2024 Best & Brightest Business Major: Priya Shah, Carnegie Mellon University (Tepper)

Priya Shah

Carnegie Mellon University, Tepper School of Business

“A credit card, NYC restaurant connoisseur who sometimes dances but is always talking to people.”

Fun fact about yourself: I love going to concerts. In 2023, I went to 6!

Hometown: New Hyde Park, New York

High School: Herricks High School

Major: Business Administration (Concentration in Business Analytics and Technologies)

Minor: Decision Science

Favorite Business Course: Business Presentations

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles During College:

TEDxCMU – Speaker Curation Team

Career Peer Mentor at the CMU Career & Professional Development Center

Teaching Assistant for Business Presentations

Dean’s List

Helix Dance Crew – Dancer

Delta Gamma – Sorority Member

Where have you interned during your college career?

When:                                     Where:                                    What:

Summer 2023             IBM – New York City               Technical Sales Engineer Intern

Summer 2022             Unqork – New York City         Sales Development Representative Intern

Summer 2021             Liquidnet – New York City      Recruiting Intern

Where will you be working after graduation? I will be working at IBM in New York City as a Brand Technical Sales Specialist (aka Sales Engineer).

Who is your favorite business professor? My favorite business professor from these past 4 years has been Dr. Clara Burke. Her class was the reason why I value communications and presentations in the corporate world so highly. Whether we’re in our classes, internships, or full-time jobs, we come across presentations all the time, but very rarely as an audience do we feel like we took something away from it. It was in her class where I learned the subtle attributes that make a presentation, both a slide deck and your own self, go from good to sensational. She is the reason I’m a teaching assistant for that class!

What is the biggest lesson you gained from studying business? You could be the smartest person in the world, with so much knowledge and technical ability, but if you don’t know how to talk to people and communicate, you won’t get very far.

What advice would you give to a student looking to major in a business-related field? It’s really easy to feel that if you study business, you have to work at a prestigious firm with a high-paying job and grind through the 10 years of your life. But the beauty of a business degree is that it can be applicable to anything. That’s true if you want to work in finance, start an agency that manages influencers, or even if open up your own bakery. So the biggest piece of advice that I can give is to keep your mind open to different opportunities, because you don’t know what will pique your interest. Also, don’t be afraid to pursue those opportunities, even if you feel like they might not be what you want to do in the beginning of your career. The payoff could come later on!

What has surprised you most about majoring in business? Definitely the fact that it can be applied to so many areas in life. I used to think that because I was a business major, I had to work in finance, whereas tech where I really wanted to be. Fast forward four years later and I have a job that I’m really excited about because it combines the business skills I have with the area that I’m interested in pursuing. I also know so many people who are going to work in marketing, analytics, consulting, and politics. A business degree is so versatile.

Which academic, extracurricular or personal achievement are you most proud of? The achievement I’m most proud of at CMU is bringing some excellent speakers to give a talk at our TEDxCMU conferences. Being on the speaker curation team, I’m responsible for not only finding potential speakers, but helping them develop their talk. This past year I worked with Zaria Parvez, the head of the Duolingo Owl, to come and talk about how she has changed the entire landscape of how corporate companies market themselves. A couple of years ago, when I was on the team for the first time for our chapter, we had a talk get published on the official TED.com website, where it has over 1.5 million views. Bringing some really high-level speakers to our campus and working with them to give their own TED talk has definitely been one of my proudest moments at CMU.

Which classmate do you most admire? The classmate I most admire is my friend Sanjana Shanbhag. Aside from us being friends, classmates, and roommates since freshmen year, I admire her so much for how she’s so good at not comparing herself to others. In a rigorous environment where there are a lot of students that tend to pursue similar fields, it can be so easy to compare yourself to others academically, personally, and professionally. I definitely have done that. She’s the opposite – she is so good at appreciating people’s strengths, but also acknowledging that her time will come, for whatever she is working towards. She’s so observant, helpful, and kind, and I can’t begin to describe how much I appreciate her being in my life.

Who would you most want to thank for your success? Easily, it would be my grandpa. I am definitely at this place in my life because of him. All those times during K-12 when I was doing extracurricular activities almost every day of the week – sometimes for 3 hours after the school day ended – he would never hesitate to wait so that he could pick me up from school. When I would sometimes go to dance practices an hour away from my house, he would take me. When he found out I got into Carnegie Mellon, he never wanted the cost of attendance to be an issue, so he helped out. And the most amazing thing is that he always did it with a smile. He made so many sacrifices for me, so that I could be as successful as I wanted to be, and he did all so happily with a smile. He is the reason why I am where I am today.

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

  1. To be able to make my own schedule so I’m able to travel freely
  2. Have at least one CEO of a successful company in my contacts

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

“Priya’s presence in the Class of 2024 has been nothing short of invaluable. Her exceptional qualities, ranging from her unwavering dedication to her studies to her outstanding leadership within various student organizations, have significantly enriched the fabric of our Tepper and CMU community. Through active involvement in student organizations such as Women in Business and TEDx CMU, Priya not only found avenues for personal growth but has cultivated deep friendships that transcend the boundaries of academic majors. Combining her love for people with her keen interest in technology, Priya has set her sights on a career in tech sales, where she can leverage her unique blend of interpersonal skills and technological acumen to make a significant impact. Priya’s passion, drive, and ability to forge meaningful connections make her an indispensable asset to the Class of 2024 and a shining example of the kind of transformative experience Carnegie Mellon offers.”

Carla Bevins
Associate Teaching Professor of Business Management Communication
Carnegie Mellon University’s Tepper School of Business


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