2018 Best & Brightest: Silvia Cristina Rivera, Southern Methodist University (Cox)

Silvia Cristina Rivera

Southern Methodist University (Cox)

I’m either a really interesting and intellectually curious human…or just terribly indecisive.”

Fun fact about yourself: I once bumped into George W. Bush (okay, so technically GWB’s body guard, but he was also there) in an SMU hallway on my way to Spanish class. It was early in the morning, and I was very, very confused.

Hometown: Harlingen, Texas and Tuxtla Gutierrez, Mexico

High School(s): The Mathematics and Science Academy, The Science Academy of South Texas

Major(s): General Business, International Studies, Spanish

Favorite Business Course(s): International Finance, Negotiations, Intro to Management

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles During College:

President’s Scholar, BBA Scholar, McLane Scholar, Faith and Learning Scholar

TEDxSMU, Collegiate Consulting Academy (CCA), Study abroad in Chile and Spain

Where have you interned during your college career?

Summer Intern — Alterna Solutions — Seville, Spain

Advisory Intern — EY — Dallas, Texas and Bogotá, Colombia

Research Analyst — Hunt Institute for Engineering and Humanity — Dallas, Texas

Where will you be working after graduation?

Associate Consultant – Bain & Company – Dallas, Texas

Who is your favorite professor? Can’t answer this one—I had too many! I will say that I really enjoyed the diversity of professors in the business school, especially in terms of personal background and professional experience. Each had something unique to bring to the classroom and helped make my learning experience so memorable.

What did you enjoy most about your business school? The general business major was a godsend for me, because it allowed me to explore my interests through a wide variety of courses and still emerge with a single degree. Our career coaches were also incredible resources for when I was ready to start exploring what to do with my interests, especially as a first generation college student. A lot of times I just wanted advice on how to write a certain email or make a call to a recruiter, and they were there for me through all of that.

What advice would you give to a student looking to major in a business-related field? My advice is to work hard, keep an open mind and follow your interests no matter what—a degree in business is what you make of it. If you do those three things I think you’ll find it a really, really rewarding one. Also, the world runs on kindness; so be kind!

“If I didn’t major in business, I would be majoring in or studying…I’d be studying film. It’s something I find myself more and more interested in as time goes on, and one of the biggest lessons I learned in business school is to follow my interests. Still, I wouldn’t give up any of my degrees (I am so glad I had the opportunity to study both liberal arts and business) and wouldn’t change a thing.”

What has surprised you most about majoring in business? What’s surprised me most about majoring in business is that it wasn’t the end of me (just kidding)! I was really worried that a degree in business wouldn’t be for me, but now I know it’s one of the best decisions I could have made in college.

Which academic, extracurricular or personal achievement are you most proud of? The day I signed my full-time offer was probably one of the proudest days of my life. It filled me with so much gratitude for all the help I had along the way.

If you were a dean for a day, what one thing would you change about the business school? I think adding a course on social entrepreneurship or any other course that recognizes and explores the important relationship between business and society would be an incredible addition to the curriculum.

Which classmate do you most admire? I most admire my classmate Terrance Alexander, who just spent the winter break doing microfinance research in Cambodia, and I am so proud of all of his accomplishments. My friends outside of the business school are also pretty accomplished so I have to mention them, too (congrats Jess, Angie and Kenna!)

Who would you most want to thank for your success? I most want to thank everyone who took a chance on me during my time in college, from the moment I stepped on campus up until my last year. The people who selected me for my full-ride scholarship, the people at the SMU Hunt Institute and the people who selected me for my full-time offer are just some of the amazing people who took a chance on me and have changed my life for the better.

…And, of course, also my loving parents. They took the biggest chance of all in raising a family so far from home, and I’ll always be grateful to them for their support.

What would your theme song be? “Come on Eileen” – Dexys Midnight Runners

When I think theme song, I think 80s (thanks, Mom and Dad), and this is one of my favorites. I have so many memories smiling and dancing to this song!

What are the top two items on your bucket list?

  • Learn a third language – ideally Portuguese in Brazil
  • Produce a creative work of my own – be that a short story, a short film or something else – and share it, even if it’s just with friends and family

Favorite book: The Alchemist – Paolo Coelho

Favorite movie: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

Favorite vacation spot: On a beach, anywhere, with friends and family

What are your hobbies? Books, movies, music and adventuring

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

“It’s as if someone made Silvia Rivera in a lab.  She is just fantastic and was an invaluable addition to the Class of 2017 because yes, she’s brilliant and has done just as well at SMU as we expected she would. But she’s also one of the kindest and most good-hearted students we have. She lived her college career to the fullest—doing just about everything you could possibly do here, from clubs and organizations, to studying abroad and really embracing the entire college experience.  Silvia is going to do great things at Bain, and we can’t wait to brag that she’s one of our alums in a few years.”

Jim Bryan
Associate Dean
SMU Cox BBA Program


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