2018 Best & Brightest: Ana Sofia Brown, Boston University (Questrom)

Ana Sofia Brown

Boston University (Questrom)

“I’m like a gold tooth. I don’t quite fit in with the rest, but you can’t eat an apple without me.”

Fun fact about yourself: I love sending hand-written cards. I know, I’m crazy for still using snail mail, but there is something excited about receiving actual letters in the mail.

Hometown: Dallas, TX

High School: Ursuline Academy of Dallas

Major: BSBA, concentrating in Management Information Systems and Operations and Technology Management

Minor: N/A

Favorite Business Course: My favorite course was an Organizational Behaviors class called The Dynamics of Leading Organizations with Hutch Hutchinson because it was fascinating to learn about all of the ways a company can change an environment to exact certain kinds of behavior.

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles During College: Student Advisor for the Orientation Office; Member of the Honors Program in Questrom; Resident Assistant for Residence Life; Teaching Assistant for International Field Seminar; Mentor for College AppAssist, Volunteer for Alternative Service Break with the Cumberland Trails Conference in Tennessee; Intramural Volleyball Player; Member of Beta Gamma Sigma; and Scarlet Key Recipient

Where have you interned during your college career? Self Employed Woman’s Association- RUDI | Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India | Analyst; AT&T | Dallas, TX | Technology Development Program- Software Development | Business Manager Intern

Where will you be working after graduation? AT&T, Associate Business Manager

Who is your favorite professor? It’s so hard to pick from all of the amazing professors I have had at Boston University but if you had to twist my arm, I would say David Randall from the Law Department, primarily because he gives the best book recommendations. Just kidding (sort of)! But truly, he is an incredible professor who has a knack for engaging students in discussions and making them see from a perspective they may not have previously considered.

What is the biggest lesson you gained from studying business? I think the most important lesson I learned is that business can be about creating value for others. It’s not just about being selfish and making money, a commonly misconstrued stereotype of business students.

What advice would you give to a student looking to major in a business-related field? Follow what you are passion about. If that takes you in to business, great, and if not, that’s ok too. Don’t feel pressured to go to business school if it’s not what you are excited about. I think one of the most powerful things you can realize is that you don’t have to pursue any particular field of study; take the time to figure out what you want to study.

“If I didn’t major in business, I would be majoring in or studying…Computer Science because I like the logical and methodical way they apply what they know to every situation and problem.”

Which academic, extracurricular or personal achievement are you most proud of? The thing I am proudest of regarding my college career has been the incredible relationships I have built with those around me. Not only have I found fellow students who push me to be better, but I also have professors, faculty and staff who are some of my strongest supporters and who I will continue to stay in contact with even after I graduate. I think that I am extremely lucky to count these people as friends.

If you were a dean for a day, what one thing would you change about the business school? I would want to effect a change on the culture of Questrom. One of the things that I admire most about the engineering school is the level of willing collaboration there is amongst students. Despite all of the incredible, dynamic team projects we have in Questrom, there is a competitive edge that stops people from helping others succeed. I recognize that culture is a difficult thing to change, especially when approaching the issue from the top down, but I think that this is a change that would elevate our school even farther. I would also like change the doors at the entrance of Questrom! (They are oddly difficult to open because of the way they are hinged.)

Which classmate do you most admire? I admire the student who is willing to speak their mind no matter the consequences.

Who would you most want to thank for your success? I am a product of the interactions I have had with those around me so there are many people that I should thank for making me who I am today. But I would like to give a special shout out to my dad, who has been my biggest fan. He went to all of my basketball games and always encouraged me to be a better version of myself. Thanks for being the best dad ever.

What would your theme song be? “I’ll Make a Man out of You” from Mulan. This song is about finding yourself and realizing where your strengths lie. I love these two lines:

“Tranquil as a forest but on fire within,
Once you find your center, you are sure to win.”

What are the top two items on your bucket list? I want to go camping in a Certified International Dark Sky Park so I can see the stars without light pollution. I also want to go kayaking on the Charles River in Boston before I graduate (sometimes the best adventures have been in your backyard for the past four years).

Favorite book: This is such a difficult question to answer, but right now I would say my favorite book is The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown. It’s an incredible story and a compelling read even if you already know the outcome of the 1936 Olympics in Berlin.

Favorite movie: Dead Poet’s Society

Favorite vacation spot: My grandparents flower farm in Ecuador.

What are your hobbies?  Reading, hiking, crafts, and socializing!

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

“Ana Sofia Brown is extraordinary. She is the rare business student who excels at knowing how, yet never stops asking why.

Sofia’s intelligence and academic achievements are only part of her excellence. During our first serious out-of-class conversation in October 2015, Sofia asked whether a business education was the right choice for her. She was endeavoring to connect Questrom’s practical coursework with her aspirations to engage with timeless questions about work, life, and purpose. I suggested ways to approach her dilemma, and encouraged her to follow her quest wherever it might lead. It is our great fortune that Sofia remained at Questrom, striving still to connect the quotidian with the timeless.

As our October conversation developed over the ensuing months and years, we attained an unusual parity for instructor and student. Often I have sought Sofia’s perspective and advice on curriculum development, classroom management, assignments, student attitudes, classroom culture, and other aspects of teaching. Seeking a trusted student’s advice is not uncommon. I’ve done so dozens of times over the past two decades. Sofia, however, delivers her advice with unique directness and candor. Her preternatural maturity gives her comments unusual weight and value. She is respectful, but pulls no punches. Indeed, I consider Sofia to be more colleague than student—consideration she has earned just be being who she is.

Sofia is a lively, personable, fun young woman, and an old soul. She is keenly sensitive to everything and everyone around her, and hard-wired to lead. During the Honors Program International Field Seminar trip to Chile in May 2016, Sofia looked out for all of us—fellow students, faculty, and staff—as we crossed streets, exited elevators, opened doors, engaged in company visits, and enjoyed cultural activities. Her success as a dormitory Resident Advisor is not surprising. She has the gravitas to oversee a floor of freshman, and the approachability to be a resource for their everyday concerns.

Sofia is natural, unaffected, and unpretentious, with no airs. If she had a large ego, one might excuse her because she has accomplished so much, yet she does not crave the spotlight. Sofia is confident, not cocky. Self-assured, not self-aggrandizing. Among the top 1% of the top 1%—but she would blush at the compliment.

It is difficult to distinguish among all-time best students. Each occupies a spot on the list for a different combination of strengths. Nevertheless, Sofia ranks among the top five of the many thousands of students I have taught in my career.”

David Randall
Master Lecturer
Markets, Public Policy, & Law Department



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