2023 Best & Brightest Business Major: Ryan Saunders, University of Miami (Herbert)

Ryan Saunders

University of Miami, Herbert Business School

“Hockey enthusiast who couldn’t pick one passion unless forced to”

Fun fact about yourself: Both of my parents are from Canada, and I’ve had dual citizenship my whole life

Hometown: Punta Gorda, FL

High School: Pomfret School – Pomfret, CT

Major: Triple major in Finance, Legal Studies, & Business Technology

Minor: Industrial Engineering

Favorite Business Course: BTE320 – Introduction to Programming: While I’ve always been interested in technology, this course ignited a portion of me that wanted to truly understand the tools that have become so dominant in our lives.

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles During College:

  • MGT100 Program Team Leader
  • Co-President of the BUS211/MGT199 Program, a professional development course delivered to every sophomore student in the Miami Herbert Business School
    • Serve as Professional Development Student Leader (PDSL) to students as well
  • Student Consultant (Titan) for the Hyperion Council, an organization dedicated to serving local & international businesses and individual entrepreneurs
  • Director of Investment Fund for the TAMID Group at the University of Miami, an organization focused on business consulting and investments
    • Served as project manager for a financial consulting engagement with an Israeli startup
    • Have also served as an investment research analyst and industry leader
  • Treasurer for the Alpha Chi chapter of the Pi Kappa Phi Fraternity
  • Volunteer for Fun Day, UM’s longest standing service day
  • Member of UM Economics Club
  • Teaching Assistant for BUS150, a course covering Microsoft Excel and Tableau


  • Most Outstanding Sophomore Student Award – Miami Herbert Business School
  • Bermont – Carlin Scholar
  • Singer Scholar (full-tuition merit scholarship)
  • Outstanding Fund Analyst – TAMID Group
  • MGT100 First-Year Consulting Competition Finalist

Where have you interned during your college career?

  • JMP Securities (A Citizens Company) – New York, NY – Investment Banking Summer Analyst
  • McCombie Group – Coral Gables, FL – Private Equity Spring Analyst
  • Cardinal Innovations Healthcare – Charlotte, NC – Corporate Finance Intern
  • Euro-Wall Systems – North Port, FL – Business Development & Analytics Intern

Where will you be working after graduation? JMP Securities – Investment Banking Analyst

Who is your favorite business professor? Professor Mark Shapiro has been formative during my time at the Miami Herbert Business School. His unwavering confidence and support have been huge enablers, and he has been an incredible resource to countless students beyond me. His commitment to students, their education, and their careers is admirable. Not to mention, his business law classes are always engaging and were instrumental in my decision to add it as a major.

What is the biggest lesson you gained from studying business? Business is incredibly vague in its nature – everyone ranging from the consumer to an executive engages in business and commerce. It’s all intertwined, meaning that decisions in one disciple are directly tied to actions and decisions in other disciplines. While one area of business may not necessarily resonate with you as a student or a potential career, it is invaluable to have a broad view and understand processes aside from your own.

What advice would you give to a student looking to major in a business-related field? From the onset of any business program, you will be surrounded by peers who always seem like they’re two steps ahead of you. Especially coming from a family with no formal business education, it’s incredibly easy to get intimidated by prestigious firms and roles that every student strives for. While it’s obviously great to strive for these notable career paths, there is no wrong path, and nothing is linear. There will be wins, there will be losses – just make sure you are heading in the direction you want and develop as a person first and foremost.

Looking back over your experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently in business school and why? While I’ve developed great relationships with many professors, I must admit that I wish I would’ve engaged further with UM’s faculty a bit more. We have professionals with decades of experience in any given disciplines, and I wish I’d have built a few stronger connections from a personal and career viewpoint.

What business leader do you admire most? First-and-foremost, I’ll say I’ve never directly engaged with cryptocurrencies and related fields. Yet, Brian Armstrong, the CEO of Coinbase, is someone I truly admire. Whatever may come of the asset class, it takes courage to lead with conviction and confidence, whether the tide is with or against you. After listening to him speak on several different occasions, Armstrong is someone that has a vision and takes necessary steps to accomplish that vision, regardless of its popularity. It’s easy to sit on the sidelines and critique business leaders, but he has many characteristics and philosophies that are admirable and can serve as great learning examples.

Which academic, extracurricular or personal achievement are you most proud of? I’d have to say I’m most proud of the person I’ve developed into. Although not an award or plaque, there’s a lot of noise in business programs and recruiting that distort students and draw them away from their true character. At the end of the day, my job, my majors, and my school are just attributes that may or not be relevant in each moment. However, being a person that I’m proud of and having diverse interests outside of formal education ensure that no matter what I’m doing, I’ll ultimately be okay and comfortable with myself.

Which classmate do you most admire? I admire Jack Scully, who has not only been a classmate of mine several times, but also a roommate and friend. When it comes to areas that he’s interested in, Jack is an intellectually curious person that I always enjoy conversing with and hearing his opinion. He is also incredibly organized and, despite my best efforts, always shows me better ways of doing things.

Who would you most want to thank for your success? My parents raised my sister and I in a way that I’m eternally grateful for. Their support system and influence not only shaped me, but also allowed me to discover what I enjoy. I know that I can always count on them, and this has made me comfortable to pursue my interests without any feelings of pressure.

What are the top two items on your professional bucket list? Don’t ask me how or in what space yet, but I would really love to start my own business one day. I think the process of building from square one can provide a ton of information on who you are, what you’re good at, and where you belong. I also hope to work in another country for some period during my career. I think it’s easy to get acclimated with the American forms of business, but there is much to learn from the rest of the world.

What are your hobbies? I really enjoy travelling – during college I’ve had the opportunity to take many weekend trips with friends as well as visit Italy, Czechia, Portugal, Spain, and Jamaica. Additionally, I’ve become somewhat of a film junkie and really enjoy discovering powerful and cinematic movies. On top of those, I enjoy music, reading, art, and hockey (and Toronto sports). I’m passionate about mental health and always try to support myself and others to the best of my ability.

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

“Ryan Saunders is a terrific student, gives back to his community and will be immensely successful. He pushes himself outside of his comfort zone, studying content as diverse as finance, analytics, law, and industrial engineering. He volunteers a ton of time on campus, whether as a peer mentor and trainer as a Professional Development Student Leader or in consulting or business, social clubs. And to top it off, he has been thoroughly dedicated to pursuing a career in banking, landing an amazing job on graduation as an Investment Banking Analyst at JMP Securities. He has made an impact from the day he walked on campus and we’re lucky to have been able to spend four years with him as he commences his professional life to come.”

Mark Shapiro
Assistant Dean of Career Resources and Professor of Business Law


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