2019 Best & Brightest: Hannah Ahluwalia, Michigan State (Broad)

Hannah Ahluwalia

Michigan State University, Eli Broad College of Business

“Passionate, motivated, and hard-working individual just waiting for my next vacation day.”

Fun fact about yourself: I didn’t know how to do laundry until I got to college and had to FaceTime my mom to teach me.

Hometown: Troy, MI

High School: Troy Athens High School

Major: Accounting


Favorite Business Course: ACC 202, where I discovered my love for accounting!

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles During College: (Include school awards and honors)

Current president and former publicity chair of the Women in Business Students’ Association

Mentor for Women in Business Students’ Association

Student Allocations Board financial manager of the Associated Students of Michigan State University (ASMSU)

Honors College

Dean’s List: five semesters

KPMG Accounting Scholarship recipient

Member of the Coalition of Indian Undergraduate Students

Former treasurer of ASMSU Freshman Class Council

Former member of MSU Dance Club

Where have you interned during your college career?

DTE Energy, Detroit, MI: IRP & Modeling Intern (June – Aug 2017)

Ernst & Young, Detroit, MI and Wellington, NZ: Assurance Intern and Global Student Experience Intern (June – Aug 2018)

Where will you be working after graduation? M.S. in accounting program at MSU and obtaining my CPA

What company do you admire most? I most admire Ernst & Young. I think this company is a true trendsetter in the accounting industry and works to be at the forefront of advancements. In addition, EY truly values its employees, which shows through their success.

What did you enjoy most about your business school? There are countless things I enjoyed about the Eli Broad College of Business. My favorite thing would have to be a collaborative and supportive environment that is fostered within this college. All Broad undergraduates are receiving an excellent education, but this school also is constantly improving your professional development outside of the classroom. There are always resources available to students to help them achieve their goals and continuously keep growing. It also encourages students to connect, which fosters students to have a vast business network. I am so grateful I was able to study business in the Eli Broad College.

What is the biggest lesson you gained from studying business? The biggest lesson I gained from studying business was how to turn a rejection into a learning opportunity. It can be very discouraging when you face rejection as a business student. Anytime this happens, it is important to focus on how you can advance yourself for the next opportunity and learn how to grow from your experiences. A rejection will only make you more prepared for that “yes.”

What has surprised you most about majoring in business? I was most surprised by how collaborative the program is, and the level of business acumen students gain. I didn’t expect my classes to focus on developing me for my full-time career once I graduate. Going into all of my internships, I always felt prepared because of the foundation that was given to me in the classroom. I always was surprised by how often I get to work with other students in my classes and have the opportunity to learn from them.

“If I didn’t major in business, I would be majoring in or studying…Medicine. Science has always been an interest of mine, and I think if I didn’t have a business, I would study radiology for my career.”

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? My older brother, Amit, most influenced my decision to pursue business. When I was a senior in high school, my brother was a freshman at MSU studying supply chain management in the Broad College. My brother has always been my role model and, after hearing about all the amazing things he was doing and learning in Broad, I knew this was an area of study I wanted to pursue as well. I saw my brother grow in college into a passionate, motivated, and hardworking business professional, and I wanted this for myself as well.

Which academic, extracurricular or personal achievement are you most proud of? I am most proud of being the president of the Women in Business Students’ Association and founding the Empowerment Closet at MSU. As president, I am able to serve as a mentor to the 175 members in the organization and pass on the knowledge I have gained from my time at MSU. My mentors and advisors have helped me to achieve success at MSU, and I want to do the same for incoming business students.

The Empowerment Closet was created to provide a closet full of professional clothing for all business undergraduates to rent for 48 hours. This enables all students to have an equal opportunity to attend professional events. I truly believe that all Broad students have the business acumen and professional skills that companies are looking for, and the Empowerment Closet serves as a helping hand to students in their endeavors.

Which classmate do you most admire? One of my best friends, Michelle Major. Michelle is a strong leader in the Broad College, and I admire how she can always have a positive outlook on life. She gives 110% to everything she does and will go the extra mile to help those around her in any way she can. Michelle has always been there to support my personal endeavors, which I will always be grateful for.

Who would you most want to thank for your success? I would most like to thank my parents for my success, Gurpreet and Neetu Ahluwalia. Ever since I was a child, my parents instilled a drive in me to achieve success and go after what I want. They both exemplified a life that I truly want to have in the future. My parents were always there to support me, even if that meant five different phone calls a day. I knew that no matter what I went after, my mom and dad would be right there cheering me on. They have given me countless words of advice and guidance over the years, and I know I would not be the person I am today without them. I can never thank them enough for enabling me to achieve success.

What are the top two items on your bucket list? Travel to as many countries as possible – at least one on every continent. I have already visited 14 different countries, and I can’t wait to see what’s next.

I want to try Thai food in Bangkok, Thailand. Anyone who knows me knows I have a true addiction to this food, so I hope to one day try it in its most authentic form.

What are your hobbies? Dance, painting, photography, traveling, and of course, binge-watching Netflix.

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

“In her three years at the Eli Broad College of Business, Ms. Hannah Ahluwalia has developed her own leadership, communication and business skills while helping other MSU students succeed. I first met Ms. Ahluwalia in the summer of 2016 before her freshman year at MSU. She took a week out of her summer to attend the Multicultural Business Programs Summer Business Institute to learn about the Eli Broad College of Business, meet Broad faculty, work with a diverse group of students and network with eight Fortune 500 companies, including her future employer EY.

She became an active member of the Women in Business Students’ Association (WBSA) her first year and was elected to the executive board during her second year at MSU. Through her efforts as publicity chair, she grew the organization’s membership to 225 paid members. She was elected president for the 2018-2019 academic year and has implemented new programs to build relationships between WBSA’s large membership and its nine-woman executive board. She creates an environment on the executive board that allows all leaders to shine, give their best to the organization’s members and accomplish their personal and professional goals. In addition, recognizing that some Broad students do not have the resources to purchase professional attire and accessories, Ms. Ahluwalia started the Broad College’s first Empowerment Closet. Students can rent professional attire, shoes and accessories for 48 hours for career fairs and interviews at no cost. It will be a valuable resource to Broad students for years to come, providing students the confidence that comes from the right power suit.

Ms. Ahluwalia also served as a conference assistant for the MBP Summer Business Institute in July 2017, where she led a diverse group of incoming freshmen and taught them about leadership, professional development and academic success. Ms. Ahluwalia was an effective mentor to these students and helped them succeed in the Eli Broad College of Business. Two of her participants have gone on to serve as WBSA executive board members and to mentor students in summer programs.

She has worked as the Student Allocations Board financial manager for the MSU student government, Associated Students of Michigan State University, for two years. She manages a budget of more than $500,000 and reviews, submits and approves reimbursements to MSU student organizations. She has completed two professional internships with EY and DTE Energy. She was selected as an EY Global Student Experience Intern, a competitive program which gave her the opportunity to work in New Zealand.

Ms. Ahluwalia recently submitted a successful application for WBSA to host the 2020 Big 10 Women’s Business Connections Leadership Conference in Detroit. WBSA will host 75 female business students from Big Ten universities in January, to showcase the revitalization of Detroit and provide opportunities to network with Detroit’s professional women.

Ms. Ahluwalia embodies the Women in Business motto, “Successful Women Start Here.” She works hard to achieve her own goals while helping other students succeed. She knows there are opportunities available for everyone and provides practical skills and support that allows all students to achieve their dreams.”

Anne Crain
Program Coordinator, Multicultural Business Programs


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