2022 Best & Brightest Business Major: Christopher Smith, University of Georgia (Terry)    

Christopher Smith    

The University of Georgia, Terry College of Business

“Always down for an adventure, whether that’s exploring a big city or climbing a mountain.”

Fun fact about yourself: I traveled to the easternmost point of the United States, which, by travel, is in St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands.

Hometown: Snellville, Georgia

High School: Brookwood High School

Major: Economics

Minor: Certificates in FinTech and Personal & Organizational Leadership

Favorite Business Course: Urban Economics

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles During College:

Black Business Student Association | President

Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. | Assistant Georgia Area 8 Director

Terry Ambassador

Deer Run Fellow

Institute for Leadership Advancement | Leonard Leadership Scholar

Institute for Leadership Advancement | Diversity and Inclusion Task Force

Office of Student Financial Aid | Peer Financial Counselor

Capital Markets Lab | Student Assistant

Division of Student Affairs Student Advisory Board

Management Leadership for Tomorrow | Career Prep Fellow

NABA Future Leaders Scholarship Recipient

The Apollo Society | Real Estate Analyst

Transfer Student Experience Peer Mentor

Economics Society Member

Where have you interned during your college career?

Summer 2019: Management Leadership for Tomorrow, Data Analytics & Research Intern, Washington, D.C.

Summer 2020: PwC, Advisory Intern, Atlanta, GA

Summer 2021: Citi, User Experience Product Summer Analyst, New York, NY

Where will you be working after graduation? I’ll be working at Citi as a Treasury and Trade Solutions (TTS) Analyst in New York, NY.

Who is your favorite professor? My favorite professor is Dr. Gregorio Caetano. I took Urban Economics with Dr. Caetano during my junior year, and I enjoyed how he tailored the class towards students’ interests to present the content in an engaging and relevant way. During the class, we analyzed many pressing issues through the lens of economics: such as gentrification, poverty, education, and social capital. While completing a Service-Learning Project for my Leadership certificate that focused on creating entrepreneurial resources within inner-city Atlanta, Dr. Caetano was of great help to my group as we thought through effective solutions that would expand opportunity in Atlanta for local entrepreneurs.

What advice would you give to a student looking to major in a business-related field? As an underclassman, it is important to show up to events and opportunities hosted by your college whether they be employer informational sessions, leadership fireside chats, or student organization meetings. Many times, you never know who you may meet or what you may learn simply by showing up. Showing up is a first step, but I’d also recommend asking questions to make yourself memorable. Starting this as a first- or second-year student makes recruiting for jobs and internships a lot easier during your third or fourth year. Additionally, I’d recommend finding a peer mentor who you can provide you with professional development support.

What has surprised you most about majoring in business? I have been most surprised with how business intersects with a variety of industries. For example, during my FinTech certificate, I have learned how traditional finance is being disrupted by new technology and software. I have also enjoyed learning about the intersection of business and law, particularly through studying banking and investment regulation through my FinTech & Financial Services Law class. There’s a place for people of all different types of educational backgrounds in the business world.

Looking back over your experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently in business school and why?  I wish I would have done better at keeping in contact with people I met at networking events. Business leaders are usually willing to help students, but they also meet a lot of students each year, so it is important to keep connections warm.

What business executive do you admire most? I admire Jony Ive, who previously served as the Chief Design Officer of Apple. Growing up, I always anticipated the annual release of the new iPhone. Jony Ive always described the product design of Apple products in an intriguing and exciting way. I appreciate how he has transformed human interface design and made Apple products an intuitive experience for its customers.

Which academic, extracurricular or personal achievement are you most proud of? I am most proud of serving as President of the Black Business Student Association. During my tenure, the executive board has created programs and opportunities to help black students adjust to the Terry College of Business. Last year, we created a mentorship program which connects freshmen to upperclassmen with the goal of expanding access to professional development resources and providing community for like-minded business students. With alumni support, we also instituted a new signature program called the “Wealth and Development Program,” which sponsors ten students annually to visit the Silicon Valley to meet with venture capital executives and learn more about technology and entrepreneurship. I am energized by increasing access to resources, and it’s been a joy to do that while in this leadership role.

Which classmate do you most admire? I most admire my friend Sabina Ashurova. Sabina is a fourth-year student majoring in Economics and pursuing a MS in Business Analytics. When I transferred to UGA, Sabina helped tremendously with my transition to campus by connecting me to people with similar aspirations and interests. Sabina is one of the most hard-working and resilient people I know, and she always remains humble and sincere throughout her success. She’s a great example of “lifting as you climb,” as she’s always finding time to help others and give back.

Who would you most want to thank for your success? I would like to most thank my parents, Archie and Solina Smith, for my success. Growing up, they emphasized the value of hard work and perseverance. They are always in my corner, providing me with constant support and encouraging me if I feel down. A few years ago, they kept telling me to “trust the process.” I may not reach my goal every single time, but they have taught me that if my intentions are pure, I will always end up where I need to be in due time.

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

  1. Go on an international business trip
  2. Work in a position that focuses on increasing economic mobility for marginalized communities

What are your hobbies?

Seeing new places, watching college football, listening to interesting podcasts, spending quality time with friends, and eating Chipotle.

What made Chris such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2022?

“I got to know Chris when he was competitively selected for our Deer Run Fellows, which is a leadership class I teach that culminates with a weekend leadership retreat. Chris has made the most of his opportunities at the Terry College of Business, and he’s impressively demonstrated his leadership potential at the University of Georgia. He’s held executive roles with the college’s Black Business Student Association and his fraternity Alpha Phi Alpha, and he’s given generously of his time to a number of student groups as a peer counselor, mentor, and board member.

Chris has an engaging, outgoing personality, and what I’ve seen in him is a sharp focus on achieving his educational and professional goals, while growing as a person who wants to embrace leadership responsibilities for the organizations he supports and believes in. He’s served as a student ambassador for two years. Chris is always ready to answer questions, give fellow students advice on getting involved, and he works for stronger connections across a big business school like Terry. Chris has had substantive internship experiences with PwC and Citi, and I am enthusiastic about what the future holds for him after graduation.”

Benjamin C. Ayers, Dean
Earl Davis Chair in Taxation
Terry College of Business







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