2019 Best & Brightest: Adam Kershner, Babson College

Adam Kershner

Babson College

Hyper-organized, aviation-obsessed swimmer with a constant enthusiasm for learning.”

Fun fact about yourself: I have a bit of a photographic memory: it allows me to memorize flight schedules, the font style on the back of the airplane tray table, and our swim practices, so when our coach writes a set on the board I immediately recall if (and when) we’ve done it before.

Hometown: Scottsdale, AZ

High School: Desert Mountain High School

Major: Business Administration

Minor: N/A

Favorite Business Course: ASM3300 Strategic Problem Solving, because it opened my eyes to the world of consulting (and subsequently, MOB4572 Management Consulting)

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles During College:

Captain: Varsity Swim & Dive Team (2015-2019; captain in 2018-2019 season)

Lead Mentor: Foundations of Management & Entrepreneurship (FME) (Sept. 2016-May2018)

Research & Teaching Assistant: Business Analytics & Operations Management – Prof. George Recck (2016-present)

Admission Fellow: Office of Undergraduate Admission (Summers 2016 & 2017)

Manager: Math Resource Center (September 2016-October 2018; manager 2017-2018)

Lead Swim Meet Technician: Babson Athletics (October 2015-present)


  • Presidential Scholar (Awarded by Babson)
  • AICPA National Accounting Scholarship
  • MSCPA Massachusetts Accounting Scholarship
  • FEI Finance & Accounting Scholarship
  • Rotary Scholarship for Business
  • Michael Sainovich Memorial Award (Awarded by Babson)
  • Dean’s List – all semesters
  • Beta Gamma Sigma Business Honors Society
  • Two-time NEWMAC Academic All-Conference Honoree
  • Two-time Quantitative Methods Award recipient for high performance in business analytics courses
  • Conlon Award to recognize writing excellence as a first-year student
  • Sophomore Leadership Community

Where have you interned during your college career? I spent the summers after my freshman and sophomore years as an Admission Fellow for the Office of Undergraduate Admission at Babson. In this role, I provided daily tours and information sessions to groups of up to 100 guests, conducted evaluative interviews for prospective students, and worked on a number of projects to assist the Admission Office in achieving its strategic goals.

In the summer after my junior year, I interned with Ernst & Young (EY) in its Assurance practice in Chicago. I chose to intern in Chicago because of my passion for the airline industry and because United Airlines is headquartered there. I was fortunate enough to work on the United Airlines audit engagement for the duration of my internship.

Where will you be working after graduation? I will be working in consulting at EY in its Transaction Advisory Services (TAS) group. I will be based in Boston.

Who is your favorite professor? I simply cannot choose one. Babson has too many exceptional professors! In chronological order of my four years at Babson, I would highlight George Recck for being not only an excellent analytics professor and supervisor, but also a personal mentor and friend; Bob Halsey for making me love my accounting courses; Shay Blanchette (another accounting professor) for doing everything she could to help me professionally; Mary O’Donoghue for bringing my writing abilities to a new level; Dennis Mathaisel for being one of the most caring professors I have ever met and for his deep investment in my learning; Kerry Rourke for opening my mind to so many new areas of thought, further developing my writing, and for becoming a personal mentor; and both Jonathan Sims and Bret Bero for helping me realize that consulting is the right career path for me and for their personal investment in my development. I know I’m supposed to pick one professor, but when I’ve had so many amazing ones, it’s too difficult. I’m already leaving out so many other great professors from this selective list.

What did you enjoy most about your business school? Babson is the perfect blend of a business school and a small liberal arts college in the heart of New England. I was able to study business and follow my professional goals while also taking unbelievably interesting liberal arts courses that have been some of my favorite classes at Babson. I’ve developed a personal relationship with every single one of my professors, with school administration, with Chartwells employees in our dining facilities, with athletics administrators and staff beyond just my own coaches, and with facilities workers. None of that would have happened so easily elsewhere; Babson is a special place, and its size and structure gave me a rich college experience that I will never forget.

What advice would you give to a student looking to major in a business-related field? I have absolutely loved majoring in business, but my advice is not to specialize too much and cut everything else out. Part of why I enjoyed my business education so much was because of Babson’s well-rounded curriculum. While I was able to focus my studies in an area that interests me, I was also forced to continue exploring other areas of business, from the beginning of my freshman year and well into my senior year. This enabled me to easily finish my degree with no last-minute panic when I realized going into my senior year that accounting wasn’t the right career path for me. Beyond a well-rounded business education, maintaining the liberal arts component was incredibly valuable. Some of my most memorable courses and professors are from the liberal arts. So, a business education is great, but don’t forget the value of everything else, too. Strive to achieve the right balance.

What has surprised you most about majoring in business? How broad business can be. Going into business school, you hear about the classic career paths like finance, consulting, accounting, and marketing. And those are the paths I’ve pursued, from my accounting internship to my consulting job after graduation. However, there are so many things one can do with a business degree. At Babson especially, being an entrepreneurial school that encourages students to push the envelope, it’s been mind-opening to see all of the different things students do with their degrees and how they make them useful, even outside the world of business.

“If I didn’t major in business, I would be majoring in or studying… Mathematics. I used to love doing calculus homework; in fact, in high school, I’d save my calculus work for the end of the night and get all of my other work out of the way first because it gave me something to look forward to at the end of the night. In my Financial Simulation course at Babson, we got into some pretty complex mathematical derivations, and I found those class sessions to be enthralling. I love math and the intellectual stimulation that comes from it.

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? Probably a combination of myself and the backgrounds of my professional role models. My lifelong dream has been to one day be the CEO of a major airline (hopefully United). So, as a teenager, I read about Gordon Bethune, Jeff Smisek, and Oscar Munoz. I also knew that what fascinates me about airlines is the behind-the-scenes business environment (rather than flying), so studying business felt like a logical fit since I knew that’s where I wanted to end up.

Which academic, extracurricular or personal achievement are you most proud of? My participation (and eventual role as Captain in my senior year) on the Varsity Swim & Dive Team at Babson. While I swam for most of my childhood, I did not swim in high school and accordingly had no intention of participating in varsity athletics in college (nor did I have the skill after four years off!). On my red-eye flight to Babson to move in as a freshman, I remember thinking to myself that I missed swimming but hadn’t vocalized this feeling to anyone yet. On a whim, I went to meet with the coach during my orientation weekend before classes began, and he encouraged me to walk on to the team given my previous swimming background. It took me three months to even be able to make the intervals and keep up with the rest of the team, but I stuck with it. We’ve had a new coach since my sophomore year, and under her coaching I have regained much of the form I lost in high school.

So, ability wise, I’m pleased with my swimming, but what I’m most proud of is that I walked on to the team and ground it out. I’m typically fairly reserved in group settings until I become comfortable with my surroundings, and needless to say, as the newest walk-on to a varsity swim team who was unable to keep up with the rest of the team in practice, I did not feel immediately comfortable. It was a bit of a personal challenge to myself to find a way to bond with the rest of the team so that I could open up, and I did. Looking back, being on the swim team has defined my college experience, and I can’t imagine it any other way. As captain this year, I often feel like I live and breathe swimming, and the fact that I not only joined the team but grew into a significant leadership role is a strong source of personal pride.

Which classmate do you most admire? Amanda Kastner. She is one of my closest friends at Babson, and we met by chance before starting at Babson during our scholarship interviews. Our paths at Babson have crossed many times both in and out of the classroom, and we are both going into consulting after graduation. However, while we may be similar students on paper, we are wholly different people and yet amazing friends. I admire how much she has succeeded both in the classroom and outside of it, crafting her own path and building one of the strongest reputations on campus. She is a constant source of enthusiasm and positivity, and I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone who doesn’t like her. I admire her ability to get along with everybody and to build strong relationships with so many different groups of people.

Who would you most want to thank for your success? I would like to thank the Office of Undergraduate Admission collectively for taking a chance on me. Specifically, Tommaso Canetta (who no longer works at Babson but who admitted me to the school), Hannah Moriggi, and Courtney Leahy, for their continued investment in my personal and academic development. Without their confidence in my abilities by awarding me the Presidential Scholarship, my attendance at Babson would not have been possible, and who knows where I would be today. Words cannot express my gratitude to them and to the entire Admission office for being my family away from home.

What are the top two items on your bucket list?

  1. Fly on every aircraft type in United’s fleet. So far I’m at 12 out of 20.
  2. Become a college professor after I retire from my professional career.

What are your hobbies? I’ve mentioned my obsession with the airline industry, but more broadly, I’m very interested in transportation. I enjoy researching and memorizing flight schedules, light rail networks, etc. One of my favorite games ever is called Bus Driver, in which I get to act as a bus driver and follow traffic rules en route to safely transporting passengers. During my internship in Chicago, I successfully rode on every line on the ‘L’ train to see the differences in the train types and also to see more of the city.

I am also a huge baseball fan, and follow Major League Baseball very closely. I grew up in Cleveland, so the Indians are my home team, and I try to watch as many of their games as possible. I’ve also adopted the Red Sox after going to college in Boston, so now I have two teams to follow. I enjoy reading about statistics across the league and watching the evolution of the sport.

Lastly, and I know this one is crazy, I really enjoy writing syllabi and planning courses in Blackboard. Part of that stems from my obsession with fonts and how much I enjoy formatting documents and PowerPoints. Throughout high school and college, I’ve written several syllabi for fun, and during my time at Babson I’ve re-designed two of our core undergraduate syllabi (Operations Management and Quantitative Methods for Business Analytics I). It’s always fun to look at a friend’s syllabus and know that I wrote it. In my final semester, I’m teaching a course about the airline industry, and getting to write my own syllabus and build my own Blackboard site for a course I’m actually teaching was a pretty cool highlight.

What made Adam such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2019?  

“Adam’s excellence is contagious in the best of ways; he makes everyone around him better!  He has been at the top of his class academically from start to finish and all along the way he has lifted others up through his work as a math tutor, a peer mentor in our flagship course Foundations of Management and Entrepreneurship, and as a team leader on our swim team. Babson College’s curriculum is driven by experiential and team-based learning and Adam’s peers always scramble to be on his team. He also has countless fans and friendships among our faculty including Professors George Recck, Donna Stoddard, Wendy Murphy, and Shay Blanchette, to name just a few.  He can count me as a big fan as well! I am grateful for all he has done as a student at Babson and I look forward to following his next journey of excellence as an alum and business leader.”

Ian Lapp
Dean of the Undergraduate School at Babson College

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