Ben Cunningham: 2016 Best and Brightest

Ben Cunningham Virginia

Ben Cunningham

University of Virginia, Mcintire School of Commerce

Hometown: Louisville Kentucky

High School: Louisville Collegiate School

Major: Finance and Physics

Favorite Business Courses: Organizational Behavior and Advertising & Promotions

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles During College: President of Alpha Kappa Psi, President of Kids Acting Out, Co-Chair of Lighting of the Lawn through Fourth Year Council, Chair of Community Engagement through Third Year Council, Residential Advisor, Intermediate Honors, Henry R. Odell Scholarship

Where have you interned during your college career?

Accenture: Strategy Analyst-Washington DC

Neighbor Boys: CEO and Co-Founder-Charlottesville, Virginia

Describe your dream job: My dream job is to be Ellon Musk’s prodigee. I want to emphasize the dream part about this. I would want to learn and work with one of the most innovative minds of my lifetime.

What did you enjoy most about majoring in a business-related field? Being able to learn applicable skills and work on intense projects where the team I’m on can really navigate the project’s direction.

Where would you like to work after graduation? I’ll be working for Mckinsey and Company in Atlanta Georgia as a Business Analyst.

What are your long-term professional goals? Still very up in the air, but I hope to start my own company related to social impact bonds or similarly related work.

“I knew I wanted to major in business when…I was 8. This is somewhat embarrassing, but I used to love the Apprentice and all of the different business scenarios they would handle.” 

“If I didn’t major in business, I would be…in Psychology and Systems Engineering.” 

 What was the happiest moment of your life? It is potentially when I got my offer from McKinsey. I had literally just hiked to the peak of a mountain in the Adirondacks with my friends when I got the call. It was a pretty unreal moment.

Which academic or personal achievement are you most proud of? Definitely my work as a Residential Advisor. I worked with a wide variety of cases and was able to give the necessary resources that actually helped my fellow students.

What animal would you choose to represent your professional brand? Dog-I’m extremely high energy and am very loyal.

Who would you most want to thank for your success? Too many people: My brother, Collin, Phillip, Steph, Olivier, Ms. Calderwood, Steve & Chris Huey, and definitely my parents. They have all pushed and mentored me.

Favorite book: The Lorax and Moonwalking with Einstein

Favorite movie: The Prestige

Favorite musical performer: Bombadil

Favorite vacation spot: Budapest, Hungary

What are your hobbies? Hiking, Running, and Going to Concerts

What made Ben such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2016?

“Ben Cunningham has been an invaluable addition to the Class of 2016 in a variety of ways, from his leadership in major University initiatives and activities to his engagement with the Charlottesville community. Perhaps his greatest contribution comes from his passion for mentoring his fellow students, both in the McIntire School of Commerce and throughout the University of Virginia. His activities as a McIntire Mentor to 3rd year Commerce students as a Residential Advisor to the newest UVa students, as President of Alpha Kappa Psi Business Fraternity, and as a tutor for fellow students demonstrates his drive toward empowering his peers. One of Ben’s tutees reflected on their sessions in these words: “Ben is an excellent tutor who is willing to go through as many problems as I need in order to feel comfortable with the material. His patience and encouragement have really helped me become more confident in my accounting class.” This is just one example of his passion for helping people to be the best version of themselves—and I believe that Ben will carry this with him throughout his life as a proud McIntire School of Commerce graduate.”

Sadie Royal Collins
Associate Director, Student Life
University of Virginia

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