2024 Best & Brightest Business Major: Audra Hochgesang, Lipscomb University

Audra Hochgesang

Lipscomb University College of Business

“Enthusiastic and analytical leader who finds joy in the mundane moments even while crunching numbers.”

Fun fact about yourself: I love pickleball.

Hometown: Huntingburg, IN

High School: Southridge High School

Major: Accounting

Minor: Business Analytics & Business as Mission

Favorite Business Course: Principles of Auditing

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles During College:

  • Student Center for the Public Trust (President)
  • Dean’s Student Leadership Council (Co-Chair)
  • Delta Omega Women’s Social Club (Treasurer and Singarama Director)
  • Delta Mu Delta
  • Business as Mission Fellow
  • Young Life Leader (mentored high school students)
  • Student Alumni Ambassador
  • College of Business Study Abroad to Indonesia and Ghana, Africa

Where have you interned during your college career?

  • Deloitte, Nashville, TN, Audit & Assurance Intern
  • HCA Healthcare, Nashville, TN, Internal Audit Intern
  • CAPSTONE Business Advisors, Brentwood, TN, Financial Analyst Intern

Where will you be working after graduation? To be decided, Staff Accountant

Who is your favorite business professor? Although it is hard to choose just one, Professor Joe Ivey is one of my favorite professors. He consistently engaged everyone in the classroom and incorporated interesting topics about the broader world in his lectures. Not only did we learn about how to effectively run and improve a business, but also how to use that business to create change for others. He continuously sought advice on how to improve his teaching and would implement those suggestions. I most valued his desire to know each student and how he could help them achieve their goals.

What is the biggest lesson you gained from studying business? The biggest lesson I’ve gained from studying business is the importance of determination and how business can be a catalyst for change . With hard work, business can allow people to develop their passions to help provide for themselves and improve their communities. It connects people from all walks of life.

What advice would you give to a student looking to major in a business-related field? Take advantage of every opportunity that comes your way even if you’re unsure. Some of my favorite moments in college came from opportunities I took that were far outside my comfort zone and allowed me to make great connections.

What has surprised you most about majoring in business? The intricacy of business has been most surprising to me. There are so many aspects of a business that work together to make a business successful. Although one side is analytical and numbers driven, communication and connection are necessary to truly understand both coworkers and customers. This combination of skills keeps business exciting and opens up more opportunities than I thought possible.

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 I would network more at every possible event. Although I’ve made great connections along the way, I don’t think I understood the true value of this until later in my college career. I would attend as many events as possible to meet successful leaders in the community, learn from those leaders, and discover unique opportunities I hadn’t considered.

Which academic, extracurricular or personal achievement are you most proud of? I am most proud of my experience abroad in Ghana, Africa where I was able to work with aspiring entrepreneurs. Our team had the opportunity to work with various entrepreneurs from Heritage Christian College and help them develop their business ideas. Some of my peers and I worked on financial projections to help scale a poultry farm. We also contributed feedback to a team who was competing in the Fowler pitch competition with a business idea that combines creating rich fertilizer and improving sanitation. This experience allowed me to repeatedly go out of my comfort zone and serve others in a unique capacity. I am proud of the way I navigated a different environment, adapted to changes, and built relationships throughout this experience. The people of Africa are creative, capable people, and I am so thankful I was able to witness that and broaden my perspective while also seeing some of what I would like to do in my future come to life.

Which classmate do you most admire? Carmen Schmittou has consistently been an encouraging classmate who leads others well. She is confident and driven and always strives to do her best. I admire her ability to maintain a calm composure while working hard and balancing many leadership roles.

Who would you most want to thank for your success? From a personal perspective, my parents will always be at the forefront of people to thank. They have endlessly supported me in all my endeavors and displayed the value of hard work and genuineness.

From an academic perspective, one of my professors, Marcy Binkley, has helped in my success. I have always learned a great deal in her classes, and she has always been eager to help me think through future plans. I look up to her and her strong leadership as a female and desire to continuously learn and serve others.

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

    • Start a small business or social enterprise
    • Coach or consult aspiring entrepreneurs in underestimated communities


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