2021 Best & Brightest Business Major: Grant Stierwalt, Miami University (Farmer)

Grant Stierwalt

Miami University, Farmer School of Business

”If Ryan Reynolds were a finance major from Ohio.”

Fun fact about yourself: I love dress clothes and used to work at Men’s Wearhouse

Hometown: Bowling Green, OH

High School: Bowling Green High School

Major: Finance

Minor: Analytics

Favorite Business Course: BLS 342 – Legal Environment of Business

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles During College:

  • Awards: Business Honors Program, President’s list (4 semesters) and Dean’s list (3 semesters), First-place in the West Monroe Partners’ “Best in the Midwest” Case Competition
  • Community Work: Volunteered at Community Adult Day Services (Adult daycare), led children’s ministry at Oxford Bible Fellowship, helped with tornado relief in Nashville
  • Leadership Roles: VP of Professional Development for Alpha Kappa Psi, VP of Honor Code for the Business Student Advisory Council, Project Manager for East Bridge Consultancy, Advisor for the Miami University COVID Consulting Initiative
  • Extracurriculars: Coached the Miami Women’s Club Basketball team, intramural sports (basketball and broomball), worked as both an assistant in the business school as well as a tutor

Where have you interned during your college career?

  • Bain & Company | Associate Consultant Intern | Chicago, Illinois
  • Textron Specialized Vehicles | Financial Planning & Analysis Intern | Augusta, Georgia
  • PointClickCare | Corporate Development Intern | Mississauga, Ontario (Canada)

Where will you be working after graduation? Bain & Company, Associate Consultant

What company do you admire most? The company I admire most is Khan Academy. I recently listened to an interview with the company’s founder, Sal Khan, and was inspired by his values and his ability to implement those values into the business. Khan gave up a lucrative job at a hedge fund to pursue the idea of Khan Academy, a decision that led to financial stress on Khan’s family. For years he has turned away would-be investors to ensure the company could maintain its nonprofit status, believing the company’s platform should be accessible to people of all financial backgrounds. I believe the company stays true to its ambitious mission to “provide a free, world-class education for anyone, anywhere” and for this reason I admire Khan Academy.

Who is your favorite professor? My favorite professor is Dr. David Shrider because of his passion for student learning and exceptional teaching. Dr. Shrider teaches international finance, a course that is widely regarded as one of the hardest within the finance major. Despite the course’s difficulty, Dr. Shrider makes the content approachable by engaging students and encouraging questions at every step of the way. He has struck the perfect balance between being fair and challenging students –something every professor strives for, but few can achieve.

What is the biggest lesson you gained from studying business? Investing in relationships is the best decision you can make in school and beyond. I received invaluable help throughout college from peers and faculty with whom I had fostered strong relationships. These people ultimately opened doors for me that I am sure would not have been available to me otherwise. Business has taught me a simple truth: you don’t make it alone in this world.

What advice would you give to a student looking to major in a business-related field? Invest in relationships. Without a doubt (see previous answer). My other piece of advice would be to start getting involved early. Clubs and organizations will not only help you professionally, but also make college feel more like home and help you “find your people.” I see too many sophomores (and even juniors) wake up one day and realize they need to fill in their resume because they waited too long to get involved on campus.

What has surprised you most about majoring in business? It was the importance of critical thinking, especially compared to the importance of technical skills. I had a narrow view coming into college that finance majors would learn XYZ skill and then this skill would be a fundamental part of every job he or she did. In my limited job experience, it seems about 20% of the job draws on technical knowledge and 80% requires critical thinking. This now makes sense – I learned throughout college that there are any number of different jobs within a field of business and the responsibilities of each role vary.

Looking back over your experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently in business school and why? I would have made studying abroad a priority when mapping out my four years. Early in college I was very focused on academics and finding a job – study abroad wasn’t expected to help me with either. Entering my final semester, I’ve come to realize experiences like study abroad are just as valuable as educational opportunities and should not be brushed to the side.

Which academic, extracurricular or personal achievement are you most proud of? Last year, I was meeting with one of the new members of my business fraternity when he asked, “Who do you look up to most in the chapter?” After answering, he informed me that my name was one of the most common answers among the other members he had asked. I felt proud and humbled because as someone who had so many strong mentors in my first two years at Miami, I knew how much it meant when someone set a positive example and went out of their way to be a part of my life. One of my life goals is to make an impact on those around me, and to hear that I was living out this goal was worth more than any “A” or academic achievement.

Which classmate do you most admire? Evan Jones is the classmate I most admire. I have had the pleasure of working with Evan on a variety of projects and they have been some of the smoothest team experiences I have ever encountered. Evan is intelligent, but more importantly he is a diligent worker. The last to complain and first to raise his hand for more work, Evan figures out how to produce high quality work regardless of the deliverable. Evan genuinely enjoys learning and is an asset to any team.

Who would you most want to thank for your success? My high school cross country coach, Pat Carney. Pat saw me as a person first and a runner second, something very few of my coaches had ever done. Throughout high school, Pat invested in me both on and off the field. He accepted nothing less than my best, teaching me many life lessons and the value of prioritizing the important things in life. I will never forget the time after I had a bad race and Pat pulled me aside at practice. I thought he was going to dwell on the poor performance, but instead he said, “I’ve noticed you haven’t been yourself lately and seem down. Is everything alright? Is there something going on at home?” Pat, thank you for showing me how to treat other people and strive for greatness.

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

  1. MBA at Stanford or Harvard
  2. Lead a business unit or company

What are your hobbies? Basketball, Disc Golf, Reading, Card tricks, Cooking, Running

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

“Grant Stierwalt is a spectacular student. He earned the highest score in my class by a very wide margin. However, that is not what sets him apart. Grant is relaxed, confident, humble, and curious about everything.”

David Shrider
Associate Professor of Finance



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