2017 Best & Brightest: Cameron Stevens, Penn State University (Smeal)

Cameron Stevens

Penn State University (Schreyer Honors College and Smeal College of Business)

“I’m an ordinary guy who has been fortunate to have extraordinary experiences. It’s gone well!”

Fun fact about yourself: I’m an Eagle Scout!

Hometown: Camp Hill, Pennsylvania

High School: Cumberland Valley High School

Major(s): Finance, Economics, and International Politics

Minor: Mandarin Chinese

Favorite Business Courses:

1) Advanced Financial Modeling

2) Security Analysis and Portfolio Management

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles during College:

  • Executive Board Member: Schreyer Honors College Career Development Program
  • Team Leader and Mentor: Honors College Freshman Orientation
  • Research Coordinator: Smeal Center for Global Business Studies
  • Schreyer Honors Scholar
  • Recipient of multiple scholarships for academic merit and travel to Israel and China

Where have you interned during your college career?

  • Goldman Sachs (New York, New York)
    1. Role: Financial Product Control Analyst
    2. Description: Created daily financial reports for senior management including profit and loss statements and balance sheets for a $8B investing and lending business
  • DM Capital (Shenzhen, China)
    1. Role: Market Analyst
    2. Description: While living and working in Shenzhen China for three months, I supported the work of a Chinese activist investment fund by conducting market research.
  • The U.S. Army War College Strategic Studies Institute (Carlisle, Pennsylvania)
    1. Role: Strategic Studies Researcher
    2. Description: Researched and published two papers on pressing issues of international relations between the United States and China.

Describe your dream Job: My ideal job is one in which I can be a valuable source of advice and guidance to a wide range of professionals in a variety of industries. Fortunately, I will be starting in such a position as a Strategy and Operations business analyst with Deloitte Consulting this fall.

Who is your favorite professor: While there have been many memorable and effective professors at Smeal, the one who had the greatest impact on my career here was Dr. Timothy Simin. By providing an intensive but approachable introduction to modern portfolio management theory that often went beyond topics normally taught at the undergraduate level, the course that I took with professor Simin was the bedrock of my advanced financial education. Models that I learned in his class have still been my go-to coursework examples in my recent interviews.

Which executive or entrepreneur do you most admire? I am consistently impressed by the leadership and spirit shown by Elon Musk, best known for being the CEO of both SpaceX and Tesla Motors. I think that the problems and opportunities facing humanity today require bold leadership and cooperation between those in business and engineering. Musk’s acumen in both fields and his willingness to take risks has accelerated progress and innovation in all of the industries he has entered.

 Where would you like to work after graduation? I am very happy to have accepted an offer to work with Deloitte Consulting as a Strategy and Operations business analyst.

What are your long-term professional goals? First and foremost, I’ve promised myself that I will never stop learning. A mentor once recommended that every year I should reflect on how I have developed personally and professionally. That is to say, if you look back and are not convinced that you have learned anything in the past year, it’s time to seek out a new experience.

Most specifically, however, I will be working towards building my experience and knowledge as a strategy and operations consultant. My long-term goal is to become a well-known and sought-after source of effective strategic advice for individuals and companies.

“I knew I wanted to major in business when…I realized that I didn’t just want to work with ideas of economics on a theoretical level. I wanted to learn how businesses actually operate and get involved with the day-to-day operation of the economy. Business acumen demands that you get personally involved with everything that you are learning.”

“If I didn’t major in business, I would be…working to become a Foreign Service officer. I have always been fascinated with international politics and diplomacy, but made the tough decision to follow a path to business. I am very happy with the path that I am on now, but I appreciate that there are many other exciting lives that I might have lived as well.”

“Before I entered business school, I wish I had known…how important it is to maintain healthy personal and professional relationships with friends and colleagues. There definitely is a technical component to success in business, but ultimately any work that will be done in our field will be done in teams. It is very important to make authentic connections with people and to make a name for yourself as somebody who can be relied upon.”

What was the happiest moment of your life? Watching the sun rise over the Great Wall of China after camping next to it for a night while I was over there for my internship was the happiest moment (so far). It was the perfect combination of beautiful scenery and the knowledge that I had done something meaningful with my time as a student.

Which academic, extracurricular or personal achievement are you most proud of? Even though it was a while ago, I am still most proud of the work that I put in when I was younger to get my Eagle Scout award when I was a Boy Scout. The award represented almost 10 years of work that I had put in as a youth. I still highly value the outdoors experiences, community service, and leadership opportunities that I gained over those years.

What animal would you choose to represent your professional brand? As far as personal mascots go, you can’t do much better than the peregrine falcon. It’s the fastest animal in the world, but still possesses the precision and skill to swoop down and catch small prey from hundreds of feet in the air. As a professional, I value my ability to work quickly yet precisely.

Who would you most want to thank for your success? As cliché as it is, I can’t think of anybody more deserving of my thanks than my parents. They have been immensely supportive of the choices I have had to make to get where I am today. Their flexibility, coupled with honest advice and criticism, has given me the confidence to get outside of my comfort zone and grow as a person.

What would you like your business school peers to say about you after you graduate from this program? I would just want them to know that I am somebody who can be relied upon to work hard and to fully deliver on whatever I am working on. I want to be one of the first people who comes to mind when they think of somebody who could do a job well.

Favorite book: 2001: A Space Odyssey by Arthur C. Clarke

Favorite movie: The Lord of the Rings Trilogy

Favorite musical performer: Freddy Mercury

Favorite vacation spot: Turks and Caicos (great SCUBA diving)

What are your hobbies? I play the piano, run, and enjoy reading books about history and economics.  I also enjoy travelling and am continuing to work at improving my Mandarin Chinese proficiency.

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

“Cameron’s passion for learning and for seeking out new experiences has served him well in life and is one of the many reasons why he is a valuable addition to the class of 2017. In the almost two-and-a-half years that we have been working with him, Cameron has used his experience from internships and travel abroad to China, Israel, and the UK to tackle a wide variety of challenging research topics. He has written case studies about the internationalization of the Chinese Yuan, published an op-ed advocating changes to IMF currency policies, and is even currently working on an undergraduate thesis that will analyze the effects of automation on employment in the United States.

In all that Cameron does, it is clear that he is authentically curious and excited to learn as much as he can. With this drive, combined with the courtesy, respect, and gratitude that he has shown to all he has worked with, Cameron certainly has a bright future ahead of him.”

Fariborz Ghadar
William A. Schreyer Professor of Global Management, Policies and Planning and Director of the Center for Global Business Studies
Penn State University, Smeal College of Business

DON’T MISS: THE FULL HONOR ROLL: THE BEST & BRIGHTEST UNDERGRADUATE BUSINESS MAJORS OF 2017