2018 Best & Brightest: Sam Benger, Carnegie Mellon (Tepper)

Sam Benger

Carnegie Mellon (Tepper School of Business)

“The mystique of Ron Burgundy coupled with the awkwardness of Michael Scott.”

Fun fact about yourself: I can walk on my hands. Decently enough.

Hometown: Hingham, MA

High School: Hingham High School

Major: Business Administration

Minor: Global Systems and Management

Favorite Business Course: Business Presentations

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles During College:

Football: Team Captain

2x Academic All American, 2x All-American, 2017 William Campbell Trophy Finalist (recognizes top football scholar athlete in the nation), hold 5 school records as Running back.

Community Service

  • I’ve helped run the Special Olympics held on our campus two separate years.
  • Football has also provided a platform for me to mentor some youth in the Pittsburgh area who are battling chronic illnesses. I keep in touch with a few different young men in the area including another juvenile diabetic like myself. We debate sports and it’s a privilege to have those relationships.
  • Also, a small group of teammates and I visited the Pittsburgh Children’s Hospital to help with the Donate Life event, where children who were the recipient of organ transplants celebrated their path back to happy, healthy lives.
  • I’ve also done work in the community leading a student group to do clean up across the city as part of the 1000plus event (1000+ individual hours of community service).
  • This past summer I worked to renovate a dilapidated elementary school as part of Impact Day during my summer internship with Deloitte.


Andrew Carnegie Scholar – “ACS Scholars are undergraduate seniors who embody Carnegie Mellon’s high standards of academic excellence, volunteerism, leadership and involvement in student organizations, athletics or the arts.” They are selected each year by their deans and department heads to represent their class in service and leadership” (CMU Definition of ACS).

Start-Up CMU: Deloitte Start-Up Competition (2nd Place) – Led a team of three to create a networking platform named CMU Connect to facilitate mentorship opportunities between undergraduate and alumni.

Pitt Innovation Challenge (1st Place) – Led team of students to help local business launch new product by leveraging technology to accurately analyze customer preferences.

CMU Qatar Internal Case Competition (2nd Place) – Traveled to CMU’s campus in Doha, Qatar and led team of four students to help a multinational food distributor reposition its product offering to more effectively appeal to distinct customer segments.

Where have you interned during your college career?

State Street Corporation: Global Markets Portfolio Solutions Intern (Boston, MA)

Deloitte: Summer Scholar Business Analyst (Based Pittsburgh, PA, client locations Cedar Rapids, IA and Cleveland, OH)

Where will you be working after graduation? Deloitte: Strategy and Operations Business Analyst (Boston, MA)

Who is your favorite professor? I’ve been fortunate to have had numerous influential professors here at Carnegie Mellon. I have a top three of favorites. Deb Brandon, Lloyd Corder, and Julia Deems. Each professor brought a completely different skillset to the table, but each made me feel appreciated and empowered. They conveyed how what we were learning would translate to the real world beyond the walls of academia. Most importantly, they were understanding and kind, yet challenging.

What did you enjoy most about your business school? The people. From the faculty to my classmates, I was constantly surrounded with a supportive, talented, and exciting group of individuals.

What advice would you give to a student looking to major in a business-related field? Don’t limit yourself. Business as an area of study is a broad, inclusive tool kit that can equip a young person to go forward into a wide array of industries. Going to business school doesn’t mean you have to be a banker or work in financial services. At the same time if that is your passion, more power to you. Seek out opportunities to see what other industries have to offer and don’t settle for the norm.

“If I didn’t major in business, I would be majoring in or studying…I have a lot if interests outside business. So, I can give a top three. Film, as I have always loved and been impacted by movies. Second, medicine, I have juvenile diabetes so sitting across from doctors I have a strong appreciation for what they do and the reassurance they can provide. Finally, architecture as I took a course in architectural history and loved it. Analyzing how a culture or society can be expressed through building form is fascinating.”

What has surprised you most about majoring in business? The places it can take you! I travelled to Doha, Qatar as a junior to participate in a case competition. My senior year, I was able to travel to New York City and was able to meet Peyton Manning as I was selected as a William Campbell Trophy Finalist (in large part due to my academic endeavors at the Tepper School).

Which academic, extracurricular or personal achievement are you most proud of? My junior year, I created a social entrepreneurship competition that pitted student teams against each other in a ‘Shark-Tank’ style setting. The students strived to create innovative solutions to Pittsburgh’s toughest social issues, namely poverty, homelessness, and food shortage. This event started as an idea I had when I was riding the bus home after class one day. Six weeks later I had put together a diverse panel of expert judges, secured funding and guarantees from firms in the incubator space to help the winning team form a real product or service. The goal was to create tangible impact by adjusting the standard business case competition structure and applying it to community issues in Pittsburgh. It was a wonderful learning experience for me and validated that acting on a vision with initiative can be not only gratifying, but impactful on a larger scale.

If you were a dean for a day, what one thing would you change about the business school? I am a big fan of experiential learning and impacting the community. I think I would create a course requirement where students would go into the community and partner with local non-profits and/or charities and do pro-bono project work to benefit the underprivileged and community at large.

Which classmate do you most admire? Can’t say I have a favorite. I am around a lot of great friends in Tepper. The students here are bright, driven, and just all around good people.

Who would you most want to thank for your success? My parents. They’ve been my biggest supporters through the thick and thin. I can’t imagine where I would be without them (literally, ha).

What would your theme song be? “You Make My Dreams” – Hall and Oates. Hall and Oates always puts you in the right state of mind.

What are the top two items on your bucket list?

  • Learn to fly a single prop plane
  • Learn to surf

Favorite book: Where Men Win Glory: The Odyssey of Pat Tillman

Favorite movie: This is just an impossible question. Even if I had to give one for each genre…I will go with Inception, classic Leo.

Favorite vacation spot: Ogunquit, Maine

What are your hobbies? I love seeing movies and really enjoy reading. When were not covered in snow here in Pittsburgh, I’ll go golfing as well.

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

“Sam has excelled in all aspects of the Tepper School and Carnegie Mellon University experience. His academic performance is outstanding, earning University Honors and recognition as an Andrew Carnegie Scholar. His athletic talents and leadership as Team Captain on the football field will long be remembered. His commitment to innovation, leadership and community citizenship as the creator of the 2017 Innovate x PGH Challenge, as a participant in multiple case competitions, and as a 2017 NCAA William V. Campbell finalist defines the Tepper undergraduate experience as a scholar and leader.”

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


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