2019 Best & Brightest: Max Pivonka, Elon University (Love)

Max Pivonka

Elon University – Martha and Spencer Love School of Business

“Loyal, Optimistic, Underdog Mentality – Demonstrated by my passion for Cleveland professional sports.”

Fun fact about yourself: My first time riding a Bird Scooter I hit a pot-hole and ended up doing a front flip.

Hometown: Cleveland, OH

High School: Walsh Jesuit High School

Majors: Finance & Marketing with a Professional Sales focus

Minor: Political Science 

Favorite Business Course: Business Economics with Dr. Steven Bednar

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles During College:

Extracurricular Activities and Involvement

  • Student Government Association – Student Body Treasurer
  • Elon Investment Banking Club – Founder and President
  • Men’s Club Volleyball – President
  • Women’s Varsity Volleyball – Practice Player
  • Alpha Kappa Psi – Member
  • Special Olympics Unified Sports – Volunteer

Honors and Awards

  • Honors Fellow
  • Presidential Scholarship Award
  • CFA Institute Student Scholarship Award
  • Beta Gamma Sigma Honor Society
  • Phi Eta Sigma National Honor Society

Where have you interned during your college career?

  • Goldman Sachs (Salt Lake City, UT) – Securities Division Operations Summer Analyst
  • Gartner, Inc. (Fort Myers, FL) – Business Development Coordinator

Where will you be working after graduation?

  • Goldman Sachs – Model Risk Management, Credit Risk Validation Group Analyst

What did you enjoy most about your business school? My favorite thing about the Love School of Business is the community. Professor offices are located right next to student study and hangout spaces. It is not uncommon to see students engaging in conversations with professors ranging from the earnings results and current events to happenings in sports and life philosophies. The students I’ve met in the Love School of Business are some of my best friends and the faculty are some of my most valued mentors. You can always count on students and faculty from the Love School of Business to be there for you.

What is the biggest lesson you gained from studying business? The biggest lesson I’ve learned from studying business is the importance of creativity. Business majors often get a reputation for being “number crunchers,” but I’ve found that many of my peers in the Love School of Business differentiate themselves through their abilities to create unique solutions to complex problems. My business courses have taught me how to be a creative, adaptive, and resilient problem solver with an insatiable appetite for improvement.

What advice would you give to a student looking to major in a business-related field? My advice to any student majoring in business is to speak with professionals in any industry that interests them. In my experience, most professionals are happy to share what their role entails, how they got there, and advice they might have for a student interested in a similar role. These conversations can help discern what roles you would be a good fit for, as well as give you a roadmap of how to get there.

“If I didn’t major in business, I would be majoring in or studying…creative writing or journalism. I have a passion for reading and sharing stories (both fictional and non-fictional).”

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? My Grandpa most influenced my decision to pursue business. Seeing my Grandpa go through the process of creating a new product and working to bring it to market instilled an innate curiosity and interest that led me to pursue marketing as one of my majors.\

Which academic, extracurricular or personal achievement are you most proud of? I’m most proud of my involvement as the Student Body Treasurer for the Student Government Association. In this role, I’ve had the opportunity to manage and allocate ~$1.5m in Student Activity Fees. More meaningfully, I’ve been able to work with some incredibly talented, smart student leaders who have come with well-thought-out goals and ideas that need funding. As a result, I’ve been able to: partner with the Student Union Board to help put on the biggest Homecoming concert in University history; provide the financial backing for a student to create a version of the show “Survivor” on-campus, and support the production of music videos showcasing Elon talent. While this role has been challenging, being able to give back to Elon, which has given me so much, has been the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done.

Which classmate do you admire? I most admire John Carroll, a senior Finance student. He has a tenacious work ethic and constantly works to improve himself and those around him through his leadership in various clubs on-campus. I know that I’m a better student, professional, and person from being friends with John.

Who would you most want to thank for your success? I can confidently say I wouldn’t be where I am today without my Dad. He is the most dependable and trusted role-model, adviser, and best friend that one could have. The values and principles that drive me are a direct result of trying to be just like my Dad.

What are the top two items on your bucket list?

  • Bike across the United States via the Trans-America Trail
  • Visit every National Park in the United States

What are your hobbies? Reading (Non-Fiction), Pick-Up Sports, Billiards, Cooking, Hiking, Biking

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

“I have had the pleasure of observing Max Pivonka through a number of academic and professional experiences. Max, a fellow in the Elon Honors program, exemplifies what it means to be an intellectually curious, committed, and an overall excellent student. In the classroom, Max was not only a top performing student but was always willing to help and go out of his way to support his fellow classmates. As a sophomore in a senior-level course, Max shined in grasping the ideas and quickly became a mentor to other students. His dedication was noticed by one of the Chandler Family Professional Sales Center corporate partners, who offered him a position in their highly reputable internship program between his sophomore and junior year, an exception that was made as this organization usually only admits third-year students into their internship program. This professional experience served as the impetus for his honors undergraduate research project, one that has the potential to have important managerial implications. Beyond the classroom and his research, Max has been heavily involved with student government and has always been available to support his fellow classmates with any challenges. Upon graduation, Max has a lucrative position at Goldman Sachs lined up, which I am confident he will excel in. Overall, Max is a great person to be around who has the ability, competence, dedication, and hard work that is necessary to succeed in any organization and in life.”

Dr. Nawar Chaker
Assistant Professor of Marketing



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