2021 Best & Brightest Business Major: Ashley Servais, Texas Christian University (Neeley)

Ashley Servais

Texas Christian University, Neeley School of Business

I’m like ice cream – cool-headed, well-liked, but melts very quickly in the Texas heat.”

Fun fact about yourself: I impulsively decided to buy a corgi puppy, Pita (named after the bread) during the pandemic.

Hometown: Medina, MN

High School: Providence Academy (Plymouth, MN)

Major: Supply & Value Chain, Marketing

Favorite Business Course: Consultative Selling with Corey Hutchison

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work, and Leadership Roles During College:

  • 2020 AWESOME Scholar – Top 5 Female Supply Chain Student Nationwide
  • Neeley Fellows Honors Business Program – VP of Membership & Programming (2019), International Liaison (2020), Peer Advisor & Mentor (2021)
  • Study Abroad – John Cabot University – Rome, Italy (Spring 2020)
  • Gamma Phi Beta Sorority – Executive Education VP, Bid Day Planner, Assistant Finance VP
  • Student Foundation – University Host (Tour Guide)
  • Delta Sigma Pi Business Fraternity – Member (2018-2020)
  • TCU Chancellor’s Scholar
  • Dean’s List (Every Semester)

Where have you interned during your college career?

  • Centiro Solutions – Boston, MA (Remote) – N. America Sales & Business Development Intern
  • Craftwork Coffee Co. – Fort Worth, TX – Supply Chain Intern
  • Education is Freedom – Dallas, TX – Non-Profit Marketing Plan Intern
  • Fi Holdings, Inc – Fort Worth, TX – Digital Advertising Intern
  • MineralWare – Fort Worth, TX – Land & Client Services Intern

Where will you be working after graduation? Dell Technologies – Austin, TX – Supply Chain Development Program (3-year Rotation Program)

Who is your favorite professor? My favorite professor, Dr. Robert Rhodes, unfortunately, passed away from COVID-19 last fall. I will forever remember the impact he made on me through his Legal Environment of Business class, and I hope I can show even a sliver of his greatness through this little paragraph here.

Dr. Rhodes taught me the ever-important skill of analyzing any situation through critical thinking – praising arguments and thought-processes over answers. He also helped reignite my passion for learning for the sake of learning, rather than for the sake of grades. Dr. Rhodes approached every class with a booming voice that captured everyone’s attention from the beginning of class until the end, a larger-than-life attitude and genuine care for his students.  There is one memory I have of Dr. Rhodes that captures this genuine care best. I remember going to office hours with a question about tort law and leaving with the exact same question. Instead of talking about class content, we talked about my purpose in life, his adventures in Italy, even his Catholic conversion story.

With his genuine love for teaching and care for his students individually, Dr. Rhodes was a man who was MADE to be a professor. He was someone who I wish taught every single one of my classes. I wish I could sit through just one more of his engaging Socratic discussions. I am so thankful that I crossed paths with Dr. Robert Rhodes – he was truly unforgettable.

What is the biggest lesson you gained from studying business? Business is a dynamic vehicle for changing the world for the better. In my Strategic Management class with Suzanne Carter, we discussed the notion of shared value. Shared value argues that a company can advance the economic and social conditions of nearby communities while enhancing the competitiveness of the company. To put it simply, both companies and communities in need can win together – making a positive impact on the triple bottom line (people, planet, and profit).

What advice would you give to a student looking to major in a business-related field? Learn from your classmates – especially in your junior and senior years. My supply chain and marketing upper-level classes covered completely different content than my friends’ finance and accounting classes. Also, learn from older students and alumni during your early college years. Take students to coffee. Ask them why they chose their majors and what their internships looked like. It can be daunting to choose a major so early without understanding what each major does in the real-world. And lastly, give back as a mentor to younger students when you are a senior in college and alumni. Remember what your life looked like just a couple of years back, have empathy, and be a sounding board for younger students as they decide on a future career path.

What has surprised you most about majoring in business? I knew the phrase, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know” before majoring in business. However, I did not realize how big of an emphasis business places on relationship building and human connection. Everything about business concerns relationship management – the relationship between you and your boss, between you and the team you lead, between your company’s brand and the consumers, and between buyers and suppliers. The importance of relationships in business was even greater than I initially thought.

Looking back over your experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently in business school and why? I would start listening to a business news podcast my freshman year. I just started getting into the habit of listening to “Snacks Daily” during the latter half of my college career. The business world is constantly changing. News sources, whether email newsletters, online journals, or podcasts, are like living textbooks. Applying concepts from class to the dynamic business world around us makes learning so much more enjoyable and impactful.

Which academic, extracurricular, or personal achievement are you most proud of? In 2020, I was named as an AWESOME Scholar for the year, along with four other incredible female supply chain students across the country. AWESOME (Achieving Women’s Excellence in Supply Chain, Operations Management, and Education) is a female supply chain organization that connects women across companies and gives female business leaders a sense of community and support. This award had deep significance for me because of my relationship with my mom, who is an AWESOME member herself. My mother has been a huge role model to me, and I loved being able to literally follow in her footsteps through AWESOME.

Which classmate do you most admire? I have admired Emma Hofmeister, a fellow cohort member in the Neeley Fellows Honors Business Program, since I first met her on Facebook looking for a freshman year roommate. She is not only my best friend, but a rockstar both inside the classroom and outside the classroom. She is someone who makes everyone else around her better.

To put it simply, Emma manages to be extremely disciplined and wholeheartedly adventurous at the same time – a balance that very few people can strike. She is the type of person who wakes up at 5 a.m. to workout, puts her entire heart into preparing for every class, encourages deep discussions in class due to thought-provoking questions, and over-studies for every test two weeks in advance. I have never met someone who maximizes every hour of the day as Emma does. Most notably, Emma embodies the beauty of “saying yes.” She is the first to help someone struggling in a class or suffering emotionally, regardless of whether she knows them well. She has an adventurous spirit, always open to new opportunities to grow. Emma is extremely humble, generous, and kind – despite being one of the most accomplished people that I know.

Emma is probably the most overcommitted, yet joyful, person that I know. TCU is a better campus and I am a better person, thanks to Emma Hofmeister.

Who would you most want to thank for your success? Both of my parents, who both worked full-time in Supply Chain as I grew up, have been extremely instrumental in my success. If I had to choose one, my mother, Donna Servais, has had a massive impact on me. She is the reason I have never second-guessed my ability to succeed in business based on my gender.

Also, she has mastered the art of balancing her role as my mother with her success in her career. Looking back on my time in middle school and high school, I have countless memories of her sitting in the basketball stands. During warmups, she would be working on her laptop – but after tip-off, all her focus would be on the game. Thanks to her constant love and her example as a successful businesswoman, I have been blessed with the best live-in example of everything I hope to be in the future – a balanced devoted mother and leader in Supply Chain.

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

1) I hope to work internationally. Exploring different cultures has been a passion of mine for as long as I can remember. I first traveled internationally at 6 years old, with a trip to the Philippines (where my mother was born), and I’ve had the travel bug ever since. I’m fascinated by the variability in markets abroad compared to that of the U.S.

2) I intend on going back to school for my MBA in a few years. I could not be more excited about starting my career in Austin, TX. Since my sophomore year of college, I have been compelled by the tech industry – and Austin certainly is becoming a tech mecca! I would not be surprised if I stayed in Austin for a long time, so I currently have my eyes on the McCombs MBA program at UT – Austin (even though I will ALWAYS be a Horned Frog first)!

What are your hobbies?

1) Tearing up the intramural fields/courts with my best friends (especially basketball)

2) Exploring the outdoors with my corgi

3) Listening to Revisionist History podcasts (by Malcolm Gladwell)

4) Experiencing new cultures through travel

5) Seeking to understand others better through personality tests (favorite: the Enneagram)

What made Ashley such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2021?

“Ashley was fantastic to have in class and is a model TCU student. While dedicated to her studies, she is exceptionally well-rounded as a scholar. Her stand-out GPA and classroom performance are complemented by her engagement with campus organizations, industry groups, local businesses, and her study abroad experience. She is clearly committed to learning, but not simply for gaining knowledge – the course she has set for herself during her time at TCU has her on a path toward becoming a highly impactful professional in the years to come. I have tremendous respect for Ashley as a both a student and a member of the campus community, and I sincerely recommend her for recognition by your organization.

Ashley performed with performed with distinction and excellence in my Demand Planning course, which included a high degree of quantitative, analytical work in the class, as well as detailed written reports in which students had to explain their analysis and present their findings.

Ashley’s success has not been limited to my class. She has maintained an outstanding GPA of 3.89 while double-majoring in supply chain management and marketing, earning recognition on the Dean’s List every semester that she has been at TCU. She is a member of the elite Neeley Fellows honors program. She was selected for competitive internships for two consecutive semesters. During spring and summer of 2019, she worked for a mineral management company where, leveraging GIS software to address client revenue. In fall 2019, she transitioned to a role with a digital marketing firm, analyzing metrics to assess campaign performance.

In addition to these outstanding accomplishments, Ashley has maintained a healthy balance between academic and social activities. She is involved in both a social sorority, where she has assumed multiple planning and leadership roles, and a national business fraternity. She also has engaged with multiple campus organizations.”

Travis Tokar
Associate Professor of Supply Chain Management
Neeley School of Business
Texas Christian University


Questions about this article? Email us or leave a comment below.