I found to be the most impactful as well. It was in July 2011, during the NAACP National Convention in Los Angeles, where I volunteered at The Midnight Mission, a shelter which takes the homeless people off Skid Row and re-establishes them again as useful and self-respecting citizens. During my time volunteering, I was tasked with taking and completing orders to help clothe the homeless. During this time, I interacted with a number of homeless people and took the time to listen to their stories. After they informed me of the items that were needed, I did my due diligence to ensure they received exactly what they wanted in regards to color and size. It brought me warmth to see the smiles on their faces once I returned with the items they requested. I often feel this way after volunteering or helping those less fortunate than I, but of all the volunteer events I have participated in, this one brought me the most joy, because I knew that I truly made a difference in someone else’s life.

Which academic, extracurricular or personal achievement are you most proud of? It would be getting accepted to Babson’s Masters of Science in Accounting program, which I will be completing simultaneously with my undergraduate studies in my spring 2017 semester.

What animal would you choose to represent your professional brand? I would choose a squirrel to represent my professional brand. Although small in size, squirrels are very clever, persistent, and adaptable. One quality of mine, that I pride myself in is my persistence despite any obstacles. Once I put my mind to something, I will not quit until this task is complete. After living in two countries, and attending 10 different schools, it is now my innate nature to adapt to my surroundings and the many people that I meet of differing race, gender, religion and nationality.

Who would you most want to thank for your success? I attribute much of my success to Babson College and the opportunities that I have received at this school.

In particular, I have to thank Dr. Sadie Burton-Goss, Babson’s Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer, who recruited me to attend Babson College. She organized my first visit to the campus during in my senior year of high school, at which point I immediately fell in love with the people and the campus — not just for its aesthetics, but also for the warm welcome I received from current students, faculty, and staff. Once I committed to the college, Sadie mentored me and continued to support me in all of my academic and extracurricular activities, in and out of school.

What would you like your business school peers to say about you after you graduate from this program?  She believed that everyone could achieve what they put their mind to, and cared about uplifting and motivating her peers despite any obstacles they may be facing.

Favorite book: Kindred by Octavia Butler (1979)

Favorite movie: Akeelah and the Bee

Favorite musical performer: Michael Jackson

Favorite vacation spot: Ocho Rios, St. Ann, Jamaica

What are your hobbies? I enjoy travelling to immerse myself in other cultures. I also enjoy listening to music and watching television.

What made Allana such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2017?

“Allana Nelson is a standout senior at Babson College in the classroom and across campus. She is bright, compassionate, funny, and hardworking which makes her the consummate consensus builder which will serve her well as a leader in the months and years in her life after Babson.

Originally from Jamaica, Allana made friends across campus and from varied student groups, including student athletes, international students, Greeks, student tovernment, and the Black Student Union. She has contributed greatly to our community by being one of those students who can get along with so many different groups of students, and this has been meaningful in her work as a Student Ambassador for the Office of Diversity & Inclusion. Her engagement first as a Senator and then as the current Vice President of Finance for the Student Government has meant our diverse student body has had a trusted and respected peer to go to when seeking funding for important student initiatives. Allana was intentional in seeking out this leadership opportunity as it allows her to provide funding to clubs and organizations for events they are passionate about and that benefit our community as a whole.

Faculty members describe her as always prepared, engaged and enthusiastic about learning, and a leader who is respected by her peers. It is in this capacity that I met Allana last fall as she requested funding to take a group of students to the National Association of Black Accountants (NABA) Conference. While Babson College was willing to fund juniors and seniors interested in this opportunity, Allana advocated for first-year and sophomore students of color and expressed the importance to this group in experiencing professional conference experiences early in their academic career and with other students of color. She promised to lead the group, and that she did. Allana not only secured the funding for the experience for 10 students to accompany her, but she outlined expectations of professional dress and conduct at the conference. And for the younger students without proper conference attire, she planned a shopping excursion where she helped advise on appropriate conference dress. This is classic Allana, equally invested in the success of others as she is in her own success.  Allana works hard at Babson—not only to reach her academic and career goals, but also to inspire others to reach higher, work harder, and give more. She is an invaluable student to the Class of 2017 as a role model, a student leader across groups, and as a shining example of passion and hard work for diversity and inclusion at Babson.

Allana will earn her Bachelor of Science (BS) in May, with concentrations in Accounting and Legal Studies. She is currently dual enrolled at the College in the Masters of Science in Accounting program. She is a candidate for the Master of Science in Accounting (MSA) degree in August 2017, after which she will begin full time employment from Ernst & Young in the assurance service line. Allana’s short term goal is to become a forensic accountant. One day, she hopes to be the CFO of a private company with a focus on corporate social responsibility, while giving back to the underserved population of Jamaica.  If the last four year are any indicator, there is no doubt she will achieve this and then some.”

Ian Lapp, PhD
Dean of the Undergraduate School
Babson College