2019 Best & Brightest: Katherine Cui, Boston University (Questrom)

Katherine Cui

Boston University, Questrom School of Business

“In the constant pursuit to become a person that is sweet, strong, humane, and happy.”

Fun fact about yourself: I can wiggle my ears!

Hometown: Fremont, CA

High School: American High School

Major: Business Administration with a concentration in Finance and Management Information Systems

Minor: N/A

Favorite Business Course: Organizational Behavior: The Dynamics of Leading Organizations

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles During College:

Member of Beta Gamma Sigma

Co-authored HBS Case With BU Professor Greg Sabin and HBS Professor Susanna Gallani

Questrom School of Business Honors Program

Head TA of Managerial Accounting Course

Financial Accounting Teaching Assistant at Harvard Extension School

Dean’s List (all semesters)

Questrom Dean’s Host

Summa Cum Laude

Where have you interned during your college career?

Woodbridge International (Boston, MA) – M&A Intern

Wells Fargo (San Francisco, CA) – Financial Analyst Intern

J.P. Morgan (New York, NY) – Investment Banking Intern

Where will you be working after graduation? J.P. Morgan (New York, NY) – Investment Banking Analyst

Who is your favorite professor? My favorite professor is, without a doubt, Professor Greg Sabin. He has shaped my three-and-a-half years at Boston University, making who I am today and believing in me when even I doubted myself. Professor Sabin is the epitome of a professor who truly cares, not only for students to succeed academically, but professionally as well; he cares not only for his own students but even those he has never taught. He helped me find the determination within myself to achieve, and to not shy away from being the first to pursue something. More important than the business concepts Professor Sabin has taught me, he has taught me that I am capable of things I never thought possible, and for him, I am forever grateful.

What did you enjoy most about your business school? A unique aspect of Questrom that I enjoyed was its emphasis on teams. Starting from the first business ethics class to the very last finance course I took at BU, the aspect of teams was embedded in the curriculum. At first, this appeared to me as an “inconvenience,” as working in a team meant clearing out schedules for team meetings, spending more time agreeing on agenda items, and sometimes repeating myself more than necessary. Yet, what I believed to be hindrances proved to be opportunities for me to learn the importance of teams and gain vital skills to becoming a better team player. I realized that great things in life are accomplished by a group of individuals, and it is essential that we learn to agree to disagree, to work out our differences, and to embrace new ideas. By understanding the importance of trusting and relying on one another, I now value the dynamics of a team. I have personally experienced that winning is not a zero-sum game, and victory is sweeter when achieved with others.

“If I didn’t major in business, I would be majoring in or studying…pre-med to become an oncologist. Contributing to cancer research and interacting with patients is a fulfilling career that I wish to pursue in my next life.”

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? My decision to pursue business in college was encouraged by my mom, who has always wished for me to be more outspoken. While I insisted on minding my own business and studying hard to become a doctor, my mom held that I would not become a successful doctor if I could not even interact with my patients. Finally admitting this flaw of mine, I agreed to go to an undergraduate business school. With my mom’s words in mind, I joined as many student organizations as I could. I let my voice be heard in class when I did not agree on a concept, volunteered to go first for presentations, and did not hesitate to step up as team leader when necessary. Looking back, I am so grateful my mom insisted on fixing this shortcoming of mine. I could not be happier of who I am and what I have achieved today, and I owe it all to my mom. Thanks, mom!

Which academic, extracurricular or personal achievement are you most proud of? From the countless opportunities I was given during my time at Questrom, I would say the most rewarding experience was becoming a teaching assistant. Those few hours every week that I interacted with students, whether it be explaining concepts, solving question sets, or reviewing midterm questions, became the few hours of the week that I looked forward to. Being able to witness students approach a foreign topic – and to guide them through the process of learning, applying, and ultimately mastering those concepts – is a process I looked forward to participating in. The joy I felt from witnessing the students start to understand the concepts and eventually earning the grades they set the goal of achieving is a feeling that cannot be simulated. Becoming a teaching assistant has taught me to be patient, how to better articulate my words, and to think in other students’ viewpoints, as everyone has a different learning style. I am truly thankful for the students over the past two and a half years who have given me the chance to be their TA, and for making this my proudest achievement here at BU.

Which classmate do you most admire? Of the numerous peers that I was lucky enough to meet during my time in college, one classmate who has drastically changed my perspective on life and friendships is my friend Danny Chen. She has truly taught me that life is how you make it, and the greatest memories and experiences are the spontaneous ones. Her abundance of energy and passion for life has inspired me to want to experience and explore the world around me. I admire how she stands for who she is unapologetically, and never hesitates to protect those whom she cares about. I cherish the friendship I have with her because she has allowed me to truly open up and taught me the importance of letting the people around me know that they are appreciated. Danny has allowed me to realize that, like our friendship, everything good in life comes with perseverance, care, and a bit of time.

Who would you most want to thank for your success? For me to be the person I am today, if I thanked one I would have to thank all. Of course, I have to thank all those who stood by me, who lent a shoulder to lean on when times were tough, offered a hand to help me get back on my feet, and wiped my tears when I thought all seemed grim. I want to thank those who have believed in me, but equally so, I want to thank those who have ever doubted or rejected me. It was thanks to those rejections that I was able to find strength and willpower in myself that I never knew I had. Because others once doubted me, I craved more than anything to prove them wrong. It is this constant desire to discover my true potential and not allowing others to claim what I can or cannot do that molded who I am today. So to all my believers and nonbelievers, I want to thank you.

What are the top two items on your bucket list?

  1. Go skydiving over an island
  2. Learn a new language

What are your hobbies? In my free time I enjoy photography, learning new recipes, and doing yoga.

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

“I want to nominate Katherine Cui.  Katherine was a vocal sophomore in the very first class I taught at Questrom.  She helped me learn how we do things and in the class knew exactly when to add to the conversation, and when to lay back and let others participate.  This is where I noticed that she had the courage to make suggestions to the instructor, and the EQ to facilitate the classroom discussion.  The story of Katherine is that she simply makes everyone around her better.

After her performance in my class, she became a TA for managerial accounting. She has been the lead TA for managerial accounting for two years and helped to put the ‘AC222 help room’ into place to provide help for students who need it but can’t or don’t want to come to office hours.

Later, we coauthored a published HBP case on Allen Questrom and she helped with data collection and some literature search in my research area. In addition to all of this at Questrom, she also served as both a research assistant and teaching assistant at Harvard while studying at Questrom.

She is selfless, well-respected by her instructors and her peers, and is graduating in 3.5 years and moving onto a position in investment banking in Manhattan with a major US investment bank. Her resume is strong, but it doesn’t begin to show the impact she has on those around her. She is a difference maker.  She is the singular best student I have worked with in my 10 years in academia, which includes my time at MIT, Harvard, Michigan State and Ohio State in addition to BU.”

Greg Sabin
Senior Lecturer
Boston University Questrom School of Business





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