2018 Best & Brightest: Annie Jiang, University of Georgia (Terry)

Annie Jiang

University of Georgia (Terry)

Taurus. ENFJ. House Stark. Slytherin. Fire Bender. District 12. Spends too much time taking Buzzfeed quizzes.”

Fun fact about yourself: I never used the dishwasher until college.

Hometown:  Woodstock, GA

High School: Woodstock High School

Major: Management Information Systems and International Business

Favorite Business Course: Legal Studies, Economic Development of the US, Information Security Management

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles During College:

  • Honors/Awards: Deer Run Fellow, Sea Island Scholar, Presidential Scholar, Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship, Zell Miller Scholarship, APIASF Scholarship, Honors International Scholars Program, Office of International Education Scholarship, Wells Fargo Scholarship, Mary Virginia Terry Scholarship
  • Extracurricular Activities: Redcoat Marching Band, Terry College of Business Ambassador, Society for Management Information Systems (VP of Alumni Relations), Thomas Lay After School Program, AIESEC Global Volunteer, MIS Teaching Assistant

Where have you interned during your college career? KPMG (Atlanta) – IT Audit and Assurance Intern

Where will you be working after graduation? KPMG (Atlanta) – IT Audit and Assurance Associate

Who is your favorite professor? Dr. Mark Huber. He was my professor for the introductory MIS course that all pre-business majors are required to take, and he was the one that made me consider majoring in MIS. He genuinely cares about his students and his doors are always open for us. He is the first person I go to when I need career or life advice.

What did you enjoy most about your business school?The community. Being surrounded by hard-working and driven peers who have encouraged me to be the very best I can be and being taught by phenomenal professors who care about my success and my future—I could not have asked for a better undergraduate experience.

What is the biggest lesson you gained from studying business? Money is neutral in the long run.

What advice would you give to a student looking to major in a business-related field? Find yourself a mentor. There are lessons you cannot learn from simply attending class. These professionals have been in your shoes and most have had their fair share of successes and failures. Mentors can provide not only invaluable advice, but also support and encouragement. It is very important to have someone in your field who trusts you and provides you with opportunities for growth.

And in the future, become a mentor yourself. Give back. Pass on the wealth of knowledge and skills you’ve gained to those who seek it.

“If I didn’t major in business, I would be majoring in or studying…biology. I was drawn to the medical field because of my purpose to help others. However, I realized that I did not have to be a doctor to make a difference in people’s lives.”

What has surprised you most about majoring in business? Business is more about the people rather than the numbers. Number crunching without people skills can only take you so far in the business world. My first majors at UGA were international affairs and economics, but I thought that the more traditional business majors such as accounting and finance were all about managing numbers. I was pleasantly surprised to find professors in my introductory courses stressing the importance of the people involved in business. This people-centered approach to business gave me a new perspective on business.

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? Honestly, myself. For the longest time, I had a very narrow view of business that deterred me from majoring in business. I am a first-generation immigrant, so my knowledge of career options was very limited—the three jobs I knew about were doctor, lawyer, and working at restaurants. Like my parents, all my relatives either own or work at Chinese restaurants so that was the one real job opportunity I knew. I also got roped into the restaurant business at a fairly young age, helping with chores like peeling string beans and making wontons at a relative’s restaurant.

When I was 12, I started working as a hostess and cashier on the weekends and I quickly learned I wanted to do something more with my life. As I got older, I started managing my parents’ restaurant and I associated a business degree with restaurant management. I quickly crossed business off my list of viable majors because I did not want to work at restaurants for the rest of my life. I applied to all my colleges as biology/pre-med, and it wasn’t until the second semester of my senior year of high school when I took AP Macroeconomics that I discovered my love for economics. I chose to attend UGA and quickly changed my major from biology to economics, which is in the Terry College of Business. At Terry, students must apply to be accepted into the business school, and we are all required to take certain introductory courses. I am so thankful I got a chance to explore other majors such as MIS and marketing. It’s funny how life works out.

Which academic, extracurricular or personal achievement are you most proud of? I am most proud of being the first person in my family to pursue my passions. I have been very fortunate to have experienced as much as I have. I am grateful to have parents that have allowed me to pursue my dreams and do what I want to do, unlike many other traditional Chinese families. My parents gave up their passions, so I could pursue mine. Even though we did not have much money, my parents still allowed me to pursue my passion for music by buying me a flute and paying for private lessons.  Even though they wanted me to stay closer to home to help with the family business, my parents still allowed me to attend the University of Georgia.

I am also grateful for all the opportunities UGA has offered me. The scholarships I received combined with my savings from work allowed me to attend college without my parents spending a single dime. With these scholarships, I was also able to pursue my passion of traveling through UGA’s Verona study abroad program. Through Terry, I have been able to attend programs such as the Sea Island Scholars Retreat, in which I spent a weekend on Sea Island with phenomenal women business leaders, and the Deer Run Fellows Program, in which I spent a semester learning about leadership from Dean Ayers and Mr. Doug Ivester, former CEO of Coca-Cola. In May, I will be graduating debt-free from UGA and starting a career with a great company. These are opportunities I never dreamt of and I am so thankful to my parents, UGA, and the Terry College of Business. Here’s to a lifetime of pursuing my passions and giving back.

If you were a dean for a day, what one thing would you change about the business school? I would keep the Business Learning Community open 24/7 so business students could utilize it whenever they need to

Which classmate do you most admire? I don’t simply have one classmate that I admire the most—everyone that I have had the privilege to know and work with is unique. Some are astoundingly intelligent, some are unbelievably kind, and some are remarkably creative, but they are all one-of-a-kind.

Who would you most want to thank for your success? My mom. She is the most hard-working person I know, and she has sacrificed everything for me and my future. My mom could have lived a comfortable life in China, but she chose to come to America. She was the only one to attend school in her family, and she worked extremely hard. She graduated first in her class and went on to become a teacher. When she came to the US, she went from teaching math to working 14-hour days as a waitress. She taught me the value of a dollar, because who knew how many plates she had to carry and how many tables she had to clean for that one dollar. She embodies the characteristics of selflessness, compassion, and dedication better than anyone I know. She took the role of both parents; she works constantly to provide us with necessities; she continually puts my family’s needs before hers. All that I am, or hope to be, I owe to my mom.

What would your theme song be? “The Imperial March”—the most ominous and menacing tune in all of pop culture…a tune that can only signify one thing: Vader. It is absolutely brilliant! I get chills every time I hear those 9 notes. I’m not evil or anything…it’s just really freaking cool.

What my theme song actually would be?

“Don’t Stop Believing” because that’s what I got on a Buzzfeed quiz.

What are the top two items on your bucket list?

  1. Visit all 7 continents and see the 7 wonders of the world
  2. Take my parents on a trip

Favorite book: The Inheritance Cycle series

Favorite movie: Forest Gump. That’s all I have to say about that.

Favorite vacation spot: Cinque Terre

What are your hobbies? Traveling, playing the flute, taking photos, camping, watching college football (GO DAWGS!!!)

 What made Annie such an invaluable member of the Class of 2018?

“Annie Jiang stands out among her peers in the Class of 2018 due to her leadership roles, her commitment to service, and her scholastic achievements.  Annie is an Honors student majoring in Management Information Systems and International Business. In addition to holding numerous scholarships, including the Mary Virginia Terry Scholarship, Annie has been selected into the prestigious Deer Run Fellows program, and Sea Island Scholars Program. She plays piccolo for UGA’s Redcoat Marching Band, and has been a Terry College Ambassador for two years.  Annie has studied aboard in Verona, Italy, and is currently abroad volunteering in Casablanca, Morocco.  She served a teaching assistant in the MIS department, and held an internship at KPMG as an IT Advisory Intern, where she’s been offered a full-time position after graduation.”

Kyla Sterling
Undergraduate Student Services & Corporate Relations
Assistant Director of Student Engagement


Questions about this article? Email us or leave a comment below.