2020 Best & Brightest: Brian Harrington, Boston University (Questrom)

Brian Harrington

Boston University, Questrom School of Business

A motivated student and volunteer who wants to help his community through business.”

Fun fact about yourself: I competed in a 24-hour basketball game for charity

Hometown: Boston, Massachusetts

High School: Catholic Memorial High School

Major: Business Administration with concentrations in Accounting and Management Information Systems

Favorite Business Course: QM221: Probabilistic and Statistical Decision-Making for Management

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles During College:

  • Questrom Honors Program – Advisory Board
  • Provost’s Undergraduate Student Advisory Board
  • Relay for Life – Treasurer
  • Beta Gamma Sigma
  • LOCK tutoring
  • Questrom Student Government – VP of Student Affairs
  • Business Statistics Teaching Assistant
  • Career Skills Coach
  • Research Assistant
  • Summa Cum Laude
  • Dean’s List (all semesters)

Where have you interned during your college career?

  • BU Athletics (Boston, MA) – Marketing Intern
  • Massachusetts Convention Center Authority (Boston, MA) – Finance Intern
  • Nolan & Associates (Dublin, Ireland) – Accounting Intern
  • EY (Boston, MA) – Commercial Assurance Intern

Where will you be working after graduation? EY (Boston, MA) – Commercial Assurance Staff

What company do you admire the most? Tenacity is a local non-profit that offers free academic support and tennis lessons to local Boston students. It strives for a world where every student is able to graduate from high school and have access to post-secondary opportunities. The company has introduced thousands of students to the game of tennis, while also providing needed educational resources through their after-school and summer programs. I was fortunate enough to work with Tenacity as a summer councilor a few years ago and have always admired their mission.

Who is your favorite professor? I’ve had a lot of great professors over the years, but my favorite would have to be Professor Kean. I took his business statistics course freshman year and quickly realized that we had a lot in common. He happened to be from the same Boston neighborhood as me (Roslindale), his father worked in the same plumbers union as my dad, and he was also a huge Celtics fan –which made it really easy to talk to him outside of class. Since being hired as a TA for the course, I’ve been able to see just how much time and effort Professor Kean puts into the course. He makes sure every student has a chance to succeed, which can be a very time-consuming process when dealing with 200 – 300 students a semester.

What did you enjoy most about your business school? One thing I liked about Questrom was the emphasis they put on team projects, starting on your very first day freshman year. The professors do an amazing job at mimicking a business setting within the classroom, requiring multiple semester-long team projects over the course of your four years. Every project comes with its own set of expectations and challenges. Learning how to navigate through those challenges and get the most production out of your team is vital to your own success. While it’s easy for us to think that our hard analytical skills take priority, the soft skills developed through a team-based curriculum are often what leads to people receiving more opportunities within a firm, and the Questrom curriculum does a fantastic job at balancing both sets of skills.

What advice would you give to a student looking to major in a business-related field? The biggest piece of advice would be to interact with all the different fields of business before deciding on the area you want to specialize. The business environment is so unique and intertwined between different areas that it’s really in your best interest to gain experience in a number of different fields. While it’s great to focus on a specific area (accounting, finance, marketing etc.), you can’t truly appreciate and understand a business without having some basic level knowledge about every division within the company structure. Be open to any and all opportunities that come your way even if they’re not in your desired field.

What has surprised you most about majoring in business? The most surprising thing was realizing how connected people in the business community are. When it comes to building up your professional network it’s incredible to see how quickly a few connections can add up, linking you to thousands of professionals across numerous fields. It’s fascinating to see this spider-web of connections form, and really shows why it’s so important to maintain these relationships and avoid burning any bridges.

Which academic, extracurricular or personal achievement are you most proud of? Being accepted into the Questrom Honors Program was definitely one of my proudest moments during college. I remember going to an accepted student day during my senior year in high school and hearing from a panel of HP students, so to join that program after coming to BU was a huge accomplishment for me. Additionally, the program has afforded me the opportunity to travel to both Estonia and Finland, as well as engage in weekly seminar discussions about complex business topics. The network of students within the program is unlike any other group I’ve been a part of, and the faculty do an amazing job of working together to make sure students are getting the most out of the program.

Which classmate do you most admire? While many of my classmates have done some incredible and admirable things, I’d have to say I most admire my good friend Smeet Patel. Smeet is always curious and ready to take on any academic challenge that comes his way. When he finds a topic that interests him he’ll commit hours to learning and understanding every facet of it, both inside and outside the classroom. He’s willing to take risks and abandon the traditional path in both his academic and professional pursuits, leading to some incredible experiences. Knowing about his background and the different struggles he’s faced makes his commitment and persistence to achieving academic success across a wide variety of fields even more admirable in my eyes.

Who would you most want to thank for your success? My parents have done an incredible job putting me in a position where I could be successful. Being a first-generation college student is something that I take a lot of pride in. Knowing how hard my parents had to work to get me to where I am today is something that I’ll always be grateful for. My dad taught me the value of having a strong work ethic, waking up at 5 a.m. every day for such a physically demanding job just to make sure that my sister and I were taken care of. My mother is just an incredibly strong woman who lives by the golden rule and is willing to drop everything in order to help her friends in need. The love and encouragement they have provided me with over the past 22 years is what made all my other accomplishments possible.

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

  1. Start my own financial literacy company
  2. Work abroad for a year

What are your hobbies? Tennis, basketball, and debating sports

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

“Brian was a student in my QM221 class. I made an immediate connection because we were both from Roslindale.  We went to high schools across the street from each other and our fathers were both plumbers. He was among my very best students in class so I was very happy to have him join me as a teaching assistant.  The best thing about Brian is that you never have to ask him about something twice – he is always on top of things. It’s such a pleasure to work with him because everything is done before I have to ask – made my life much easier!! He is very smart, works very hard, is conscientious and just a nice young man.  He will be successful at whatever he chooses to do.”

Mark G. Kean
Master Lecturer, Markets, Public Policy, and Law
Boston University Questrom School of Business


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