2023 Best & Brightest Business Major: Brendan Fowler, University of Richmond (Robins)

Brendan Fowler

University of Richmond, Robins School of Business

“A human engine, revvin’ 24/7.”

Fun fact about yourself:  I started my first business venture at 6 years old, selling rocks and pinecones to neighbors (attempting to stand out from the classic lemonade stand). Since then, I’ve generated independent revenue streams by completing neighborhood jobs and growing a private swim lesson business. Today, I’m the co-founder and CEO of a beverage startup, TwinTail Brews.

Hometown: Madison, New Jersey

High School: Madison High School

Major: Business Administration – Concentrations in Finance and Entrepreneurship

Minor: NA

Favorite Business Course:

Bench Top Innovations with Professor Joel Mier and Shane Emmett – a year-long program where students bring an innovative food or beverage product from idea to revenue in 9-months.

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles During College:

  • Alpha Kappa Psi Business Fraternity – Chief Financial Officer, Master of Rituals, VP of Alumni Relations, VP of Communications
  • Gateway Capital Management – Vice President of Operations
  • Student Admissions Representative – Office of Admissions Intern, Campus Tour Guide
  • Q-Camp Ambassador
  • Raymond Hailey / Tredegar Inc. Scholarship
  • Dean’s List – All-A Distinction (All-Semesters)
  • Beta Gamma Sigma International Business Honors Society
  • Omicron Delta Kappa National Leadership Honors Society
  • Phi Eta Sigma National Honors Society
  • Club Swim Team
  • Club Tennis Team

Where have you interned during your college career?

  • Bank of America in New York, NY – Investment Banking Summer Analyst
  • Harris Williams in Richmond, VA – Investment Banking M&A Bootcamp Analyst
  • ShoreBridge Capital in New York, NY – Alternative Assets Summer Analyst
  • Boxwood Partners in Richmond, VA – Investment Banking Intern

Where will you be working after graduation? Bank of America in New York, NY – Investment Banking Analyst

Who is your favorite business professor? I’m fortunate to have learned from many truly incredible professors at the University of Richmond. Throughout my undergraduate education, finance professor Joseph Farizo stands amongst the best because of his commitment to students inside and outside the classroom. Professor Farizo – who goes by Joe –  has an infectious passion for finance that he disperses throughout the classroom and uses to motivate his students. Beyond class, Joe goes above and beyond to support his students, offering individual appointments to review course materials or provide other professional advice. I was lucky enough to take an Investments course with Joe early in my finance curriculum and build a lasting relationship that will carry on for years. I appreciate all Joe has done to advance my academic and professional career – he pushes me to set high goals and reach them!

What is the biggest lesson you gained from studying business? Being a successful business leader requires more than core technical skills. It also means being a well-rounded individual with a global perspective and the ability to connect with others.

What advice would you give to a student looking to major in a business-related field? Become comfortable with being uncomfortable. Push yourself to take advantage of every opportunity offered to you, create new opportunities, and explore your passions. It will lead to success!

What has surprised you most about majoring in business? Relationship building is one of the most important skills business leaders can have. Many business majors go to school understanding the importance of analytical skills and underplaying the personal side of the business. Throughout my education, taking classes such as business communications and organizational behavior, I realized how fundamental creating meaningful relationships is in the business world. Whether collaborating with colleagues or pitching to clients, strong relationships are the foundation of successful business ventures.

Looking back over your experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently in business school and why? I wish I’d broadened my business course load earlier in my academic career. Entering business school, I knew I wanted to study finance, and I focused all my efforts on expanding my financial knowledge and landing a career in investment banking. I’m proud to have accomplished my goals, and I look forward to the job ahead of me. However, understanding the importance of being a well-rounded business leader, I could have benefited from pushing myself beyond my comfort zone to take classes outside of my core competency. As an upperclassman, I’ve done this, taking classes like Creative Thinking and Environmental Management to challenge my thought patterns and expand my knowledge base. Ultimately, this has given me a more holistic view of the business world that will benefit me throughout my investment banking career.

Which academic, extracurricular or personal achievement are you most proud of? My proudest accomplishment is my admittance into the University of Richmond. Growing up, I struggled academically, performing at a lower level than many of my peers. Noticing this at a young age, my family proactively tested me for learning disabilities, and I was eventually diagnosed with dyslexia. My diagnosis changed the trajectory of my life, helping me understand my strengths and weaknesses and providing me with an opportunity to overcome the challenge. I used my diagnosis to empower me, combating the challenges associated with dyslexia by finding creative ways to learn. I embraced the different ways my brain thinks and created the work ethic I have today. By the time I was a senior in high school, I was a top student in my class, and getting into the University of Richmond was a testament to my persistence and grit. The University of Richmond has given me the confidence to follow my dreams and the belief that hard work pays off. I’m grateful for the educational opportunities and growth I’ve experienced as a spider.

Which classmate do you most admire? Will Shapiro is a classmate and good friend whom I highly respect and admire. Will is a role model within the Richmond community as a charismatic, hard-working, and humble leader. Will welcomes everyone he meets with a smile and selflessly lifts those around him. Beyond supporting others, Will is one of the hardest working classmates I know, setting ambitious goals and tackling them head-on. His resilience drives him to tremendous success – all while maintaining high moral standards and humility. Will motivates me to be the best version of myself.

Who would you most want to thank for your success? My mom is my #1 supporter and biggest fan. She is the rock that grounds me, and the foundation of my success. I want to thank my mom for supporting me through the highs and lows and never failing to leave my side. My mom is the parent I hope to become – she is loving, caring, giving, and dedicated to her children’s’ success. Whether being disciplined at times or letting her guard down at others, my mom is always there to react. She taught me to hard work, take responsibility for my successes, and adapt to challenges thrown my way. My mom leads by example and inspires me every day.

Mom, I’m sure I don’t tell you enough, but thank you – for everything. You are the reason I am the person I am today. I love you.

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

  1. Collaborate with Richmond alumni on a project or business venture as a working professional.
  2. Advance my career to a position where I can give back to communities and mentor others.

What are your hobbies? I enjoy spending time outside, going on walks, golfing, and playing tennis in my free time. Ideally, I love to be with friends or family when I have time to relax.

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

“Students of the Class of 2023 were challenged in ways other students had never been challenged before. Their first academic year was interrupted by a once-in-a-lifetime global crisis. They experienced what college could be, had that ripped from them, adapted on-the-go amidst incredible uncertainty, and were expected to quickly recover in a new, unknown, and scary environment.

And in this environment, Brendan thrived.

Certainly, he did extraordinarily well in each and every one of his rigorous classes at the Robins School of Business and the University of Richmond. And he doesn’t just “get the A”, he “gets it.” Whether that’s in Italian or Investments. Yet, many students can do that. What sets Brendan apart is his involvement and participation with our campus community. He is a leader in organizations ranging from finance to professional development, from guiding sophomores to guiding campus tours. He’s an entrepreneur, the CEO and part-owner of a burgeoning business, and a soon-to-be investment banking analyst in New York City.

I could write at length about these and his many other accomplishments, but what I’d rather speak to is his character. His role as a contributor. The respect he earns from his peers. The admiration he garners from his friends. The magnitude of his quality of character is so great that his impressive accomplishments could be relegated to footnotes in his life’s story.

Brendan is the type of student I wish I could have been, and the leader we should aspire to be. Question is, what didn’t he contribute to the class of ‘23?”

Joseph Farizo
Assistant Professor of Finance
Robins School of Business, University of Richmond


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