2021 Best & Brightest Business Major: Lori Steffel, Emory University (Goizueta)

Lori Steffel

Emory University, Goizueta Business School

Deep-dish pizza-lover by day, coffee addict by night. Ben & Jerry’s enthusiast 24/7.”

Fun fact about yourself: I’ve given a speech from the floor of the United Nations General Assembly twice.

Hometown: Glenview, IL

High School: Glenbrook South

Major:  Finance, Strategy & Management Consulting

Minor: Business & Society

Favorite Business Course: Too many to pick just one – Business Law, Entrepreneurial Private Equity, Strategic Management, Business & Society, Future of Specialty Coffee

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

* Emory Student Government Association, Student Body President

– Vice President (2019-2020), Speaker of the Legislature (2018-2019)
* Wonderful Wednesdays, Head Moderator
* Undergraduate Student Leadership Council, Chairperson
* Lead Teaching Assistant (Legal Environment of Business & Strategic Management)
* Career Management Center, Career Coach
* University Senate, Executive Committee & Voting Member
* Alpha Kappa Psi Professional Business Fraternity, Vice President of Membership
* Residence Hall Association, First-Year Hall President
* Emory Reads Tutoring, Executive Board Member
* Mock Trial Team
* Orientation Leader
* Tour Guide

Awards & Honors:
* Dean’s List
* Emory University 100 Senior Honorary
* Social Ethics Community Service Scholarship

Where have you interned during your college career?
Camac Management (Atlanta, GA), Search Fund Analyst
Truist Securities (Atlanta, GA), Investment Banking Summer Analyst
SunTrust Bank (Atlanta, GA), Business Transformation Office Summer Analyst
United Nations (Chicago, IL), Communications Intern

Where will you be working after graduation? I’m very excited to be returning to Truist Securities full-time as an analyst in their Syndicated & Leveraged Finance Group.

What is the biggest lesson you gained from studying business? A former boss of mine once told me that “humility and a killer work ethic” are the two ingredients for success in almost any profession, and particularly business. By the same token, I’d posit that this is also what a business education teaches you. More broadly, it equips you with skills that you can apply anywhere. For a long-time, I thought I would work in the public sector or in nonprofits, but I realized that a business degree is incredibly versatile, and the skillset gained could be used in any field. I’m working in finance after graduation, but someday I might want to do something entirely different. Whatever that may be, I know I’ll be able to take my business degree with me.

What advice would you give to a student looking to major in a business-related field? Building relationships is everything. Very quickly, my least favorite word – and equally most valuable skill – became networking. Whether it’s your classmates, faculty, staff, or alumni, developing meaningful connections with those around you and maintaining them during your time in college and beyond is critical. Join clubs, get to know professors in office hours, or find professional mentors during internships. Every business is a people business, and I’m grateful that Goizueta taught me these skills so consistently and effectively throughout the BBA curriculum.

What has surprised you most about majoring in business? The people are way friendlier than the venture capitalists you see on Shark Tank. Growing up, I regarded that show (and particularly Kevin O’Leary) as synonymous with business. Fortunately, the staff in Goizueta’s BBA Program Office (and most everyone else I have met in the business world) are far less intimidating.

Looking back over your experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently in business school and why? I might take more classes in disciplines where I’m less comfortable, like coding or data analytics. I probably shied away from my academic weaknesses a bit too much in college. There’s no doubt that these skills will become more and more relevant (if not in the center) in the coming years. I also would have loved to study abroad, though I’m not sure it would have been worth trading the experiences and opportunities I was granted by remaining on campus all four years.

Which academic, extracurricular or personal achievement are you most proud of? Over the past four years, I’ve found that I’m often my peers’ go-to text message or email whenever they have a question about anything related to Emory. Being a walking encyclopedia on Emory administration, clubs, and academia is, long-term, probably one of the most useless skills you could ask for. However, I take modest pride in knowing that I’ve developed a reputation for being engaged in our community. The most gratifying part about being the student body president is helping a first-year get involved, developing new resources to make students’ lives just a little easier, or simply knowing that I’ve helped someone in some way, however small.

Which classmate do you most admire? The classmate I most admire is actually a former classmate: Gurbani Singh. She graduated from Goizueta in 2018 and is a tremendous role model of mine. She’s the reason I got involved in student government and fell in love with Emory. Though I only met her just before she graduated, witnessing her charisma and passion for Emory planted the seed that grew into my own. I’ve always believed that a sign of a great leader is someone who never has to speak of their own accomplishments to make them known because those around them already do so. This epitomizes Gurbani. I deeply admire the way that she befriends everyone and is never too busy for anyone. She’s one of the most revered leaders I know, and I can only hope to get to a point in my life where I engender that level of respect from my peers.

Who would you most want to thank for your success? I will be eternally indebted to my family, mentors, and too many individuals to name for all that they have afforded me, but it was my high school biology teacher, Mr. Koo, who was the first person to make me believe in myself as a leader. I met him on my first day of high school, more than seven years ago now, and he saw something in me that I’m not sure I saw in myself at the time – cliché as it sounds. He was the sponsor of our school’s service organization, Key Club, and he encouraged me to get involved. Through his guidance and mentorship, I developed a deeper understanding of and appreciation for service and eventually went on to lead the club for both my junior and senior years. Together, we grew it into the largest club at the school (to over 500 members) and had an absolute blast along the way. Mr. Koo instilled within me a love of service for which I’ll never be able to repay him.

What are the top two items on your professional bucket list? I’d really like to get to a place financially where I can help my mom retire. She’s worked nearly every day of her life since she was 16 and has sacrificed so much for my brother and me. She’s the most hard-working, selfless person I know, and I’d love to thank her for all she’s done by helping her relax and enjoy life.

I also want to audition for American Ninja Warrior one day. It’s not a professional item, but it’s definitely at the top of my bucket list.

What are your hobbies? In my free time, I love to play cards and board games, catch up with friends, and spend time with my many cousins.

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

“Serving as Emory University student body president is daunting at any time, but doing so now, when the college experience is unrecognizable and every program and ritual must be reinvented, is overwhelming. Through this unprecedented year, Lori has worked tirelessly across schools populations, and levels of the university as a voice of diplomacy, reason, and grace.  Her impact is evident in both broad-reaching and more focused endeavors. She serves as lead teaching assistant for the 400-plus students enrolled across the seven sections of Professor Allison Burdette’s Legal Environment course who says, “Lori’s dauntless nature is the panacea for the year of COVID – whether leading the transition of course material to an effective on-line model or fixing a computer testing glitch whilst fielding 100 student texts–her unflappable ability to get it done is truly amazing.”   Lori’s leadership is defined by a combination of an always-affirming attitude and never-wavering convictions borne, not out of any self-serving desire to mold conditions to her liking, but rather out of an unfailing sense of responsibility to those she represents and an unwavering loyalty to the higher principles of the organization she serves.”

Andrea Hershatter
Senior Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education
Goizueta Business School
Emory University



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