2018 Best & Brightest: Olivia Hartjen, Texas Christian University (Neeley)

Olivia Hartjen        

Texas Christian University (Neeley)

“A goofy, Jesus-loving human who wants to have a bulldog named Arby.”

Fun fact about yourself: I have been to 18 countries, 16 of which were last year.

Hometown: Pleasanton, California

High School: Foothill High School

Major: Marketing

Minor: None

Favorite Business Course: Legal Environment of Business. This was the class that first got me thinking about a law career.

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles During College:

  • Neeley Fellows honors business program
  • TCU Scholar
  • Neeley Heritage Scholarship recipient
  • Frog Camp Facilitator for incoming TCU students
  • Paradox Church City Group Leader
  • Jail Advocate with The NET FW
  • KLife Leader
  • Adera Foundation intern in Ethiopia

Where have you interned during your college career?

  • The Adera Foundation, Social Entrepreneurship Intern, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and Fort Worth, Texas
  • The NET Fort Worth, Paid Program Intern, Fort Worth, Texas

Where will you be working after graduation? I plan to attend law school in the fall. I haven’t chosen a school yet.

Who is your favorite professor? My favorite professor at TCU Neeley would have to be Dr. Robert Rhodes, professor of professional practice in law. His teaching style, combined with his individualized attention and encouragement of his students, largely influenced my decision to attend law school. He has been my largest academic supporter here at TCU.

What did you enjoy most about your business school? The best part about the TCU Neeley School would have to be my classmates. I learn so much from engaging class discussions, hearing about classmates’ experiences and passions, and getting to go through the business school experience with them. I really do go to school with the best people!

What is the biggest lesson you gained from studying business? The biggest lesson I’ve gained from studying business is that businesses should be – and are – in business to do a lot more than make a profit. From social enterprises to community engagement programs, there are many businesses pioneering the idea of not only giving back to the community, but being a healthy member of it.

“If I didn’t major in business, I would be majoring in or studying…criminal justice. Because that’s what I’ll be pursuing in my next degree.”

What has surprised you most about majoring in business? The most surprising thing I’ve learned as a business major is how useful all of the concepts are that I’m learning, even though I won’t be directly pursuing a business career. I have gained skills that are transferrable to any job. 

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? My dad most influenced my decision to pursue a business degree. He works in marketing and public relations, and seeing how fun his work is, I wanted to have a piece of the action!

Which academic, extracurricular or personal achievement are you most proud of? Interning with The NET has been the most incredible experience. It facilitated my friendships with people experiencing homelessness and women who have been commercially sexually exploited. I am proud of the ways in which The NET has grown to serve more people in our community, and my involvement has been the experience that has had the biggest impact on me during my college career.

If you were a dean for a day, what one thing would you change about the business school? If I were a dean for the day, I would create a class that is taught solely by local entrepreneurs who would come as guest lecturers each week. This way, students would be exposed to the various kinds of businesses and strategies that are available beyond the classroom. And it would just be fun to have a new teacher each class session.

Which classmate do you most admire? The classmate I most admire is my study buddy / best friend Catherine McSweeney. Her love for learning is contagious, and she has pushed me to be a better student every day since we first met the fall of my sophomore year. I wouldn’t have wanted to do business school or life with anyone else!

Who would you most want to thank for your success? I have to thank Jesus for any successes I have, because I truly cannot do anything without Him.

What would your theme song be? “Castle on the Hill,” because this is the song I listened to most when I was abroad and it reminds me of some of my favorite memories.

What are the top two items on your bucket list? 1) Own and operate a pub in Ireland with my parents and 2) Ride an elephant in Thailand.

Favorite book: Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson. It is the most impactful book I have ever read.

Favorite movie: Legally Blonde. Cheesy I know but Elle gets me stoked about law school!

Favorite vacation spot: Santorini, Greece – the absolute BEST sunsets.

What are your hobbies? Traveling, hot yoga, reading just about anything, tagging people in memes, trying new kinds of food, drinking coffee.

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

“Olivia’s passion and enthusiasm for leveraging her personal strengths and business skills to have impact in the global and local community is contagious. She not only focused her time at TCU and the Neeley School of Business to help others, but is planning to pursue a law degree so she can pursue justice for marginalized individuals. I have the utmost respect and admiration for Olivia’s commitment to leveraging her incredible talents to do good in the world and advocate for people who are not necessarily able to advocate for themselves.”

Meg Lehman
Director, Neeley Fellows
(Olivia is a member of the Neeley Fellows honors program)

“Oliva is an invaluable, authentic, genuine addition to TCU because she loves deeply and still develops clear directives and strategies to help those whom she serves. She is not only a leader of others, but more importantly, engages us in the stories of people’s lives, making them real and relatable. Olivia remembers the forgotten ones of society. Her authenticity is what bridges the need gap and helps her gain the trust of her clients, managers, teachers, and friends. Because she maintains her authentic self while absorbing all that TCU Neeley has to offer, she infected our organization and made us a little bit better because of it.”

Susan Sledge
Former Employer Relationship Manager
TCU, Neeley School of Business

(Susan managed the Adera internships and traveled to Ethiopia with Olivia and the other interns. As of January 2018, Susan is Director, BNSF Neeley Leadership Program)

“Olivia was an outstanding student in my class, made even more notable by the fact that her peers were among the most academically gifted in the school. Even so, I will likely remember Olivia more for her unwaveringly bright spirit, and for her heart-felt commitment to live her life in service to others.”

Rob Rhodes
Professor of Professional Practice in Law
TCU, Neeley School of Business



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