2023 Best & Brightest Business Major: Ben Boxell, University of Denver (Daniels)

Ben Boxell

University of Denver, Daniels College of Business

“Compassionate, driven leader striving to help others in any way I can!”

Fun fact about yourself: I was a swimmer growing up and swam for my high school as a one-man team.

Hometown: Clarendon Hills, IL

High School: Westmont High School

Major: Accounting

Minor: Business Information & Analytics and Leadership Studies

Favorite Business Course: ACTG 3034: Accounting Data Analytics with Beth Flambures

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles During College:

  • Microsoft Office Certification Program Teaching Assistant and Proctor
  • Club Swimming Member
  • Beta Alpha Psi—Accounting Fraternity—Member
  • Pioneer Leadership Program Member
  • Hornbeck Scholars and Dean’s List Recipient

Where have you interned during your college career?

  • Risk Assurance & Advisory Services Intern at Armanino LLP in Denver
  • Accounts Payable Intern at Prologis in Denver

Where will you be working after graduation? After undergraduate graduation, I will be continuing my education at the University of Denver to pursue my Master’s in Accounting.

What is the biggest lesson you gained from studying business? The biggest lesson I have learned from studying business is the importance of being able to pivot. As someone who likes plans and structure, I have learned that there is value in changing plans; I began my freshman year on a pre-med track. After taking a few data analytics courses as electives, I realized that I wanted to pursue business instead. I switched my major to business information and analytics my sophomore year, and in doing so was required to take two accounting courses. It was then that I discovered my love for accounting and switched my major again. Being open to changing my plans allowed me to discover what I truly wanted to study and the direction in which I wanted to take my career. I have seen this same concept consistently throughout my studies and internships; I begin with a plan for tackling a project or assignment, but often realize that there is a better way to do it part-way through my plan. Pivoting can be hard in the moment—especially when you have already put time and effort into something—but studying business has taught me that being able to do so pays off.

What has surprised you most about majoring in business? What surprised me most was the importance of communication and presentation skills to success in business. It is frequently preached that in order to be successful in business, you need to have a unique, innovative idea and the technical skills to execute that idea. However, I have noticed that communication and presentation skills take precedence over any great idea or technical skill; one could have the greatest idea for a new product or solution to a business problem and the technical skills to execute it. However, if they cannot eloquently communicate their ideas to their superiors, investors, or other stakeholders, their creative thinking and technical skills are rendered useless. Accounting and data analytics are often thought of as fields relying heavily on technical knowledge and less on soft skills. However, through my studies and professional experience, I have realized that could not be further from the truth; being able to communicate and present ideas effectively is critical to success in business, even if one has innovative ideas and strong technical skills.

Looking back over your experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently in business school and why? I have thoroughly enjoyed my undergraduate experience and would change very little; my time in business school has fostered immense personal, professional, and academic growth. Although I would not make any dramatic changes to my experience, I would tell my freshman self not to shy away from failure or be afraid of making mistakes. As a perfectionist, I often poured hours into schoolwork and paid meticulous attention to every detail to prevent failing or making a mistake. From all the lectures I have attended and books I have read, I have learned the most from the mistakes I have made. As such, I would advise myself to reframe failure and mistakes as incredible learning opportunities rather than something to fear.

What business leader do you admire most? One business leader I admire is Yvon Chouinard, founder of Patagonia. Not only did Chouinard successfully build a multi-billion-dollar company in less than fifty years, but he also transferred the ownership of that company to a special trust and non-profit upon retirement to ensure that all of its profits are used to combat climate change. Throughout his career, Chouinard remained dedicated to preserving our planet and built a company just as dedicated to the cause as he was. I am inspired by Chouinard’s commitment to doing good through environmental activism and hope that I remain as committed to a cause throughout my career as he did.

Which academic, extracurricular, or personal achievement are you most proud of? At the University of Denver, accounting students progress through the accounting curriculum in a cohort known as the “core.” Students take most—if not all—of their classes each quarter with their core. As such, they form strong relationships with their peers; they see each other every day and constantly work together on class projects. Recently, my core voted me “Best Group Member,” an achievement I am incredibly proud of. Although this is by no means a prestigious or well-known award, it is far more meaningful than any other recognition I could receive based on academic or personal success; I strive to be someone whom others trust and want to work with,. I want to have a reputation for producing high-quality work while maintaining strong relationships. Being voted Best Group Member demonstrates that I am accomplishing this goal; I am proud to be recognized for working well with others and being someone that my peers—a group of incredibly smart, talented students—know they can rely on.

Which classmate do you most admire? I continuously look up to Corin Turner, a classmate in my accounting core. Not only is Corin a fantastic student, but she also has an unparalleled ability to connect and form relationships with others. In class, Corin is inquisitive and strives to understand the underlying reasoning behind everything we do; she is not afraid to ask questions or push back on something she disagrees with. Most importantly, however, Corin is an incredible friend who continuously supports and advocates for all of her peers. I am beyond grateful to be able to call Corin a classmate and good friend.

Who would you most want to thank for your success? My mom has contributed immeasurably to my success, and I would not be on this list if it were not for her continuous support. From helping me with my math homework in elementary school, to reviewing my essays in middle school, to providing career advice as I wrap up college, my mom is the number one person I turn to for guidance. She inspires me endlessly, motivates me to pursue my dreams, and pushes me to be the best version of myself. I cannot thank my mom enough for all that she has done and continues to do for me.

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

  • Get my CPA by summer 2024
  • Make Forbes 30 Under 30 list

What are your hobbies? I love to travel, swim, ski, spend time with friends, and workout.

What made Ben such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2023?  

“I am thrilled to see Ben Boxell acknowledged as one of the Best and Brightest Business majors. This honor is well deserved. His talent has been clear from the first time I met him during a introductory accounting course. He absorbs material quickly and very willing shares his knowledge with group members and other study partners. This ability to communicate has carried over into his work as a teaching assistant. He makes a point to not only instruct the students but develop a one-on-one relationship with them that creates an atmosphere of trust and respect. Outside of school, this carries into his work as a lifeguard and swim instructor. Ben is combining together several different business areas (accounting, analytics and legal studies) that will give him a well-rounded body of knowledge to take into the business world. The academics combined with his fantastic attitude makes it a pleasure to work with him. I look forward to seeing the wonderful things he does professionally.”

Kathleen Davisson
Assistant Director, School of Accountancy
University of Denver, Daniels College of Business


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