2020 Best & Brightest: Dillon Baxter, Southern Methodist University (Cox)

Dillon Baxter

Cox School of Business at Southern Methodist University

Always striving to achieve excellence in everything that I do.”

Fun fact about yourself: I taught myself how to play golf by reading Golf Digest and watching Golf Channel.

Hometown: Austin, TX

High School: Lake Travis High School

Major: Finance

Minor: N/A

Favorite Business Course: Derivatives

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles During College: I played on the SMU Men’s Golf Team and I was nominated to be a Don Jackson Associate where I represent the business school in events and help mentor fellow students who are pursuing careers in finance. + I also am a member of the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity.

Where have you interned during your college career? I currently work at a private equity firm called Sky Island Capital where I am helping with Business Development. Last summer, I worked in the Special Situations Group at Houlihan Lokey in Dallas, and before that I was a research analyst for a legal and financial services firm called Mackey and Associates.

Where will you be working after graduation? I will be returning full time to work in the Special Situations Group at Houlihan Lokey. 

Who is your favorite professor?  William Maxwell, the head of the Alternative Asset Program, is my favorite professor because he has built an incredible network of individuals who will provide opportunities for SMU students to get the most competitive finance jobs in the world for many years to come.

What did you enjoy most about your business school? Being involved in the Alternative Asset Program was the most fun thing I did in college. The opportunity to be surrounded by the smartest and most driven students at SMU was an invaluable experience, and I learned more in one semester than I did the rest of my college experience combined.

What is the biggest lesson you gained from studying business? I learned the most from studying successful leaders, and how they have allocated their time and focus. I strive to be the best version of myself and observing how other business leaders conduct themselves is the best blueprint for personal achievement.

What advice would you give to a student looking to major in a business-related field? My advice: be persistent in your learning, there is nothing about business that can’t be understood with enough hard work and willingness to learn.

What has surprised you most about majoring in business? The number of highly-motivated and skilled individuals in finance surprised me. I grew up wanting to play professional golf. When I had to retire due to back injuries, I didn’t realize that I would end up surrounded by people who are just as passionate and skilled in their profession as professional athletes. It made the transition so much easier.

Which academic, extracurricular or personal achievement are you most proud of? I’m most proud of receiving a golf scholarship to SMU. I didn’t start playing competitively until 7th grade, and I didn’t take any lessons until my junior year. When I started, I just consumed all the information I could find about the golf swing and used it to build my game from the ground up. I also never had a membership at a country club. I chose to work various jobs at golf courses to use their facilities. The moment I got the call that all the hard work had paid off was and likely always will be the best moment of my life.

Which classmate do you most admire? I most admire Everett Ray, a classmate on the SMU basketball team, who has suffered through multiple difficult injuries but has never wavered in his pursuit for excellence both academically and athletically.

Who would you most want to thank for your success? I thank God. I have been extremely blessed at every point in my life with the opportunities that have been given to me.

What are the top two items on your professional bucket list? I want to be the CEO of a Fortune 500 company and be in a position where I can make a material positive impact on the world.

What are your hobbies? Wake-surfing, rock-climbing, basketball, and golf

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

“There is almost no challenge Dillon Baxter cannot meet head-on. He is at the top of our most competitive SMU Cox BBA program, the Alternative Asset Management Program. He has landed an amazing job after graduation and his passion for the environment led him to found a start-up to help deal with the pollution caused by single-use plastics. If that doesn’t impress you, how about the fact that he taught himself to play golf by reading about the game and earned a spot on our division one program! Dylan represents the best of what we have to offer in the Cox School: brilliant in the classroom, caring of others, resilient, and determined. We are so proud of his accomplishments at SMU Cox, but best of all, we know that he is going to move forward after graduation to make good use of his innate talents and his solid business education, and make a positive difference in the world.”

Jim Bryan
Associate Dean
SMU Cox Undergraduate Program



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