2024 Best & Brightest Business Major: Karenina Urquieta, University of Houston (Bauer)

Karenina Urquieta

University of Houston, C.T. Bauer College of Business

“A strong-willed student, willing to go the extra mile for her friends and family.”

Fun fact about yourself: I enjoy rock climbing in my free time and have been working on getting better at crack climbing.

Hometown: Katy, Texas

High School: James E. Taylor High School

Major: Finance and Management

Minor: Applied Leadership

Favorite Business Course:  FINA 4335: Brainstorming to Bankrolling. This course is one of the first of its kind, where we as students get hands on experience building business plans from the ground up for local small businesses of under resourced individuals in the Houston area.

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles During College:

  • Bauer Ambassadors – President, Vice President, Membership Director, Ethics Advocate
  • SURE Program – Consultant, Senior Consultant
  • Bauer in D.C. – Experiential Learning Fellow
  • Emerging Leaders Academic Success Program – ELASP Scholarship recipient
  • Ted Bauer Leadership Certificate Program
  • Mock Trial Association – Co-President, Tournament Director, Team Captain, Treasurer, Secretary, Competitor
  • Student Government Association – Chief Election Commissioner, Internal Affairs Committee Chair, Bauer Business Senator
  • Fondo de Alivio al Nino Quemado (FANQ) Houston – Graphic Designer and Volunteer
  • University of Texas Law School Pipeline Program – Fellow
  • Two-Time Excellence in Bauer Leadership Award
  • 2022 University of Houston Leadership Award Recipient
  • Seven-Time Dean’s List Recipient
  • Top Officer Bauer Ambassador Award
  • Bauer Involvement Award
  • Marvy Finger Undergraduate Scholarship Recipient
  • Academic Excellence Scholarship Recipient
  • John Walsh Bauer Excellence Scholarship Recipient

Where have you interned during your college career?

  • BDO Family Law Litigation Intern – Houston, Texas
  • House of Representatives Legislative Intern – Washington, D.C
  • KPMG Embark Scholar – Houston, Texas

Where will you be working after graduation? Karenina Urquieta plans on continuing her education and pursuing her JD. She is currently deciding between a couple offers from some of the T-20 law schools.

Who is your favorite business professor? I think beyond professors, my favorite staff members have had to be my advisors over the years. In particular, I enjoyed Jorge Arellano, who became the program advisor at the same time as when I started in my first officer position in Bauer Ambassadors. As he started his new role and as I started mine, we grew alongside each other, and he has been my biggest cheerleader for any endeavor I pursued in my academic career.

What advice would you give to a student looking to major in a business-related field? My advice to anyone entering the business field would be to explore all your options and put yourself out there for every opportunity possible. I feel many in the business world get short-sighted and believe that the only viable career options are those which are continuously pushed and wildly known to us. Medical, hospitality, government, law, the fine arts: The list goes on-and-on. There are so many cross-sections between business and other fields to explore. By not at least exploring these opportunities, you are doing yourself a disservice to find the field you belong in that matches your interests.

What has surprised you most about majoring in business? By far it has been the multifaceted a business degree can be. For our college, we were able to explore all seven of the differing majors the University offered before having to decide what area of business we wanted to concentrate in. Accounting, Finance, Supply Chain, Management, MIS, Entrepreneurship, and Marketing were all areas where we received a strong foundation. Each major presents itself to require a diverse skill set, from the more technical majors to the more humanitarian ones. Particularly, Intro to Accounting was a course that I never would have sought out on my own. However, it has given me the base knowledge to understanding financial documents and the language of business.

Looking back over your experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently in business school and why? When I look back at my time throughout Bauer, I feel happy that I have made the most of the undergraduate experience.  I truly feel I do not have any regrets because I was able to balance work, academics, and a social life. I would say there have been sleepless nights throughout college, where I was awake catching up on readings and studying. Although I would have loved to be asleep instead, I think the nature of striving to excel in academics keeps me happy to have sacrificed a couple nights to achieve a perfect GPA.

Which academic, extracurricular or personal achievement are you most proud of?  Looking back over the past four years, I am very fond of my time getting to intern in DC. I was selected by Bauer to be one of six representatives that got the opportunity to live up there. In addition, I was one of two selected for the internship in the representative’s office. My move to DC is what solidified for me that law was the direction that I indeed wanted to pursue. I was beyond proud to be able to grow professionally and as an individual that semester since it was my first time living away from family. I truly attribute this experience to what helped to set me up to get internship with BDO and admitted into law school.

Which classmate do you most admire?  One of the best things any person can do for themselves is to surround themselves with other people with similar goals, interests, and drive. The classmate I admire the most would have to be my friend Maryam Alghafir. We met during our freshman year in Mock Trial, and both had dreams to pursue law school after our undergraduate year. In a way, we kept each other competitive as we pursued to excel in every activity that we entered together. She is one of the funniest and realest people I know, and I am proud to have gotten to know her so well over the past four years.

Who would you most want to thank for your success? Throughout my undergraduate career, there has always been one constant in my life, my sister, Kariethna Urquieta. Getting to live with her over the past four years has been such a rollercoaster as we grew closer as siblings and friends. She was able to be a gleaming pillar of what I ought to strive for and helped navigate me when I felt lost. I also want to thank her for helping me learn, through long nights, accounting. It was a subject I struggled to grasp, but came easy to her. I’ll always remember the night outs, food runs, trips, and memories we were able to make.

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

  1. Become partner, head council, or open my own Law Firm
  2. I would love to become a professor one day, teaching business law.

What made Karenina such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2024?

“One of the most notable traits for Karenina is her work ethic and spirit to uphold the Bauer values. Of all the undergraduate students I have worked with, Karenina is among the most enthusiastic and dependable students in the Bauer Ambassadors cohort. She has honed in on her leadership skills and served in multiple student leadership roles for the college. She even served in the Bauer in D.C program, in which only 4 other students are selected from the entire college. Karenina has proven to be a bright student, inquisitive, and diligent in her studies. Her collaboration and leadership skills were impressive, and over time she has represented the College as an Ambassador, Bauer in D.C. member, and Bauer Senator.  She has raised the bar in terms of her leadership and has inspired a new generation of leaders to uphold the leadership legacy.”

Jorge Arellano
Program Manager for Bauer Student Organizations & Activities


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