2017 Best & Brightest: Samantha Foulston, Fordham University (Gabelli)

Samantha Foulston

Fordham University, Gabelli School of Business

“Curious, determined, hard-working, team player, athlete, quick to laugh, and occasional victim of blonde moments.”

Fun fact about yourself: I am an identical twin, and all of my sports involve water (swimming, water polo, sailing, and rowing), causing my coach to nickname me the mermaid.

Hometown: After moving around so much, this is hard to answer. I was supposed to be born in England, but arrived in Michigan, then moved to Germany, Michigan, Southern California, Chicago, Kansas City, and now back to Chicago!

High school: Hinsdale Central High School (Hinsdale, IL)

Major: Finance

Minor: Concentration in Value Investing

Favorite Business Courses: Introduction to Value Investing, Healthcare Finance, Behavioral Finance, and The Student Managed Investment Fund (SMIF). My Behavioral Finance and Value Investing classes gave me the tools to identify value plays and to understand how people’s emotions and psychology influence their sometimes irrational decisions. SMIF allowed me to take what I learned in previous classes and apply it in the real world. It was a unique opportunity to collaborate with 27 students to actively manage a $1.4 million, globally balanced portfolio.

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles during College:

Extracurricular Activities:

  • Student Managed Investment Fund (SMIF), Basic Materials Analyst
  • Fordham University Rowing (NCAA Division I)
  • Fordham University Sailing
  • Compass Fellowship

Awards and Honors:

  • Alpha Sigma Nu – Jesuit Honor Society
  • Finance Scholars
  • Phi Kappa Phi
  • Lime Connect Fellowship, Finalist
  • Woolworth Award
  • Dean’s List
  • Boyle Society

Leadership Roles:

  • Teaching Assistant
  • Academic Advisor
  • Tutor

Where have you interned during your college career?

  • Deloitte, Business Risk Advisory Intern, New York, NY
  • Thomson Reuters, Financial and Risk Intern, New York, NY
  • Morgan Stanley, Wealth Management Intern, New York, NY
  • The Concourse Group, Consulting Intern, New York, NY

Describe your dream job: I would like to work with enthusiastic and supportive people striving to deliver optimal results. Furthermore, I want to be empowered to make decisions while also receiving feedback so I can continue to grow. It is important for me to enjoy what I do while making a positive impact.

Which executive or entrepreneur do you most admire: Honestly, I most admire my father. He has been an incredible role model and continues to have a tremendous positive impact on my life. One of the qualities I admire is his ability to understand the small details while always knowing what is important for the big picture. I admire his determination, especially in times of adversity.

He believes in the importance of networking and helping others. Despite a demanding business position, he always finds time to advise people, from college students to peers, as they seek information, career advice, or new opportunities. He believes it is important to develop his team members by helping them grow even if that will lead them to a position outside of his organization.

While his career has always demanded long hours, he consistently made attending family dinners and athletic or school events a priority. With all of our moves, he found ways to make my sister and I feel involved in the process—which is how we found ourselves celebrating our 6th birthday on a transatlantic flight to Germany.

Furthermore, I admire his witty British sense of humor.

What did you enjoy most about majoring in a business-related field? I appreciated having the ability to take so many fascinating classes that covered diverse aspects of business. In many of my classes, there was a sense of applicability to the real world. For example, the Student Managed Investment Fund (SMIF) is unlike any other class at Fordham—students are immersed in the financial markets and have an unparalleled practical and hands-on experience.

Fordham’s cohort-style curriculum, along with the collaborative culture within the business school, created a strong sense of community. Those relationships continued and strengthened through subsequent terms and I am confident they will continue into my working life. The cohort classes were demanding but extremely rewarding. The consulting project was unique and fascinating, and it was exciting to work with a team that was so motivated.

Where would you like to work after graduation? After interning at Deloitte this summer, I was thrilled to be offered a full-time position as a consultant within its Advisory practice.

What are your long-term professional goals? My long-term goal is to become the CFO of an international organization. I would like the opportunity to utilize my understanding of the differences between and challenges of doing business in different countries. To fulfill this goal, I believe it is necessary to push myself and help those around me to grow and develop. Wherever my career takes me, it is important to me that I help play a role in improving the company’s culture.

What advice would you give to a student looking to major in a business-related field?

1) Talk to many different people in a variety of industries and positions; learn about what they do and why they like their job and/or company. There are so many different careers, and you never know what might be a great fit for your strengths and interests. The more interesting you find the opportunity, the more engaged you will be and the better you will do.

2) Start strong your freshman year—study hard, get good grades, and have fun, too. The more focused you are the first year, the easier it is to develop habits that will set you up for future success.

3) When considering a career, follow your passions and choose a path that will utilize your strengths. Pursue a career that YOU are genuinely interested in and that aligns with your skills.

I knew I wanted to major in business…in my home, there were always lively discussions on any and every topic. As a young child, I heard my father discussing business with his father, my mother, friends, and work colleagues. While I initially did not understand much of it, as I grew older, I began to be involved in sharing my opinions, too.

I remember sitting in front of the fireplace talking to my father about recent decisions others had made within his company that did not seem logical to me. I was only in high school, but I felt there were better solutions with fewer risks that they weren’t considering. It was encouraging that my father agreed with me.

After visiting several colleges, I was impressed by the number of Fordham students who had exciting and interesting internships doing actual work in the field. Listening to their enthusiasm as they described their experiences captured my attention and I realized I wanted that type of experience. The excitement of those opportunities confirmed my interest in pursuing a career in business.

“If I didn’t major in business, I would [probably] be…as someone who has both dyslexia and ADD, I would be working to break the stigma surrounding those with learning challenges.”

Before I entered business school, I wish I had known…three things:

1) There are not enough hours each day to do everything. Learning to manage your time is crucial, and, most importantly, sleep is highly underrated!

2) Regarding business, I realized the importance of following the markets and becoming knowledgeable on various topics. In a team environment, I discovered the impact that respectfully challenging and pushing teammates has on strengthening the team as a whole. Furthermore, I learned the importance of having conviction and standing up for something you truly believe in—don’t be afraid to speak up and voice your opinion!

3) Finally, at Fordham we are lucky to have two trading rooms with several Bloomberg terminals. If you have them at your school, get familiar with them from day one. Bloomberg terminals became a staple for me as they really helped me with my classes and developing skills for internships.

What was the happiest moment of your life? For me happiness occurs in many ways; it can be fleeting and elusive or it can be found frequently in simple pleasures. Some of my happiest moments are times spent around or surrounded by my family. My father’s British sense of “humour” is key as he teases us about everything. The lively and challenging discussions we engage in keep things interesting. I believe happiness is a choice and lifestyle, not one moment pinpointed in time.

Which academic, extracurricular or personal achievement are you most proud of? The summer before college, my twin sister and I won the sportsmanship award at the U.S. Junior Women’s Doublehanded Sailing Championship. This is important to me as it was voted on by college sailing coaches and my fellow competitors at the end of a week-long event where everyone lives, trains, and competes together.

Additionally, I am proud of taking on the challenge of changing sports in the middle of my junior year. For over 10 years, I competed in sailing, including being a part of Fordham’s team. The increasing demands of career development were conflicting with team practices and I felt I needed to resign to be fair to my teammates and coach. Being a competitive athlete has given my life balance. It has been a great way to relieve stress, form friendships, and develop effective time-management skills. Recognizing the importance of athletics in my life, I decided to take on a sport about which I knew little. I have since learned: rowing is far more difficult than the three times I had been on an erg; the effortless look is not effortless; and painful blisters and calluses are de rigueur. In spite of the learning curve and challenges, I have absolutely loved it and am thrilled to be doing well. I so appreciate the coaches giving an inexperienced junior the opportunity to join the team.

When most people see Alpha Sigma Nu, it probably won’t mean much to them and they might even think I am in a sorority. However, when my eight-year-old self remembers the struggles dyslexia gave me, it makes being inducted into this national honor society a very special honor. Only a small percentage of students are eligible to apply and inductees are selected by a national board. For me it means even more as it required that I excelled in not just scholarship, but also the Jesuit values of loyalty and service.

What animal would you choose to represent your professional brand? An elephant (not the proverbial “elephant in the room”), given these animals’ problem-solving skills and social intelligence. They are said to be open, decisive, patient, confident, and compassionate.

Who would you most want to thank for your success? Definitely my family! I would not be where I am today without their continuous support and motivation. They have always been there to listen to me, give me advice, or simply chat as I walk to class.

  • My mother, for always stressing the importance of looking at the positive side of things along with her ability to connect with anyone.
  • My father, for his incredibly strong work ethic and sense of humor.
  • My identical twin sister, for challenging me to be the best that I can and always having my back even though we sometimes drive each other nuts.
  • Papa, my grandfather, for listening to anything I had to say for as long as I had to talk.
  • Ana, my grandmother, for attempting to teach me many things, including knitting, even when my ADD would get the best of me.

What would you like your business school peers to say about you after you graduate from this program? I would like them to say that I was honest and hardworking, encouraging and helpful, that I took a genuine interest in those around me, and was able to positively impact them.

Favorite book: The Secret Seven series by Enid Blyton due to the sense of adventure and mystery. Furthermore, these were the first books I enjoyed after my initial struggle with dyslexia.

Favorite movie: It would be a tie between The King’s Speech and Invictus.

Favorite musical performer: I have such an eclectic taste in music, I cannot choose one performer. I enjoy everything from Andrea Bocelli, to Chance the Rapper, to Christmas classics—but only during the holiday season!

Favorite vacation spot: Shaldon, England, a quaint seaside village in the south of England where my dad’s family has vacationed many times. As a kid, it was a place where it seemed as if time stood still as we caught crabs off of the jetty, went swimming, were entertained by Punch & Judy shows, and watched old English lawn bowling.

What are your hobbies? Rowing, sailing, photography, and traveling

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

“Samantha Foulston is an outstanding member of the Gabelli School of Business family and will soon be an alumna of whom I am enormously proud. Samantha was a student in both my Behavioral Finance and the highly selective Student Management Investment Fund courses. In both classes, she was an extraordinary group leader, consistently aligning team members’ skill sets to the overall objectives of class projects. As managing director of the prestigious Student Managed Investment Fund, she led a team of students in managing over $1 million of the University’s funds, which she accomplished by recognizing a great return in turbulent markets.

Over the past four years, I have watched Samantha’s discipline develop as a key member of our very competitive sailing and rowing teams. I’ve noticed her ability to patiently persevere through challenges with an eye on the prize. I’ve recognized her natural talent to create strategic paths toward her goals. I’ve also seen her embrace Fordham University’s mission of doing and being more, being men and women for others, and taking care of the whole person. For these reasons and many others, Samantha Foulston is a shining example of what Fordham University and the Gabelli School of Business are all about.”

Mario J. DiFiore
Assistant Dean and Senior Advisor
Gabelli School of Business, Fordham University


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