2019 Best & Brightest: Julia Hyman, Georgetown University (McDonough)

Julia Hyman

Georgetown University, McDonough School of Business

 “My routine: Get up. Be Awesome! Go to Bed. Repeat. Seriously… a work in progress.”

Fun fact about yourself: I was blind for the first 8 years of my life. Not fun, but interesting.

Hometown: Allentown, PA

High School: The Lawrenceville School

Major: Management, Leadership, and Innovation

Minor: Entrepreneurship/Fellowship in Entrepreneurship

Favorite Business Course: Leadership

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles During College:

Leadership Roles, Honors and Awards

  • Author of Universal Housing: How to Revitalize Cities and Rebuild the American Dream. Wrote and published this book about the integral role universal housing will play in America’s future.
  • Faculty Academic Council Student Representative: Selected by the Undergraduate Dean as one of two student representatives to sit on the Faculty Curriculum Committee Board tasked with addressing ongoing school issues and guiding the McDonough School of Business curriculum.
  • Business Undergraduates Invested in Leadership Development (BUILD) Program Mentor: One of 20 selected to mentor incoming McDonough School of Business Undergraduates, offering an intensive academic and leadership development opportunity for incoming students.
  • Fellowship in Entrepreneurship: One of the first students at Georgetown to achieve this recognition.
  • Winner of 36-team McDonough School of Business Case Competition
  • Selected to implement a redevelopment plan of the Anacostia area of D.C.
  • Admitted to the Alpha Kappa Psi business fraternity
  • ESADE Business School, Sant Cugat, Spain: Selected to study international marketing and entrepreneurship
  • United States Women’s Golf Team, The Maccabiah Games: Gold and bronze medalist as a member of Team USA at the 20th Maccabiah Games in Caesarea, Israel.

Community Work

  • D.C. Reads Tutor: Tutored children in reading and writing on a weekly basis in the D.C. area
  • Inducted into the Oval and McClellan Society at The Lawrenceville School, having completed over 600 hours of community service
  • Developed and implemented a program with the Boys’ and Girls’ Club of Allentown to provide Christmas gifts, coats, hats, gloves, boots, and a holiday meal to the families most in need. This program continues to this day.

Where have you interned during your college career? 

  • TwoBirds: A startup creating shared co-working and childcare space. I performed market research, deciding upon particular areas of the country to penetrate, and researched real estate options for the space. (Washington, D.C.)
  • The Anacostia Business Improvement District, working to facilitate development of the Anacostia area of Washington, D.C.
  • Assistant Supervisor of Real Estate Management, Operations and Accounting at The McDonough School of Business. Oversee day-to-day operations of McDonough’s Hariri Building. (Washington, D.C.)
  • Hyman Properties: Lead Project Manager on a $4,000,000 first phase to “button up” a 325,000 square foot mill building to prepare for the construction of 184 apartments. (Allentown, PA)

Where will you be working after graduation?  I will be attending Cornell University to receive an MBA and a Master’s in Real Estate Development joint degree in 3 years.

Who is your favorite professor? Professor Michael O’Leary. I have come to know Professor O’Leary well during our monthly meetings on the McDonough Curriculum Committee Board, in the classroom and just having coffee together. I have come to admire his passion for business and leadership and the interest that he takes in every student. Years from now, when I think back upon my education, Professor O’Leary will undoubtedly feature prominently as one of my formative influences.

What did you enjoy most about your business school?  The collaborative environment. The majority of my classes involve group projects and, as a result, I have learned much more by working in those groups and being exposed to so many classmates. I have learned to be a leader and, perhaps more importantly, a listener. It has taught me to be a teammate and to work through challenges as a group.

What is the biggest lesson you gained from studying business? As Churchill said “Never, never, never give up!” I have read of, been exposed to, and even witnessed countless examples of businesses encountering what appeared to be insurmountable odds, only to ultimately be the better for it. “Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.”

What advice would you give to a student looking to major in a business-related field? Business is not strictly accounting, finance and crunching numbers. Whether it be marketing, management, leadership or supply chain, business has many paths, involving skills not typically associated with business, like creativity. Broaden your horizons, find your passion in business and then pursue it with determination.

What has surprised you most about majoring in business? Business is not strictly accounting, finance and crunching numbers.

“If I didn’t major in business, I would be majoring in or studying…Literature. The capacity of the written word to transport its reader still amazes, enchants and enthralls me.”

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? I am the third generation to call Allentown, PA home. Allentown was among the largest garment manufacturing centers in the United States. Then came NAFTA and Asian outsourcing. Allentown was left a shell of its former self. Having just graduated from school, my father returned to Allentown and bought one of those majestic old structures which stood as vacant testament to architectural detail, engineering integrity, hard work and an era gone by. He converted that mill into loft apartments. Then he bought another and then, another.

This is the business in which I grew up. Since the age of 9, weekends, holidays, summers and every free minute I had after school were spent with my father. I grew up on job sites with electricians, carpenters and plumbers, at his buildings with his leasing agents and property managers, in the offices of architects, bankers, lawyers and municipal officials. This business is as much a part of my fabric as is my schooling, friendships and family.

Which academic, extracurricular or personal achievement are you most proud of? As I wrote in response to a previous query, I was blind for the first 8 years of my life. In actuality, I was born blind in one eye but surgery to correct this disorder cannot be performed until the eye is fully grown. Meanwhile the brain will take the path of least resistance and use only the “good” eye. By age 2, the brain would no longer be capable of using two eyes simultaneously. The only treatment was to patch my good eye all of the time and force my bad eye to strain for the shadows it could. Hence the reason I was blind for the first 8 years of my life. Today, I am blind in one eye but can use my good eye.

Despite having to close one eye prior to every shot, I became Captain of The Lawrenceville high school golf team and, last summer, was named to The United States Women’s Golf Team for The Maccabiah Games in Israel along with delegations from 87 nations. I won the bronze individual medal and our team brought home the gold!

Having overcome the adversity I experienced to not simply be able to play golf, but rather to excel at it is one of my proudest achievements.

Which classmate do you most admire? Sebastien Pierre-Louis. I have never met a more determined and hard-working person in my life. Yet, he couples that with an inherent kindness and gentility…an uncommon combination in this hard charging world of business school.

Sebastien’s parents were born and raised in Haiti. With very little knowledge of the education system in the United States, Sebastien was determined to be the best version of himself. During his time at Georgetown, he worked day and night to achieve both inside and outside of the classroom. Yet, I have never heard a bad word spoken by him or about him. I have never seen him exhibit anger or hostility. Throughout these past four years, Sebastien has consistently carried himself as a kind, gentle man. I have learned a lot from Sebastien…I have learned the power of determination and I have learned the sort of person I hope to be.

Who would you most want to thank for your success? My Dad. Trite but true. He is my role model. He is my biggest fan and my harshest critic. He is my mentor, coach, and confidant. He is my greatest motivator and the shoulder upon which I cry. Most of all, he is always there.

What are the top two items on your bucket list? 

  1. To read every one of the 100 greatest books ever written.
  2. To see the 7 wonders of the world.

What are your hobbies? When I finally was able to see, sports were a whole new world to me. I think it is for that reason that I spend much of my free time outside, involved in sports…particularly golf and skiing.

Playing golf on a crisp fall afternoon and skiing through fresh powder on a sun-filled morning are the closest that I get to heaven.

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

“This is going to ruffle some feathers,” Julia told me.

I knew she was right but the fact that as an ambitious 20-something she decided to tackle the challenge is why I believe she’s a remarkable student deserving of her accolades. In Julia’s case, she’d signed up to write a book with my guidance over a two-semester capstone course.  Her book would most certainly be controversial — so much so that several high-ranking politicians decided to pass on offering their praise (despite their private conversations celebrating the book). Julia wrote Universal Housing as a case to examine the increasingly likely future of high joblessness and how we could address it. Based on dozens of interviews and research, she came up with the premise that while most people had talked about Universal Basic Income as a solution, she believed the only real solution was Universal Basic Housing — something people would actually support and may work given her insights studying the revitalization of Allentown, PA.  Now why qualifies a college student to write and publish a book on such a meaty topic?  The truth is her hard work and dedication were what gave her the confidence and credibility to make such claims, with her book being published in the Fall of 2017.

She’s an exceptional student, a top communicator and someone who didn’t let something intimidating or controversial stop her from making a contribution to an important area.  It’s something more college students should do, and they can look no further than Julia as a role model.”

Eric Koester
Georgetown McDonough School of Business


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