2023 Best & Brightest Business Major: Savannah Josey, Elon University (Love)

Savannah Josey

Elon University, Love School of Business

“Curious visionary motivated to implement global change through intentional partnerships; adventure-minded globetrotter and intercultural learner.”

Fun fact about yourself: I studied abroad for 5 months in Seville, Spain and have traveled through 13 countries over the past four years.

Hometown: Cary, NC

High School: Thales Academy Apex

Majors: Business Analytics and Spanish

Favorite Business Course: Strategic Management Senior Capstone

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles During College:

Extracurricular Activities and Community Involvement:

  • Elon University Residence Life: Living Learning Community Residential Assistant
  • Student Professional Development Center: Lead Student Ambassador
  • Graduate Program of Higher Education: Student Assistant
  • Kernodle Center for Civic Life: Alternative Breaks Director, Spring Break Coordinator
  • InterVarsity: Small Group Leader

Honors and Awards:

  • NC Campus Compact Community Impact Student Award
  • International Partnership of Business Schools’ Business Sustainability Challenge: Finalist and Competition Runner Up
  • Elon Microfinance Challenge: Challenge Runner Up
  • LSB Honor Roll for Social Responsibility
  • Presidential Scholarship and annual LSB Scholarships recipient
  • Kernodle Center Service Honor Roll
  • Business Fellow

Where have you interned during your college career?

  • Fidelity Investments, Durham, NC, Human Resources Analytics Intern
  • EY, Seattle, WA, People Advisory Services Consulting Intern

Where will you be working after graduation? EY, People Advisory Services Consultant

Who is your favorite business professor? Dr. Matt Valle is an incredible professor and mentor. I really appreciated taking a class with him, as I knew that I would be gaining hands-on skills every class. I enjoyed hearing about Dr. Valle’s lived experience with project management and getting to develop a deeper understanding of the concepts discussed in class. I also felt very supported in every conversation I had with Dr. Valle and knew that the effort I put into course assignments was being reciprocated by Dr. Valle’s intentional teaching style.

What advice would you give to a student looking to major in a business-related field? Think big and get curious about the different opportunities available in the business field. Having a business degree can translate into a variety of careers, so the more open-minded you are going into new experiences, the better. I have tried to approach every class with a desire to learn and let the professor’s passion and subject matter expertise guide my experience. In approaching classes with a growth mindset, you are opening yourself up to the ample opportunities to learn and apply practical skills, regardless of its perceived relevance to your professional goals.

What has surprised you most about majoring in business? I have been really surprised and excited by how far the business field extends. I have taken a variety of classes related to finance, accounting, management, analytics, and other disciplines. I haven’t always known how to connect these experiences with my desired outcomes, especially in non-major specific courses. Yet, in every job I’ve held, I’ve pulled in information, key terms, and concepts that I learned from the vast array of business disciplines I took classes in. I really appreciate how broad business can be, while simultaneously being interconnected across specializations.

Looking back over your experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently in business school and why? If I could change anything, I would focus on having a balanced schedule from day one. As a first year, I was intently focused on fully devoting myself to academics, while also desiring the same level of time dedication to my on-campus jobs and extracurriculars with no space for rest or recharging. This left me feeling depleted and with limited ability to say “yes” to new opportunities. It took time for me to learn how to create margin in my schedule so that I could prioritize building relationships with professors and peers, explore my personal interests, and cultivate a sustainable lifestyle that incorporated my academic, professional, and personal goals. Since learning how to balance, I have been able explore my curiosities and discover new intersections between my various interests.

What business leader do you admire most? Abby Johnson, the CEO of Fidelity Investments, is a very inspiring business leader who I aspire to emulate in the future. I worked for Fidelity for a summer internship and it was abundantly evident that the culture of inclusion, ethical decision-making, and forward-thinking innovation permeated through the company due to Abby Johnson. I felt inspired to see a strong woman at the head of a major investment company and was impressed by the way that employees felt listened to and supported in furthering the company’s mission. Johnson’s leadership style has certainly served as an inspiration and has been a source of hope for what the future workplace could look like.

Which academic, extracurricular or personal achievement are you most proud of? One of the most challenging and fulfilling experience of my college years was being a Residential Assistant for 48 first- and second-year students. Having the opportunity to mentor each student individually and witness their growth into independent young adults through the pandemic was an incredibly rewarding experience. I’m really proud of the resilience and leadership skills I gained through the experience and am thankful that I had the opportunity to impact residents’ lives while also being a full-time student.

Which classmate do you most admire? Jane Ragland is someone who I really admire. I met Jane four years ago and have been continuously impressed by her work ethic and ability to diligently work towards her goals. Jane is a very kind, authentic person who approaches academic and interpersonal situations with a calm and determined demeanor. I really respect Jane, which extends beyond her impressive ability to double major and complete a master’s degree in four years, hold leadership roles on campus, and maximize all opportunities presented to her. Jane leads by example and with humility, I know that I can trust her not only with a class project, but also for sound advice on big decisions.

Who would you most want to thank for your success? There have been many mentors on my journey throughout college, but Kyle Anderson has been one of the most impactful. I met Kyle as a first year when I was still trying to integrate my academic interest in business with my love of sustainability. He connected me with people who shared my passion for sustainable community development, along with directing me to opportunities that would allow me to accomplish my personal and professional goals. I felt incredibly seen as a first-year student and I still feel supported by Kyle, four years later. My goals have at times seemed bold, but neither Kyle nor anyone in the Kernodle Center office, has done anything other than champion my efforts and provide me with support in any way that I needed. Especially through the pandemic, organizing study abroad experiences, and trying to align my interests with career ambitions, I have always been excited to share updates and get advice from Kyle.

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

  • Work abroad for at least a year, connecting my business experience with intercultural learning.
  • Lead a team of motivated professionals with cross-sectional expertise in environmental and social sustainability, business acumen, and international relations to build innovative solutions to use business as a vehicle for social betterment.

What are your hobbies? I love the outdoors and especially enjoy hiking, kayaking, skiing, and camping. I also love to read, journal, travel, and experience new places and cultures even within my local community, which extends to a deep love for volunteering and community engagement.

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

“In a university known for student involvement and leadership, Savannah Josey stands above the crowd. An Elon University Business Fellow in the Class of 2023, her exemplary service has been recognized by North Carolina Campus Compact, a statewide network of colleges and universities that are committed to community engagement, with an award that recognizes students who show a deep passion for community involvement and a natural ability to inspire their peers. She is a member of the Business Honor Roll for Social Responsibility, a residential assistant, and a senior student ambassador with the Student Professional Development Center. Savannah has participated in and led numerous business school initiatives that integrate community engagement and social responsibility into conversations, activities, and programs – initiatives have pushed her peers and staff advisors to think more profoundly about how to engage others across these two areas. She is, quite simply, an outstanding student and a joy to have in the classroom. Her positive attitude and eagerness to learn inspired me to engage with students and our business curriculum in even more meaningful ways than I thought possible.”

Matt Valle
Professor of Management


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