2018 Best & Brightest: Alexandra Furlo, Carnegie Mellon (Tepper)

Alexandra Furlo

Carnegie Mellon (Tepper School of Business)

I pretend I’m not keeping up with the Kardashians, but secretly I am.”

Fun fact about yourself: I have been 5’4” since I was 10, which at one point made me a middle school basketball star.

Hometown: Wilton, CT

High School: Wilton High School

Major: Business Administration-Finance

Minor: Psychology

Favorite Business Course: Financial Statement Analysis – Professor Lewellen really brought the course to life.

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles During College:  

Carnegie Mellon Varsity Soccer Team (four years) – Two-time conference champions and two appearances in the Sweet Sixteen of the NCAA Tournament. Best single season record in the history of the program. Selected as conference all academic player all four years.

Highland Ambassador – Carnegie Mellon University’s alumni association selected me to represent the school to various donors, alumni, VIP guests, and the student body. Responsible for connecting school alumni and peers, as well as leading philanthropy initiatives.

Kappa Alpha Theta – Elected to the positions of Alumnae Engagement Director and Events Director.

Smart Women Securities

Tepper Finance Group – Investment Banking Academy

Chloe + Isabel Jewelry Merchandiser

1000 Plus – Selected as a leader for the service initiative that engages the community to log over 1,000 hours of volunteer service in one day.

Rho Lambda Honors Society

Dean’s List – All semesters

Where have you interned during your college career? After my freshman year, I was a research assistant at Carnegie Mellon University on a project that explored consumer choices at fast food restaurants.

After both my sophomore and junior years, I worked at UBS Investment Bank. I was an Investment Banking Summer Analyst in the Leveraged Finance and Financial Sponsors group. I enjoyed developing the analytical skills necessary to assist with LBO and M&A financing transactions.

Where will you be working after graduation? I’ll work at UBS Investment Bank as a Leveraged Finance and Financial Sponsors Analyst.

Who is your favorite professor? I can’t pick just one, but I will give a few shout outs to the professors who led excellent class lectures, engaged with me personally, and enriched my experience: Deborah Brandon for being an outstanding professor and friend who helped me tackle calculus; Helmut Vogel for making physics entertaining for business students; Stephen Lewellen for assigning challenging valuation projects and being a fantastic mentor; and Ariel Zetlin Jones for being one of the best instructors that I have ever had, and making some of the most difficult economics concepts tangible.

What did you enjoy most about your business school? Tepper has a really strong sense of community. I’ve been able to form relationships with my professors, advisors, peers, and alumni that are far deeper than I expected. It’s also given me an excellent platform to find student mentors, and eventually act as one for the next generation.

What advice would you give to a student looking to major in a business-related field? Don’t underestimate the value of networking, forming relationships in school, and the classes dedicated to soft skills. You need the technical skills, but when everyone has them, the soft skills will make you stand out.

“If I didn’t major in business, I would be majoring in or studying…to be a high school math teacher. My long-term plan is actually to become a high school math teacher when I eventually retire from industry. Growing up, I always felt that a lot of my peers struggled to grasp mathematical concepts early on, which led to disengagement in the subject. I felt the same way until I made myself study more diligently in high school. Eventually I ended up liking the subject, but it took a long time to get there. My goal would be to empower young students to take on quantitative problems, and actually enjoy the process!”

Which academic, extracurricular or personal achievement are you most proud of? I am most proud of earning a spot on a top ten division III soccer team.  I suffer from multiple visual impairments – including a lack of peripheral vision – so achieving this goal took years of dedication and hard work. I made training plans for myself on my off days and sought out every available opportunity to practice with other players. It was beyond gratifying to get an official offer from Carnegie Mellon University, and to realize a dream that I had spent years working for.

If you were a dean for a day, what one thing would you change about the business school? I would introduce a course dedicated to financial modeling in Excel. Sixty percent of Tepper Undergraduates are studying finance. I think the program could greatly benefit from giving students exposure to common Excel functions, shortcuts, and valuation tools that professionals commonly use. Combining the theoretical with the practical is a winning combination.

Which classmate do you most admire? I think this is a difficult question since the student body is extremely diverse and engaged in multiple facets of student life and the community.  For example, my friend Ankita is a computer science and computational biology major, an active member of the activities board, the president of the Panhellenic community, and the president of Project Rwanda. One of the best parts about Carnegie Mellon is that I have so many different classmates that I admire for different reasons.

Who would you most want to thank for your success? I would like to thank my parents for their unwavering support and encouragement in my education and my career goals. Whenever I have struggled to find balance with everything on my plate, they have always been able to provide support and lend an ear, no matter what time of day.

What would your theme song be? A tough rap song like “Humble” by Kendrick Lamar. I think the juxtaposition of a tough rap song playing alongside a short and friendly looking girl is funny.

What are the top two items on your bucket list? That’s easy. I have always wanted to get my MBA, and I have always wanted to own five golden retrievers. Each of the golden retrievers will be a different shade from light to dark, essentially creating the full spectrum of variations. I am also hoping that my post-MBA employer will allow me to bring them all to work.

Favorite book: The Outsiders, Malcom Gladwell

Favorite movie: Hidden Figures

Favorite vacation spot: Palm Beach, Florida

What are your hobbies? Running, cooking, fashion, playing corn hole, baking, playing card games

What made Alexandra such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2018?

“Alexandra’s ambition and leadership drive her to success in and out of the classroom. She excels in every interaction with alumni, classmates, faculty and varsity athletes. She has embraced the Tepper School experience as she sought research and industry experience to inform how she thinks about applying her academic knowledge in the world. Her philanthropic efforts are well-recognized on campus and in the city of Pittsburgh as she leads in the community and on campus.”

Burton Hollifield
PNC Professor of Finance and Head of the Tepper School Undergraduate Business Administration Program


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