2023 Best & Brightest Business Major: Madeline Langley, Southern Methodist University (Cox)

Madeline Langley

Southern Methodist University, Cox School of Business

“Fierce and resilient competitor, people-oriented leader, creative and analytical thinker with a results-driven, entrepreneurial spirit.” 

Fun fact about yourself: #1 on my travel bucket list is going skydiving in Interlaken, Switzerland, which I hope to achieve this summer!

Hometown: Atlanta, Georgia

High School: The Westminster Schools

Major: Finance, Specialization in Alternative Asset Management

Minor: Ethics

Concentration: Real Estate

Favorite Business Course: My favorite business course at SMU has been the EnCap Investments & LCM Group Alternative Asset Management Center (the AAMC). Led by Professor William Maxwell, the AAMC is a rigorous finance program intended to prepare individuals for a career in alternative assets or investment banking through weekly case studies completed in teams of three students. Not only did this course help me to improve my technical abilities, but it also taught me how to think like an investor when assessing the “big picture” of a given deal or company. Most importantly, this course enabled me to connect with and work alongside other like-minded students at SMU Cox with career aspirations similar to my own. I believe the network created by the AAMC is what makes it so much more than a finance course. Even though I have officially completed the curriculum, a significant amount of my time is spent mentoring the current AAMC class by offering behavioral and technical interview advice, just as the students who came before me did for my classmates and me. With a shared desire to learn and improve, the opportunity to give back to the program by helping others accomplish their goals has been one of the most rewarding experiences throughout my time at SMU.

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles During College:

Encap & LCM Alternative Asset Management Center, Don Jackson Fellow – 1 of 10 students awarded a scholarship and selected to lead the next year’s Alternative Asset Management Class based on academic ability, integrity, work ethic, interpersonal skills, and performance within the AAMC program.

Boulevard Investment Group, Chief of External Affairs – Promoted through a rigorous and multi-part selection process based on overall performance and quality of both group and individual stock pitches. Currently, I mentor and assist the new junior analysts with equity research, valuation techniques, career advice, and presentations skills.

Pi Beta Phi Sorority Texas Beta Chapter, Vice President of Finance and Housing – Manage the annual operating budget by allocating funds to executive members and consistently tracking expenses. Also approve resident housing contracts, collect, post, and deposit payments to improve cash flow for the chapter.

Delta Sigma Pi Professional Business Fraternity, National Member – Selected as 1 of 31 new members out of 100+ applicants to attend a nine-week learning course fostering the study of principled leadership in business and initiated into Delta Sigma Pi as a National Member.

SMU Mustang Heroes, Student Volunteer – Volunteer for student-led service projects such as Habitat for Humanity and Feed the City to benefit the Dallas community.

Hegi Career Leader, Sophomore Leader – Accepted into advanced professional development program to establish strong connections with colleagues and employers through specialized career counseling sessions and targeted networking events.

SMU Club Soccer, Team Member – Led practices, organized drills, and facilitated communication for a total of 5 seasons.

Hilltop Scholar, Freshman Scholar – Awarded to students who have demonstrated high academic achievement and an interest in service.

Girls Who Invest Online Intensive Program, Online Scholar – Accepted into selective educational program created to build a strong network of motivated women and to provide students with a solid understanding of the investment industry and core investment concepts through three educational modules including CFA Institute Investment Foundations, Wall Street Prep, and Wharton Online Foundations of Investment Management.

SMU Awards:

  • Honor Roll with High Distinction for 6 consecutive semesters (Cox top 5%)
  • College tuition paid through Provost Scholarship, BBA Scholarship, Niemi Scholarship, and Don Jackson Fellowship (all merit-based)
  • Beta Gamma Sigma International Business Honor Society

Where have you interned during your college career?

Crestline Investors, Inc. – Dallas, TX – Client Partnership Group, Student Intern

Ernst & Young – Dallas, TX – Strategy and Transactions, Summer Launch Intern

Goldman Sachs – Dallas, TX – Specialty Lending Group, Summer Analyst

Where will you be working after graduation?

Goldman Sachs – Dallas, TX – Specialty Lending Group, Analyst

What advice would you give to a student looking to major in a business-related field? My advice to a student looking to major in a business-related field is to lean into your strengths and to work closely with mentors to continue developing these skills. Once you establish what your strengths are, it becomes much easier to strategize how to succeed and how to differentiate yourself from others. For me, this meant incorporating creativity into my degree and in my line of work. While most people do not associate creativity with finance, I believe the ability to imagine and assess the story of a given investment is just as important as understanding the numbers. By thinking unconventionally, I have been able to distinguish myself in class and in previous internship opportunities.

What has surprised you most about majoring in business? I am most surprised by the power of a strong network. I have learned that the capabilities of a team will always surpass what can be accomplished by an individual. Therefore, your network and the people supporting you are your greatest asset.

Looking back over your experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently in business school and why? If I could redo my undergraduate experience, I would start by asking more questions! Looking back, I wish I had been more proactive about asking for clarification or additional information, especially during the pandemic when classes shifted online. As a senior, I became far more engaged and interested in course topics when I asked more questions. Expressing curiosity also conveys genuine interest and promotes communication, both of which are necessary to lead a successful career in business.

What business leader do you admire most? The business leader that I admire the most is Sara Blakely, the founder of Spanx, for her willpower and ability to transform a vision into a successful product. Blakely initially started Spanx in her garage but has transformed the brand into a billion-dollar corporation designed to empower women. With no fashion, retail, or business ownership experience, I admire Blakely for being a first mover with the confidence to take a risk and the ability to innovate. Even with an initial $0 marketing and advertising budget, Blakely successfully sold her products by relying on the story of her brand and creating a compelling narrative that resonates with many women. Additionally, I admire Blakely for using her platform to prioritize philanthropy. In 2006, she created the Sara Blakely Foundation, which aims to mentor women through education, entrepreneurship, and the arts. Then, in 2013, she became the first woman to join Bill and Melinda Gates’ “The Giving Pledge,” which serves as a promise to donate the majority of her wealth to charity.

Which academic, extracurricular or personal achievement are you most proud of? The accomplishment that I am most proud of is being accepted into the Boulevard Investment Group (BIG). Led solely by SMU students, BIG is a non-profit, equity-only fund created to teach incoming business students about investing and various valuation methods through thesis-driven stock pitches. As 1 of 15 junior analysts selected from a pool of 200+ applicants, I was thrilled to be accepted into such a coveted group after a rigorous and competitive application process. The older students within BIG encouraged me to pursue a degree in finance and they all played a crucial role in my preparation for the EnCap Investments & LCM Group Alternative Asset Management Center. Since the initial decision to apply to BIG was my own idea, being accepted into the group is one of my most fulfilling achievements. No one advised me to join the group, rather it was my own intellectual curiosity that motivated me to take a risk and apply. I was highly rewarded for taking the initiative to consider the opportunity, to ask relevant questions, and most importantly, to act on my conclusions. Without the knowledge and experience gained from being a part of BIG, I would not be where I am today.

Which classmate do you most admire? While it is challenging to name just one classmate that I admire, the individual who comes to mind is Josh Hascall. Not only is Josh a great friend, but he is an incredible mentor and someone whom I view as a key role model in my own life. Currently, Josh serves as the President of the Boulevard Investment Group and spends a large portion of his time teaching younger students within the group. He is an extremely dedicated leader and truly cares about motivating those around him. With a knack for inspiring others, Josh is a high-performing individual with an impressive mind, yet he exhibits a humble attitude in all that he does. Overall, I admire Josh for his optimistic mindset, relentless work ethic, and commitment to educating others, all of which have demonstrated that with enough hard work, no goal is ever too far out of reach.

Who would you most want to thank for your success? There are numerous people in my life who have helped me progress to where I am today, but the person that I most want to thank for my success is my dad. My dad has always been a man who wears many hats—a caring father, clever entrepreneur, encouraging coach, honest critic, dedicated fan, and genuine friend. From an early age, I can remember my dad managing a growing business, while still making time to drive weekly carpool, cheer me on at soccer games, cook late-night dinners, and help me with my homework. I am beyond thankful for the resources and support that my dad provided me, but I am most grateful for the way in which my dad exemplifies what it means to succeed. My dad has always encouraged me to pursue ambitious career goals, but he has taught me that genuine success is the result of leading a fulfilling life. Personal fulfillment looks different for every individual, but my dad defines it through three simple categories: having something to pursue, someone to love, and something to look forward to. Based on this definition, I have learned that success is not attained through status or title, but rather achieved through living a balanced and purposeful life.

What are the top two items on your professional bucket list? The top two items on my professional bucket list are 1) to learn and grow under an expert and 2) to become an expert, so I can educate and mentor others.

What are your hobbies? Trying new sushi restaurants, CorePower Yoga, watching Survivor, DIY projects, and traveling.

What made Madeline such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2023? (Please include name and title)

“Madeline Langley is truly one of the Cox School’s best and brightest students. She is fearless without being intimidating, brilliant without airs, and a natural leader. Her charming personality will put anyone at ease, but she is not to be underestimated. This young woman can scale any mountain, whether academic or extra-curricular.  Universally adored by Cox faculty and staff, Madeline is also a willing and helpful mentor to other students. We know we can always count on her to be the best student in the class, and any time we need student volunteers, Madeline is our first call.  I get excited knowing that very soon Madeline is going to be telling people that she graduated from the Cox School. There are few students who are better representatives of all we strive to be as a business school, and we are proud to share her profile with the world.”

Jim Bryan
Associate Dean, BBA Programs
SMU Cox School of Business


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