2020 Best & Brightest: Sarah Braza, University of Pittsburgh

Sarah Braza

University of Pittsburgh College of Business Administration

“Stays busy, enjoys exploring new places, loves meeting new people, never misses a power nap.”

Fun fact about yourself: I was an extra in the movie Grown Ups and high fived Adam Sandler after filming the scene.

Hometown: Doylestown, PA

High School: Central Bucks East High School

Major: Business Information Systems, Supply Chain Management, and Marketing

Minor: Certificate in Business Analytics

Favorite Business Course: Advanced Analytics

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles During College:

  • Nordenberg Leadership Scholar
  • Pittsburgh Students Active in Lutheran Ministry (President)
  • Kappa Delta Sorority (Vice President of Finance)
  • Blue and Gold Society, Phi Beta Lambda (Vice President of Public Relations)
  • Teaching Assistant
  • Dean’s List
  • Omicron Delta Kappa Leadership Honorary
  • Admissions Ambassador for the College of Business Administration
  • Women in Business
  • American Marketing Association
  • Pittsburgh Alumnae Panhellenic Scholarship Award
  • Interstate Advertising Managers’ Association (IAMA) 2018-2019 Scholarship Award
  • Outside the Classroom Curriculum Honorary Society
  • Pitt Business Outstanding Freshman Award
  • Homecoming Court Member 2019
  • Resident Student Association Member

Where have you interned during your college career?

  • Business Technology Analyst Summer Scholar at Deloitte Consulting (Arlington, VA)
  • Marketing Intern at SCOPEN (Madrid, Spain)
  • Marketing Intern at HighPoint Solutions (East Norriton, PA)
  • Operations Intern at HighPoint Solutions (East Norriton, PA)

Where will you be working after graduation? I will be working as a Business Technology Analyst at Deloitte in Arlington, Virginia.

Who is your favorite professor? Three business professors immediately come to mind: Kaushik Mitra, Andy Hannah, and Bob Atkin. I cannot select just one because narrowing down to three is difficult enough with 150 class credits. These professors share with the students their passion for what they teach. They want students to succeed and actively work inside and outside of class with you to help you to reach a higher level of understanding; they have a comprehensive industry experience to relate and share with the class; and, they deftly apply course concepts to business world scenarios, instead of keeping class instruction 2-D and exam-based. They have each played instrumental roles in my academic career and if I had not met them and taken their classes, I do not think I would be where I am today doing what I love. Thank you!

What did you enjoy most about your business school? My favorite experiences and strongest memories took place in the experience-based learning classes (EBL). I was fortunate enough to take multiple courses at Pitt Business through the Honors program as well as through my class curriculum to complete my degree. Instead of memorizing terms, we put our knowledge and newly-developed skills to use by providing corporate clients with viable solutions to their problems. I was able to develop concepts I learned in classes and put them to practice under the guidance of experienced professors.

What has surprised you most about majoring in business? What surprises me still is how much my interests and considerations evolved over four years. If I had another year to study, I’m certain that another major, certificate or minor would capture my attention. During my first year at Pitt, I was sure I wanted to be a pharmaceutical sales representative and that I would minor in Spanish. Now, I have accepted employment as a technology consultant. Each year, my course selections evolved, as opportunities and interests multiplied, following a diverging path to reach a destination I had never considered before. I am glad I pursued new academic avenues.

Which academic, extracurricular or personal achievement are you most proud of? I am most proud of receiving the Nordenberg Leadership Scholarship to study at the University of Pittsburgh. I was nominated in high school for leadership exhibited in clubs and sports. I came to Pitt for a weekend and had ten different rapid interviews. I was honored to be selected and the program has fulfilled my expectations and enriched my collegiate experience. My desire to be a worthy recipient has given me a positive push to live up to former Chancellor Mark Nordenberg’s expectations, while also paying tribute to the scholarship’s purpose of encouraging leadership development, academic achievement, and civic engagement. It has also given me numerous growth opportunities and fostered a cohort of like-minded students who are leaders in their respective disciplines.

Which classmate do you most admire? I greatly admire Mark Novales as a peer and a friend. I met Mark my freshman year. Since then, I have appreciated his upbeat and constantly positive attitude.  He is an outgoing, encouraging person who enjoys being active inside the classroom and outside the classroom activities. Mark founded LSA (Pitt’s Latinx Student Association), which now has around 35 members. He is someone who sees a need and immediately thinks about how he can fill the void or solve the problem – all with a smile and maybe a dance! Together, we’ve worked in class groups, studied abroad in Vietnam, and served as Ambassadors to Pitt in the Blue and Gold Society.  He’s one of the best, but there are multiple high achievers that I wish I could recognize as well.

Who would you most want to thank for your success? As classic as it is, I most want to thank my parents and my brother. My brother is one of the primary reasons I fell in love with Pitt. He pushed me to do better in school and take full advantage of the experience. He graduated in 2017 and getting to visit him in Pittsburgh while watching him succeed in his education and career was so motivating. I also am immensely thankful to my parents. They both consider college a necessity and a privilege and expected their children to strive for the best. Their support and encouragement have been paramount in my success and confidence, as I have navigated my undergraduate studies and internships. It pushes me still to do more and achieve my goals.

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

  1. I want to aim high, so I would like to be in the C-suite of an organization, to effect change on a broader scale, and be able to pioneer decisions that are sustainable and innovative.
  2. I hope to serve on a philanthropic board in my community. I believe to live is to serve and I would love to be able to give back on a broader scale.

What are your hobbies? My hobbies are going to museums, traveling, listening to podcasts, trying new baking recipes, spending time with friends, and reading.

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

“As Director of Academic Advising, I applaud the achievements of students and I cheer as they move on with their life’s work. However, watching Sarah Braza graduate from the University of Pittsburgh will be a little bittersweet for me. I will miss Sarah’s joy. Simply crossing Sarah’s path has always made my day a better one, and I know this is true for many others in the Pitt community.

Sarah includes the words “choose happiness” in her description of herself – and that is a spot-on portrait of Sarah. During her college journey, Sarah has realized that she does not always have to agree to take on yet another job or obligation and that she has the right and power to say “no” in order to choose happiness. I hope Sarah carries this realization with her throughout her life.

Of course, Sarah has said “yes” to a huge number of opportunities at Pitt. She is a triple Business Information Systems, Supply Chain Management, and Marketing major, and she is also earning a Certificate in Business Analytics. Sarah has studied abroad twice in college. She traveled to Vietnam at the end of her first year as a participant in the Plus3 program, and then to Madrid following her sophomore year to complete an 8-week-long internship though the Pitt Business International Internship Program. Sarah somehow also found the time to serve in numerous leadership positions in student organizations, work as an account executive for the Pitt News and most recently to intern with Deloitte Consulting as a Business Technology Analyst in Washington D.C. during summer 2020. Sarah will be joining Deloitte Consulting full-time upon her graduation.

Reflecting on teaching Sarah in his Advanced Analytics Projects class, Professor Andy Hannah notes: “Sarah has a unique blend of energy, intelligence and work ethic that you rarely see in an undergraduate. It is the combination of these elements that make her instantly likable and makes you feel confident that she will excel in the responsibilities that she willingly accepts.”

Beyond Sarah’s positivity, she has made many other valuable contributions to Pitt Business.  Sarah is currently serving as a grader for Database Management. In this role, Sarah collaborates closely with Professor Kaushik Mitra to provide detailed feedback to students on topics ranging from data modeling to database design, implementation and use. Sarah works hard to help her fellow students succeed. Those who work with Sarah in the future will benefit from her strength as an “includer” –- Sarah will elevate every team on which she serves, because she will always look for the best in each person.

Additionally, Sarah has served the school as a Pitt Business Student Ambassador. In the role, Sarah meets with prospective students and speaks at admissions programs. Sarah is an excellent Ambassador; as a recruiter, Sarah’s love of Pitt and honesty shine through. While Sarah’s accomplishments could be intimidating to prospective families, she is so genuinely friendly and warm that she puts families at ease immediately. Sarah is a fantastic representative of our program and the ways that students can thrive in it. She serves as a model for younger students and has no doubt inspired a number of prospective students to follow her lead and enroll at Pitt Business.

Sarah has truly made Pitt Business a better, brighter, and more welcoming and inclusive community. I am very proud to claim Sarah as a graduate of Pitt Business, and I look forward with great anticipation to seeing all that Sarah will accomplish in the years to come.”

Liz Adams
Director of Academic Advising

“What makes Sarah unique is a perfect blend of knowledge, personal and interpersonal skills. It is not rare for students to excel in one of these areas, but to have all of these in the right proportions is rare. A great student does not only improve his or her own knowledge base as part of the course but elevates the class as a whole. That, in my opinion, is Sarah. She is a great student on her own. But through her interactions, she acts as the catalyst in the classroom that transforms it into a vibrant, powerful learning platform that it is supposed to be. It thereby elevates the learning experience for everyone else.

Sarah has always shown great leadership skills, but without being often revealing herself as the leader. She takes everyone along with her and her groups to excel in delivery, precision and time management. I find her personal and inter-personal skills to be her biggest assets and they would take her to dizzy heights in the days to come no matter where she goes. It has always been a pleasure having her in class and I wish her the very best.”

Kaushik Mitra
Clinical Assistant Professor


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