2020 Best & Brightest: Alexandra Gallagher, Fordham University (Gabelli)

Alexandra Gallagher

Fordham University, Gabelli School of Business

“Accountant by Day, Yogi by Night – always looking to stay balanced!”

Fun fact about yourself: I trained in classical ballet for 13 years pre-professionally before coming to Fordham. For several years I studied at the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School at American Ballet Theatre and was fortunate to perform with ABT at the Metropolitan Opera House at Lincoln Center on numerous occasions. I also traveled to Denmark and Panama through dance!

Hometown: New York, NY

High School: Dominican Academy & Keystone National High School – After attending Dominican for freshman year, I completed high school online with Keystone in order to pursue my ballet dreams.

Major: Public Accounting

Minor: Philosophy

Favorite Business Course: Accounting Research Seminar – Sustainability Reporting

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles During College:

School Awards and Honors:

  • Alpha Sigma Nu (2019-2020)
  • Beta Gamma Sigma (2019-2020)
  • William E. Boyle Society (2018-2020)
  • Dean’s List (2016-2020)
  • Dean’s Scholarship (2016-2020)
  • Peter and Carol Howe Scholarship (2019-2020)
  • Litton Scholarship (2017-2018)
  • Woolworth Award (2016)
  • Gabelli School of Business Consulting Cup, Finalist and Team MVP (2017)
  • Fordham Foundry Pitch Challenge, Semi-Finalist (2017)

Community Work and Leadership Roles:

  • Teaching Assistant for the Ground Floor Business Course (2017-2020)
  • Women in Business Retreat Coordinator (2018-2020)
  • Entrepreneurship Society, President (2018-2019), Vice President (2017-2018)
  • Freshman Advising Mentor (2018-2020)
  • Gabelli School of Business Tutor (2019-2020)
  • Orientation Leader (2017)
  • Gabelli Freshman Mentor Program, Founder (2017)
  • Social Impact 360 Fellowship (2016-2017)
  • Gabelli School of Business Lincoln Center Dean’s Council (2016-2017)

Where have you interned during your college career?

PricewaterhouseCoopers (New York, NY): Assurance Intern

American Ballet Theatre (New York, NY): Patron Services Intern

Where will you be working after graduation? PricewaterhouseCoopers (New York, NY): Assurance Associate

Who is your favorite professor? In my time at Fordham, I have had many incredible professors. Especially in our business school, I have found that the Fordham faculty members are not only highly accomplished in their fields, but also bring kindness, humor and generosity into the classroom. The professor I feel best exemplifies these traits is Michael McSherry.

In freshman year I had Professor McSherry for Ground Floor, Gabelli’s introductory business course, and I have served as his teaching assistant for Ground Floor for the past three years. I greatly admire the way he leads the classroom, and I have learned a lot from him about what it means to be a great leader, to work in teams and manage conflict. Professor McSherry brings openness and humanity into his teaching that serves as an excellent example to students of how to act as future leaders of the business world. I am also grateful to have had Professor McSherry as a mentor throughout my time at Fordham. As a retired partner of EY, he has been an invaluable source of guidance and support to me as I navigate the beginnings of my own career in public accounting. In my four years at Fordham I have been afforded many blessings, but getting to work so closely with Professor McSherry is undoubtedly at the top of the list.

What did you enjoy most about your business school? Besides being located in New York City, one of the business capitals of the world, one of the most enjoyable and advantageous aspects of studying at the Gabelli School of Business is its integrated curriculum. Many of our core business classes have an experiential learning component where students are tasked with applying the concepts taught in the classroom to real-world business scenarios, typically in a team setting.

One of the best examples of this is the Consulting Cup Challenge. Here, students are placed in teams, assigned a Fortune 500 company, and tasked with devising a creative solution to a problem the company faces. The project culminates in a formal business presentation. Out of over 100 teams, the top six compete in the Finals for a chance to win the Consulting Cup.

Without a doubt, the Consulting Cup was the most enjoyable and challenging academic experience I have had at Fordham. Not only did I form strong friendships with the individuals in my group, but I also learned how to effectively work on a team so that everyone could reach their full potential. Over the course of 15 weeks, it was especially rewarding to see how our group made great strides in public speaking and presentation skills – and fortunately, we were able to demonstrate our hard work in the finals! I am a big believer in the idea that people learn the most by doing and Fordham’s curriculum truly embodies that sentiment. It is a huge advantage for students going into the professional world to already have experience working on teams and applying business concepts to real-world situations.

What has surprised you most about majoring in business? As a business major at Fordham, I was most surprised by the focus that was placed on business as being a force for good. I think the stereotypical view of business is that it is centered solely around a profit motive. While this may be true in some cases, there are many businesses that look beyond their bottom line and work to evoke positive, meaningful change in the world.

My education at the Gabelli School of Business has certainly emphasized the notion of business with purpose. Both inside and outside of the classroom, I have learned what it means to act ethically in a business setting, I have explored various facets of sustainability and contemplated the responsibility that businesses have to implement sustainable practices and give back to their communities. The Gabelli School of Business certainly provides its students with the technical foundation needed to succeed in their professional careers, but it also instills in them a desire to use their talents and skills to leave the world a better place than they found it through their business pursuits.

Which academic, extracurricular or personal achievement are you most proud of? In my freshman year, I attended TrepCon, Fordham’s annual entrepreneurship conference. I was so inspired by the event that I applied to the executive board of the Entrepreneurship Society, the student organization that runs the conference. I was selected for the board and, in my sophomore year, I assisted the president in planning the conference. In my junior year, I assumed the role of president of the club and had the opportunity to create my vision for TrepCon. It was an incredible experience to work on an event of that scale from start to finish and I learned so much from the process. I loved getting involved in all of the details from speakers, to catering, to behind the scenes logistics! It was incredibly fulfilling to witness the event come to life and to see connections being made between attendees and speakers. I hope I was able to inspire members of the audience in a similar way I was inspired when I attended TrepCon as a freshman.

Which classmate do you most admire? The peer I most admire is Alexa Cucchiara. Alexa and I went to the same elementary school, but we really became close friends at Fordham. After her sophomore year of college at a different school, Alexa was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and had to take a year off from school to undergo treatment and heal. After enduring this trauma, she transferred to Fordham to complete her degree in business. Over the past two years, I have had the privilege of being friends with Alexa and watching her grow and succeed. Instead of letting her experience give her a negative outlook on life, Alexa lives her life from a place of love, positivity, and abundance. She fearlessly goes after opportunities presented to her and openly shares her story so that others may learn from and take comfort in her experiences. Most recently, Alexa published her first book, The Power to Persevere, as a way to spread hope to those undergoing similar challenges in their lives. Her confidence, drive, authenticity, and wholehearted embrace of new experiences is inspiring. I have no doubt that Alexa will be successful in anything she chooses to do, and I look forward to seeing all she accomplishes!

Who would you most want to thank for your success? I have to thank and credit my parents for much of my success. From an early age, they gave me a great foundation that instilled in me the value of discipline, hard work, and always doing my best. I am incredibly lucky to have parents who believe in me and are supportive of my dreams. Whether it was in ballet or at Fordham, my parents supported me every step of the way and enabled me to explore opportunities that allowed me to grow as an individual. I can’t thank them enough for all they have done and continue to do for me!

What are the top two items on your professional bucket list?

I would love to do a rotational program where I can work in a foreign country for an extended period of time – ideally, I would like to be in London! I would also love the opportunity to work with the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board in some capacity. Through my studies, I have become interested in sustainability and sustainability reporting. While corporate social responsibility reports are currently voluntary, I believe they will only grow in importance in the future. I would love to play a role in the development and implementation of these reporting standards.

What are your hobbies? I am deeply passionate about health and wellness because so much of my free time is spent on activities in that area. I practice vinyasa yoga on most days of the week, but I also enjoy running and trying new boutique fitness classes with my friends. Spinning and boxing are some of my favorites! In the spring of 2018 I received my Pilates mat certification and I am looking to teach more before I begin working full time. I also love trying out new healthy recipes with my friends and family – I especially love making creative, healthy desserts. When I can, I greatly enjoy attending dance and theater performances in the city. Broadway is a shared activity in my family, and we love going to see new shows. Most recently we saw Moulin Rouge, it was fantastic!

What made Alex such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2020?

“I met Alex during her freshman year as a student in my Ground Floor course—An Introduction to Business. She frequently sought my advice on how to expand her knowledge of business and explore opportunities in and outside of the classroom.

At the end of her freshman year, Alex asked to be my teaching assistant. For the past three years, I have been very fortunate to have her in this role. She has always been on time—on task—and acts as my eyes and ears in and outside of the classroom while providing suggestions to enhance the classroom experience. She is able to address students’ academic and extracurricular inquiries and concerns with sound counsel and advice. Recently, a student sent me a note stating, “Alex has helped…me get involved in a club…and she has made me feel like there is a great future for me here at Fordham.”

In addition to classroom experiences, Alex has explored a variety of work experiences. As an intern with PwC, Athleta and the New York City Ballet she explored the world of accounting/auditing, marketing and customer discovery. In her freshman and sophomore years, she explored the world of entrepreneurship—creating a start-up in a health-related arena. This led to her appointment as a Social Impact 360 Fellow where she learned how to be a values-driven leader focused on addressing the world’s most pressing issues.

In school-related activities, Alex explored leadership roles as a member of the Dean’s Council where she created a mentor program for Freshman. As the President of the Entrepreneurship Society, she managed the club’s signature annual event of 250 attendees. She serves as a Peer Advisor for freshman and participates in many other activities in the Fordham community.  The one factor that makes Alex special is her ability to make those around her better. She embodies the Ignatian spirituality of Cura Personalis, which is why Alex is an invaluable member of the Class of 2020.”

Michael P. McSherry
Senior Lecturer
Business Law and Ethics
Fordham University Gabelli School of Business


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