2023 Best & Brightest Business Major: Mikaela Sanders, University of Miami (Herbert)

Mikaela Sanders

University of Miami, Herbert Business School

“Hot chocolate connoisseur with a love for travel and adventure.”

Fun fact about yourself: I am a HUGE reality competition show fan and have seen every single episode of all 43 seasons of Survivor!

Hometown: Atlanta, Georgia

High School: The Westminster Schools

Major: Marketing

Minor: Strategic Communication

Favorite Business Course: MKT387 – Digital Marketing

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles During College:

  • TAMID Group at Miami – Consulting Project Manager
  • Hyperion Council Titan
  • Delta Sigma Pi Professional Fraternity – Former Senior Vice President
  • Miami Herbert Business School Management 100 Team Leader
  • President’s 100 – Campus Tour Guide
  • Most Outstanding First-Year Business Student
  • Hammond Scholar (Full-Tuition Merit Scholarship)
  • Miami Herbert Asian Endowed Scholarship Recipient
  • Foote Fellow Honors Program
  • Goldstein-Milo Marketing Scholars Program
  • President’s Honor Roll, Provost’s Honor Roll, and Dean’s List Recipient (2019-2022)

Where have you interned during your college career?

  • Google – San Francisco, California – Associate Product Marketing Manager Intern
  • Otis Elevator Company – Remote – Digital Marketing Intern
  • Amiso – Remote – Marketing and Engagement Intern

Where will you be working after graduation? Google – Bay Area, California – Associate Product Marketing Manager

Who is your favorite business professor? Mark Shapiro has provided me with a tremendous amount of support over my four years at UM that have really helped shape me into the business student I am today. Not only was he my Management 100 and Business Law professor, but he also served as a supportive career coach to me and so many other students in Miami Herbert, even before he had the official title. From aiding my decision to purse marketing during the fall of my freshman year, to critiquing the resume that eventually secured me my summer internship with Google, Professor Shapiro has guided me each step of the way in my business school journey, and I cannot thank him enough for all that he does.

What is the biggest lesson you gained from studying business? The biggest lesson I have gained from studying business is to embrace ambiguity as opportunity. Miami Herbert has encouraged me not to wait for direction on what to do, but to take the initiative to pursue goals I want to achieve and passions that interest me. I have also found that the combination of my business coursework and extracurriculars have made me feel so well prepared to enter the workforce.

What advice would you give to a student looking to major in a business-related field? I would tell any student interested in studying business to go for it! The value that a business education provides goes so far beyond the corporate world. Having a strong understanding of the fundamentals of business functions can be enormously useful to almost any job function one pursues, so why not learn those teachings early.

What has surprised you most about majoring in business? One thing that has surprised me about studying business is the applicability of the skills I have gained from it to other involvements I have had. For example, Miami Herbert students are required to take a course called BUS 300: Critical Thinking and Persuasion for Business, which focuses on public speaking on business topics, and as a campus tour guide, I am constantly having to speak publicly to prospective students and their families. I used to get nervous before each of my tours because I felt my skills were not the strongest, but I felt that BUS 300 instilled me with the confidence I needed to be a more effective public speaker.

Looking back over your experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently in business school and why? One thing I would do differently is seek out more coursework outside of the business school that interests me. Though I have a communications minor, and have studied abroad, I have heard about so many interesting courses through my non-business school friends that I wish I had the chance to enroll in.

What business leader do you admire most? As a marketing major who loves seeing unique and creative campaigns come to life, I really admire Rihanna and Fenty’s integrated marketing approach. It was so impressive to watch her take full advantage of the opportunity offered by the Super Bowl to launch football-themed makeup and fashion products ahead of the performance, incorporate the Fenty brand into her performance, and then sell the outfits from the performance on the Fenty website afterwards.

Which academic, extracurricular or personal achievement are you most proud of? I am most proud of being selected by Miami Herbert as the Most Outstanding First-Year Business Student. Coming into my freshman year of college, I lacked confidence in myself and my potential, but having my hard work be recognized so early on in my college career empowered me to aim even higher and continue to achieve throughout my four years.

Which classmate do you most admire? One classmate I really admire is Martina Kurchan (Class of 2025). Even though she is only a sophomore, she has already made such a strong impact in the Miami Herbert community. Leading recruitment for Delta Sigma Pi this past year, she really innovated the entire rush process beyond our usual operations for the betterment of the chapter, and it has not gone unnoticed. Her hard work as an Equity Research Analyst in TAMID and ability to secure an Investment Banking internship with Bank of America for this summer have also been quite impressive. Aside from possessing numerous professional achievements, Martina has such a positive energy and is someone anyone would be lucky to have on their team. I know she will go far in the business world, and I cannot wait to see it happen!

Who would you most want to thank for your success? Definitely my parents! My mom and dad have worked so hard throughout their lives to ensure I would be able to attend the college of my dreams and pursue any career I wanted, which I really appreciate. Additionally, they are huge inspirations to me because they have shown me what success looks like by example and have instilled a hard work ethic in me. The investment they have made in my education throughout my entire life has been invaluable, so I feel that I owe everything to them and the endless love and support they have provided me.

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

  • To live and work in a country outside of the US
  • To start my own business someday

What are your hobbies?

  • I love spending time with friends and family, playing board games, and binge-watching my favorite shows.

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

“Mikaela Sanders is conscientious, engaged and full of ideas that inspire her peers. Even as a first-year student, her professionalism and acumen for the topics presented were impressive and noticed. And not only that, she is a generous friend and classmate. Ms. Sanders is always willing to jump into a difficult project, lend a helping hand and simply “rally the troops” to the finish line. She is a role model and a student I admire very much.”

Amy Agramonte
Professor of Marketing


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