2022 Best & Brightest Business Major: Emily Eason Kruse, University of Virginia (McIntire)

Emily Eason Kruse

University of Virginia, McIntire School of Commerce

“Empathetic “woohoo” girl with humble confidence, well-planned love for others, and “sunshine guardian angel” energy.”

Fun fact about yourself: I was born in Minnesota, where the Mississippi River is blue and now live where it’s described as the “Muddy” Mississippi

Hometown: Ridgeland, Mississippi

High School: St. Andrew’s Episcopal School

Major: Commerce

Minor: None

Favorite Business Course: Foundations of Global Commerce

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


  • Jefferson Scholar: Recipient of UVA’s premier merit-based scholarship chosen based on the pillars of scholarship, citizenship, and leadership covering the entire cost of attendance for four years, plus additional enrichment experiences
  • Echols Scholar: Recipient of academic status honoring top 5% of students each year for outstanding academic achievement, academic leadership, and felicity of expression
  • Raven Society: Member of the oldest and most prestigious academic honorary society at UVA, founded in 1904
  • Lenox-Conyngham Scholarship Finalist: Eligible for comprehensive funding for one-year MPhil program at the University of Cambridge


  • Rangeland Ecology & Educational Outreach: Teacher and Project Lead, Sisseton, SD. Lead a research project focused on the environmental impacts of bison vs. cattle grazing and education for Indigenous youth. Recipient of funding totaling more than $95,000 from the Jefferson Trust, Center for Global Health, and Community Based Undergraduate Research Grant for the project travel, lab expenses, and community engagement.
  • Madison House: Co-Head Program Director of Youth Mentoring and Volunteer, Charlottesville, VA. Recorded more than 350 hours of service as a volunteer and Co-Head Program Director.
  • Chi Omega Fraternity: Treasurer, Charlottesville, VA
  • Virginia Equestrian Team: Publicity chair, Charlottesville, VA
  • Economics Department: Tutor, Charlottesville, VA

Where have you interned during your college career?

  • Bain & Company, Atlanta, GA: Associate Consultant Intern
  • McIntire School of Commerce, Charlottesville, VA: Teaching assistant
  • Sealand Gear, Cape Town, South Africa: Management Consulting Intern (Virtual)
  • com, Norfolk, VA: Intern
  • ETB Consulting, Irvington, VA: Finance Intern and Analyst

Where will you be working after graduation? I will be completing MPhil in Development Studies as a member of Trinity College at the University of Cambridge next year, then I’ll be working at Bain & Company as an Associate Consultant in Atlanta.

What is the biggest lesson you gained from studying business? The best lesson I’ve learned in business school was the value of teamwork. Before my experiences in McIntire classes, group projects often felt like a chore. However, in business school, my teams always focused on using each member’s strengths to support the group. Also, I gained precious experience in leadership, compromise, and communication. I learned how important it is that every team member gives 100% of their effort to the group’s work. Ultimately, working in teams taught me to be flexible and embrace iteration.

What advice would you give to a student looking to major in a business-related field? The best advice that I would give students looking to major in business is to use mentors and professors and to think critically about their personal goals for the future. First, if you’re seeking advice about whether studying business is for you, utilize older students and faculty to advise you in your decision. Developing interpersonal skills early will continue to support your learning in a business-related major. Second, I would tell students to challenge themselves to think beyond the job they might think they want after they graduate. What helped me the most in deciding my goals was asking myself where I wanted to be at the pinnacle of my career. This meant embracing my many passions and strengths, and it helped me prioritize the best academic path for me.

What has surprised you most about majoring in business? The most surprising part about majoring in business was the camaraderie at McIntire. At UVA, the business school has the stereotype of being heavily finance-focused and intense. Instead, my experience majoring in business was full of incredible professors, challenging yet rewarding team projects, and the common feeling that “We’re all in this together.” The people at McIntire were incredibly supportive and valued collaboration over competition. I’m so grateful to my fellow students for making my time and business school incredibly fun and full of more highs than lows.

Which academic, extracurricular, or personal achievement are you most proud of? I am most proud of my work as part of a research team where I serve as a co-teacher for youth of the Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate Tribe. I collaborate with tribal partners to develop a project-based curriculum which aims to create a learning experience where youth can find synergies and differences between Native American and Western knowledge. The education program engages students in a week-long class centered on the environment and empowerment. For the past two years, I have written virtual lesson plans and organized UVA professors to present virtually on topics including astronomy, water laws, and pollination. Collaborating with the Native American community allowed me to embrace Indigenous culture while acting as a mentor for youth. The opportunity to live and learn with such incredible UVA researchers and Native American students gave me perspective on what it means to serve, listen, and lead empathetically. This partnership has motivated my passion for youth development, molded me into a more adaptive team member, and hopefully created long-term relationships between the Native American community and UVA students.

Which classmate do you most admire? All of my classmates at McIntire are truly incredible students and individuals. If I had to choose one peer that I admire the most, it would be Carson Reeves. People gravitate towards Carson. She has a magical way of making everyone around her feel immediately included and comfortable. Her intelligence, poise, and radiant smile welcome people wherever she is. It inspires me how Carson can balance her rich friendships, schoolwork, and all of the craziness of college.

Besides just making people feel welcomed, Carson is easily one of the most generous and selfless people I know. She is also a clear team player who gives 100% in everything. Carson’s group members would quickly tell you that she is the heart of the team, highlighting her humble intelligence, her kindness, her organizational skills, and her empathetic listening abilities. Carson is an all-around superstar friend, student, and servant to the communities she belongs to, and she inspires me every day.

Who would you most want to thank for your success? The answer to this question is an easy one for me. I want to thank my mom for my success. Without her incredible devotion to me as a parent and years of support, I could not have accomplished what I have done so far. My mom is easily the most emotionally intelligent person I know, and she has instilled in me the importance of humility, hard work, and kindness to everyone. She models thoughtful relationships, fierce confidence, and compassionate leadership in everything she does. Mom, thank you so much for all of the sacrifices you have made for me and for cheering me in all of my endeavors. I could not have made it without our daily phone calls (a.k.a. pep talks) that inspire my “hear me roar” attitude!

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

  • Work and live outside the United States
  • Be my own boss

What are your hobbies?

  • Art – digital design, watercolor painting, calligraphy, collaging
  • Cooking and baking (@eats_by_eek)
  • Hiking and camping

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

“If you focused only on her GPA or recognition as a member of the prestigious Raven Society, you might think that Emily Kruse is simply an academic Rockstar. You would be wrong. Emily Kruse has an unusually broad range of noteworthy talents that she has leveraged over the past three-and-a-half years to make a significant and lasting impact on the University of Virginia. She has been an engaged member of the University community—serving in leadership positions in Madison House (the independent volunteer center at UVA), Rangeland Ecology & Educational Outreach, and the Chi Omega Fraternity. In fact, Emily was recently featured in a UVAToday article: “How Two Students Inspire Native American Youth Through Science.”

In my estimation, Emily is the most passionate and capable contributor to classroom discussion that I have taught in my 36 years as a university professor. Based on her exceptional performance in my classes, I asked Emily to serve as my teaching and research assistant this year. After six months of working together, I don’t know what I will do without her! As a testament to our high regard for her, my colleagues and I have asked Emily to meet one-on-one with each of our candidates for a faculty position at UVA, which led one candidate to remark:

“I was thoroughly impressed with Ms. Kruse’s erudition and ability to uncover hidden complexities of business and social events, clearly demonstrating her potential of becoming a reflective and transformational leader.”

Without a doubt, Emily Kruse will be a transformation leader.”

R. Ryan Nelson
UVA McIntire School of Commerce Murray Research Professor and Director of the Center for the Management of Information Technology


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