2019 Best & Brightest: Alexis Hartigan, North Carolina (Kenan-Flagler)

Alexis Hartigan

University of North Carolina, Kenan-Flagler Business School

Dragon doodler, Swifty, enthusiast of anything organic, dream board connoisseur, cooking-party host (but doesn’t cook).”

Fun fact about yourself:

In February (my birthday month), my friends and I have a tradition called “February Madness.” We do something small every day to reflect on the year and set intentions for the future. For example, one day we hugged all of our friends; on another day we forgave and let go of something from our past.


I wore a helmet every day I biked while abroad in Copenhagen. In an effort to save money, I bought the cheapest one: it had bright yellow flames on it.


My middle name is just the letter K.

Hometown: Riverside, Connecticut

High School: Greenwich High School

Major: Business

Minor: N/A

Favorite Business Course: Private Equity and Debt Markets

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles During College:

  • VP of Investments and Media-Telecom Sector Head for Portfolio Management Team, a club that trades real money on the stock market; raised portfolio returns +20% and founded weekly publications with market updates)
  • VP of Alumni Engagement for UNC Finance Society; helped create alumni board and NYC networking event
  • Translator for Spanish-speaking families at NC Children’s Hospital
  • TA for Business, Politics and Public Policy and for Intro to Computer Science
  • Teacher and mentor for various students and organizations: HYPE, Rural Schools Service (in Hong Kong) and Greenwich public school system
  • Third Place in Red Ventures Case Competition
  • Over 300 volunteer hours
  • GLOBE Scholar
  • Honors Carolina Student
  • Buckley Public Service Student
  • UNC Kenan-Flagler Assured Admit
  • Dean’s List every semester (4.0 GPA)

Where have you interned during your college career?

  • Goldman Sachs – New York: Sponsor M&A Investment Banking Analyst
  • Bank of America Merrill Lynch – New York: Technology, Media and Telecom Investment Banking Analyst
  • Decade Capital (Subsidiary of Millennium Partners) – Old Greenwich, Connecticut: Healthcare Consultant
  • Millennium Partners ($37b assets under management; market neutral hedge fund) – New York: Biotech Financial Analyst
  • Columbus Circle Investors ($25b assets under management; long-only mutual fund) – Stamford, Connecticut: Financial Analyst

Where will you be working after graduation? Goldman Sachs: Sponsor M&A Investment Banking Analyst

Who is your favorite professor? Shawn Munday: Every time I went to see him during his office hours, he took the time not just to help me understand the concepts needed for the course, but to also understand why these concepts were important for my future career in finance. He diligently made sure I understood how concepts would come up in interview questions as well as on the job. Then he would go on to teach me what I needed to know for my career, even if it wasn’t covered in the course. Such insights were especially meaningful given his extensive experience advising alternative asset managers at Citigroup.

What did you enjoy most about your business school? My peers: They are the best combination of smart, nice and fun. Inside the classroom, everyone collaborates well together. Outside of the classroom, we can just as easily have an intellectual conversation as we can go have fun at a karaoke bar. Above all, I can always rely on my peers to be there for me, whether for professional or personal reasons.

What is the biggest lesson you gained from studying business? To be yourself: You quickly realize that it’s easy to differentiate yourself when you aren’t just copying others. There is no one else in this world like you and that’s what allows you to bring something unique and valuable to your co-workers and employers.

What advice would you give to a student looking to major in a business-related field? Practice networking and connecting with others. Your emotional intelligence matters just as much or even more than your IQ. Yes, try your best in your classes. Even if you struggle in your business courses, if you are able to communicate well and develop meaningful connections, you will go far in business.

What has surprised you most about majoring in business? In and outside of the classroom, I was surprised by how much business relies on teamwork. I thought business was all about understanding supply and demand, marketing products, and minimizing costs. While these are all aspects of business, achieving each of these tasks – as well as many others – requires close cooperation with others. Business school is filled with group projects to help develop your cooperation skills. So much teamwork was a shock, compared to my previous educational experiences of writing essays and taking tests on my own.

“If I didn’t major in business, I would be majoring in or studying…Spanish, because I love the romantic sounds of the language and vibrant cultures of Spanish-speaking countries.”

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? My first boss, Cliff Fox. In high school, I liked almost every subject and had trouble picking one to study in college. Cliff Fox showed me that in business, you don’t have to give up any subject. I could continue to learn about and work with a variety of different industries. He would often leave on my desk an exciting article to read, such as one about autonomous cars, to discuss later during my spare time. These moments were the beginning of what sparked my interest in business.

Which academic, extracurricular or personal achievement are you most proud of? I am extremely proud to be a GLOBE scholar. In this program, with my peers from Copenhagen Business School, Chinese University of Hong Kong, and UNC, I spent a year living in two and traveling to over 20 foreign countries. From this time abroad, I had to adapt quickly to new settings. I learned the complex bike-traffic rules of Copenhagen and how to bargain in Asian street markets. More importantly, I developed my ability to listen and communicate with others from different backgrounds. Sometimes I had to ask for help from someone that didn’t even speak English, which required a careful analysis of facial expressions and body language. I often had to push myself outside of my comfort zone to try new things that scared me or form a relationship with a person I didn’t understand. Through these efforts, I ate a traditional Kamayan meal with my bare hands, danced with locals at a Bruno Mars concert in Hong Kong, and attended a Mongolian birthday party. These experiences have prepared me to be a global citizen and businesswoman.

Which classmate do you most admire? Marianne Cruzat: She follows her passion rather than following others. For example, she is delaying her graduation and taking a semester off to work in Singapore for a venture capital firm. With a love of entrepreneurship, she aims to learn from this experience about the startup world as well as whether she’d like to found a business in Southeast Asia. I admire her ability to listen to her intuition and follow a career path that best matches her dream.

Who would you most want to thank for your success? My father: Since I was little, he has always been my mentor. He’s an economics major. When I was in kindergarten he taught me, in simplified form, how the supply and demand of Barbie dolls were affected by the introduction of Bratz dolls. Now today, he continues to help however he can by reviewing my resumes, introducing me to new potential mentors, and in general offering life advice. I always can count on him to be my biggest cheerleader and advocate.

What are the top two items on your bucket list? Write a book and go skydiving

What are your hobbies? I love to read fantasy novels, ski, go to pure barre or yoga, sing, boat, travel, listen to live music, and try new things (especially food).

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

“If asked for five words to describe Alexis, I would say: funny, humble, smart, playful, integrity.

I first met Alexis as a wide-eyed senior in high school, visiting UNC as a prospective student with her dad. I quickly noticed that she was mature beyond her years, full of questions and intellectual curiosity, and had a very close, fun relationship with her dad. I remember laughing throughout that first meeting and I knew this would be one young woman who would be exciting to watch over the next four years. And oh how I was right!

Alexis was offered one of few coveted spots in our Assured Admission Program which, based on her impressive high school record, guaranteed her a spot in the business program her sophomore year. We often look to our Assured Admission Scholars to take on leadership positions in the Undergraduate Business Program in future years, and a leader she became.

Not only has Alexis excelled in the classroom (perfect 4.0 GPA), she also excelled outside of the classroom. She assumed two vice-president roles at the business school, having an impact both on our Portfolio Management team (founded a new weekly publication with market updates) and our Finance Society (creating an alumni board and a new NYC networking event).

This leadership impact is particularly impressive given that she was also selected as a GLOBE scholar which means she spent an entire year abroad. The GLOBE Program is our most intensive and prestigious study abroad program. Students spend a semester at the Copenhagen Business School, a semester at the Chinese University of Hong Kong and a semester at UNC Kenan-Flagler, with 18 students from each participating university (54 students in total). Throughout her time on this tri-continental program, Alexis developed extensive skills in flexibility, adaptability, empathy, openness, and resilience. Upon returning from her semesters abroad, she was hand-selected to serve as the teaching assistant for a new GLOBE course we offered for the newest GLOBE cohort. Alexis provided incredible support and encouragement to all students in this program as the course was extremely participative in nature and required students from all three countries to engage in a debate-style environment on current events connecting business and politics. She also was extremely helpful to the faculty member teaching this new course as he navigated the challenges of teaching a course with students from three unique universities and three very different cultures.

Of final note is the fact that in addition to all of the above, Alexis still found time to live up to our Core Value of Community by serving as a translator for Spanish-speaking families at NC Children’s Hospital.

As Alexis prepares to graduate this May to join Goldman as an M&A investment banking analyst, I can’t help but think how happy they must be to know that Alexis will join their ranks – just as I felt almost four years ago when I found out that Alexis chose UNC and Kenan-Flagler. Alexis will leave a mark, enjoy the ride, and all those around her will be that much better because she is there.”

Anna Millar
Managing Director
Undergraduate Business Program





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