2020 Best & Brightest: Catherine Xu, Emory University (Goizueta)

Catherine Xu

Emory University, Goizueta Business School

“Part-time perfectionist who believes in speaking from the heart, spreading joy, and standing with others.”

Fun fact about yourself: I spent Christmas of my freshman year summiting Mt. Kilimanjaro with my dad!

Hometown: Sugar Land, TX

High School: Luanda International School of Angola (2015-2016), International School of Western Australia (2014), and James E. Taylor High School (2012-2014)

Major: Business Administration with concentrations in Information Systems & Operations Management and Marketing

Minor: N/A

Favorite Business Course: Marketing Consultancy Practicum

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles During College:

Leadership & Community Involvement

  • Goizueta BBA Council – President
  • Emory Undergraduate Student Leadership Council – BBA Representative
  • Marketing Consultancy Practicum – Teaching Assistant
  • Emory Student Government Association – Legislator
  • Oxford College Business Club – Public Relations Chair
  • Oxford College Residential Education Services – Resident Assistant

Honors & Awards:

  • Emory 100 Senior Honorary
  • Asian Pacific Islander American Public Affairs Scholar

Where have you interned during your college career?

  • Bank of America, Charlotte, NC – Global Risk Management Summer Analyst (Summer 2019)
  • Coca Cola Company, Atlanta, GA – Student Consultant (Spring 2019)
  • S. House of Representatives, Sugar Land, TX – Legislative Intern (Summer 2018)

Where will you be working after graduation? I am thrilled to be joining Bank of America in Charlotte, NC as a Global Risk Management Analyst after graduation!

What company do you admire most? From seeing its barebones operations within a garage transform to its current status as one of the most recognisable apparel brands in fitness, I admire Gymshark. The brand not only delivers high-quality products, but it also empowers individuals and entire communities to be “visionaries” through its social presence. My enthusiasm for health and fitness aside, I admire any brand that is able to inspire individuals in their day-to-day lives.

Who is your favorite professor? Allison Burdette. Burdette brings Business Law to life through her vivid stories, “dances”, and overall infectious spirit. Her unique approach to teaching conveys her passion for the subject and ultimately elevates the learning experience for students.

What did you enjoy the most about your business school? I enjoy the growing appreciation for establishing traditions at Goizueta. With the recent celebration of our 100-year anniversary, we are particularly mindful of creating traditions that will transcend time.

What advice would you give to a student looking to major in a business-related field? Pursuing business will welcome a lot of firsts – your first LinkedIn message, your first “15-minute call”, your first interview, your first offer… your first rejection. Amongst all the firsts, it becomes easy to lose perspective on the moments in which there will come a second, a third, and so on. For students looking to pursue business, I encourage you to have patience and be resilient enough to follow your pursuits beyond all the firsts. There is truly a whole world of opportunities for us to seize.

What has surprised you most about majoring in business? Overall, during my time a Goizueta, it has been surprising but also promising to see how much of my learning occurs beyond the walls of a classroom. Growing up with little exposure to the business world (round of applause for STEM parents!), I always held the impression that on a very fundamental level I would develop business intuition and understanding within the classroom. In reality, it’s the countless group assignments, candid discussions in cars, “aha” moments during interviews, and so much more that have built the foundation of my business education.

Which academic, extracurricular or personal achievement are you most proud of?
While I treasure my involvements within the Emory community, I am most proud of a fairly recent personal achievement. A few months ago, I ran my first half marathon and in a month, I look forward to running my second.  With running being one of my least favorite forms of exercise, I am proud of my commitment to the uncomfortable and all my consistent efforts thereafter to not just overcome but appreciate it. So who knows, maybe a full marathon is on the horizon… if not, I’ll settle with two halves to make a whole!

Which classmate do you most admire? Myra Chao is an incredibly bright, driven, and thoughtful individual who I not only admire as my peer but am also lucky enough to call my best friend. When we first met during our sophomore year when I was her RA, I had no idea that our mutual love for green tea would flourish into an invaluable friendship. One of the qualities that I admire the most about Myra is her almost effortless ability to be present with others.

Who would you most want to thank for your success? I often speak of how all my accomplishments and growth thus far have been made possible by the unconditional support of my entire family. However, I would like to specifically thank my youngest brother, Gabriel Xu, for being a continuous source of inspiration and motivation. At only 13, although already inches taller than me, Gabriel is a budding tennis player and one of the most passionate individuals I know. Gabriel, thank you for always showing me the value of celebrating our victories, overcoming and even embracing our losses, and discovering growth both on and off the center court.

What are the top two items on your professional bucket list?
1. Attend the Tableau Conference
2. … Host a conference of my own!

What are your hobbies?
I love going on road trips… windows down, a solid Spotify playlist, light breeze, and a whole lot of sun. I also love spending early mornings in the kitchen, whether it’s testing original recipes or crafting a classic avocado toast. I love pushing myself in the gym, often finding “phantom bruises” surface a few days later. Above all, I love exploring new hobbies that allow me to meet new people and be a part of new communities.

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

We have been extremely fortunate to have Catherine serve as our President of the 2020 BBA Council!  She is incredibly energetic and unwaveringly upbeat. She is seemingly everywhere at once and has an uncanny ability to be on top of even the smallest detail of anything that is happening in the program.  One of her most admirable qualities is her commitment to, and fierce advocacy of, equity and opportunity for all BBA students. She is a disciplined steward of program resources and continuously dedicated to delivering maximum value to as many students as possible.

In the words of her favorite professor, Allison Burdette, “There is an adage: be a like a duck, smooth on the surface, but paddle like the devil underneath. BBA Council President Catherine Xu is this proverbial duck.  She indeed is grace itself on the surface. But, with leadership roles spread across campus, she is truly paddling like crazy underneath. She is a leader that leads so effortlessly that you will probably just notice the progress that is occurring and not notice her role in making that progress happen. She leads with a smile that belies the steel in her character that is determined to ensure that students’ voices will be truly heard.”

Andrea Hershatter
Senior Associate Dean and BBA Program Director


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