2022 Best & Brightest Business Major: Samantha Garza, University of Minnesota (Carlson)

Samantha Garza

University of Minnesota, Carlson School of Management

“I am a very driven and dedicated woman, who aspires to make positive change in this world with whatever I do!”

Fun fact about yourself: Fun fact is I was the first, leap-day baby born, in Minneapolis, in the new century (2000)!

Hometown: Champlin, MN

High School: Champlin Park High School


1) Finance

2) Supply Chain Management and Operations

Minor: N/A

Favorite Business Course: My favorite business course was “Behavioral Finance.” I liked this course because it not only went over the mechanics of investing, but also the psychology behind why investors make decisions. The class felt very full circle as I remembered some of the concepts from a class, I took my freshman year called “Intro to Psychology.”

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles During College: I was a part of many extracurricular activities in college. Some of those included activities based around my education, so I was a member of SAFA (Student Accounting and Finance Association), Supply Chain Operations Club, and the Real Estate Organization.

I was a part of clubs that were centered around my personal identity as a Latina like Thrive, which is a group for underrepresented students. I was a peer mentor for this group and mentored five incoming freshmen. Also, five of my friends and I are founding members of the collegiate chapter of ALPFA at the UMN (Association of Latino Professionals for America).

The last few extracurriculars I was involved in were for admissions. I was a student ambassador who represented the Carlson School by giving tours and info sessions to prospective students. I also was a crew leader where my role was to help first-year students (about 15) get accompanied with college their fall semester.

Where have you interned during your college career? After my sophomore year, I interned with Lockton Companies doing property and casualty brokerage. Then, after my junior year, I worked for Deloitte in their risk and financial advisory practice. I continued this internship through my senior year working part-time!

Where will you be working after graduation? After graduation, I will be moving out to Boston to work for Deloitte as an analyst in their risk and financial advisory practice.

Who is your favorite professor? Hands down my favorite professor is Stuart Webb. He was someone that was a major factor in choosing a finance major. I had him for four different classes, and he became someone I could look up to. He not only cared about me as a student but also as a person and my well-being. He was always there to help me out when I needed it!

What is the biggest lesson you gained from studying business? The biggest lesson I learned from studying business is that there is not always a right answer, which leads to ambiguity. I learned that, to be in business, you have to be OK with ambiguity. Sometimes, there is going to be a business problem that isn’t so black and white, so your solutions must get creative.

What advice would you give to a student looking to major in a business-related field? I would advise them to get involved in many different areas of business. The broader the scope of your knowledge, the more valuable you become. So many parts of business are intertwined and having experience in areas other than your field of study will help you go so far!

What has surprised you most about majoring in business? I was surprised by how much overlap there was in my different classes. It really drove home how intertwined business is.

Looking back over your experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently in business school and why? If I could do one thing differently, I would try to get a data analytics or MIS minor. From my experiences, technological literacy is becoming increasingly important. Not only are companies having you look at the financials but also the systems that run those. It helps to be able to have a basic understanding of those.

What business executive do you admire most? I really admire any strong female leader. Lately, I’ve been really inspired by Jessica Alba and her brand Honest Beauty that she started. I love her dedication to making a sustainable beauty brand and using her platform to spread awareness.

Which academic, extracurricular or personal achievement are you most proud of? I am most proud of my time being the lead of Carlson’s student body government’s (Business Board) Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee. During my time, we were able to implement a class about DEI, advocate for faculty/staff training, and bring awareness to issues related to DEI in business. This work was very meaningful for me because,m when I first started college, I wish I had seen more of this work being done. I decided if I wanted to see a change, I had to be the change. With support and help from many faculty, staff, and students, we were able to make some very important changes.

Which classmate do you most admire? I really admire my former classmate Jael Kerandi. Although she is only a year older than me, I look up to her so much. She taught me the importance of being an advocate. She is always so brave enough to share her thoughts and speak out even when she knew she would get pushed back. I admire her strength and resilience. She is also THE hardest worker I know; I hope one day, I can be half the woman she is.

Who would you most want to thank for your success? I would thank my parents. I don’t know what I would do without them. My dad always taught me the importance of living my life as my true authentic self. He said, “There are going to be people who may not like you, for whatever reason. Never let that stop you from being YOU.” My mom showed me what being a strong woman looked like. She always told me to move with grace and be confident no matter the circumstances. These are both very valuable lessons that have attributed to my success today!

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

1) Work and live in a different country for a period of my life

2) Make the Forbes 30 Under 30 list

What are your hobbies? I really enjoy traveling. I hope to do more post-graduation! I also really like to hang out with my friends and do things outside like going to the beach, going on walks, and having bonfires. I try to stay as active as I can, so I do a lot of running and lifting. I also grew up as a competitive dancer, so I try to do as much of that as I can!

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

“Ever since meeting Sammy as a freshman in our Carlson School Thrive program (a community of high-achieving underrepresented students), I knew she was an amazing person and future leader. She is kind, charming, energetic, humble, empathetic, inclusive, responsible, and most of all, committed to her own success and that of others around her. To say that Sammy is a joy to work with and be around is an understatement.

During her sophomore year, she became my intern in the position of a Thrive Peer Mentor, connecting and supporting incoming first-year students, as a Latina, to navigate a predominantly white college. She has held many leadership positions with student groups and helped start the University of Minnesota ALPFA Chapter. She facilitated and led difficult conversations around race and belonging with Latinx students at the Carlson School. As an outreach ambassador, Sammy has impacted the lives of many middle school students from underrepresented and low-income backgrounds, visiting classrooms, and inspiring young scholars to reach their higher education goals by sharing her college journey. Through her love of learning, and passion to stand up for oneself and one’s beliefs, she has influenced many peers to be the best they can be, and is a beacon of light and positivity for the Class of 2022.”

Angela Murray
Coordinator of Diversity Initiatives at the Carlson School




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