Abigail Sneddon ’23 was not only named one of the School of Management’s Seniors of the Year for 2023, but she also made this year’s Best and Brightest Business Majors list published by Poets & Quants, a top publication for business education news.
As she prepared to graduate with a degree in business administration and a concentration in finance, she shared some of her favorite experiences as a Binghamton University student and reflected on how SOM prepared her for a successful career.
Q: What is the biggest lesson you learned from studying business?
A: To consider the implications of business decisions and be aware of their externalities. This was an overarching lesson in many of my classes, but particularly in my Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Investing in Public Markets course. We studied various models and learned to consider all the stakeholders. Each decision I make, both as an investor and a businessperson, affects the greater world.
Q: What surprised you the most about majoring in business?
A: I previously thought business, once learned, was relatively static. I have since learned how rapidly the business environment shifts. The corporate world has become significantly different since I was a first-year student. A large portion of this is due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the shift to a remote or hybrid environment.
Business individuals must not only react to these shifts, but also initiate them through innovation. I think the most exciting part is how one technology or idea can so quickly shift the business world for a few weeks, months or even years.
Q: What academic achievement are you most proud of?
A: I’m most proud of receiving an A- in my Complex Variables course and my subsequent growth in confidence. Much of this course dealt with imaginary numbers, and
I struggled visualizing the material. It was the greatest academic challenge I faced. Almost everyone else in class was a math major, and at points it seemed like they all spoke a language I had never learned.
However, as the semester progressed, I began to realize that I could learn this new language. While I did not speak it fluently, I learned how to be okay with that. This was
a new mindset for me, and I have been applying it ever since.
Q: What are two goals on your professional bucket list?
A: It sounds idealistic, but I have always believed that finance can change the world for the better. As such, two items on my professional bucket list are to work for a government organization that makes economic policy and to work for an activist fund.
Growing up in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis and experiencing the current economic volatility has made me more aware of the direct impact economic policy has on the daily lives of the average American. I think working within economic policy sometime in my career would be incredibly challenging and rewarding.
Activist investing requires careful planning and strategy, but when successful, it can yield an incredible power in pushing companies toward social and environmental progress. I would love to be a part of that.
Q: What’s your advice to future business students?
A: You need to know who you are, what you care about, and what your strengths are. Once you know this, you can figure out how you fit into a group dynamic and what you can offer to that group. This is important because much of business is not about your individual effort, but about what you contribute to your team.
I also urge students to take advantage of as many opportunities as possible, such as case competitions, clubs, internships and networking events. Business is an exceptionally broad and ever-expanding field, so spending time to figure out what exactly you want to do is very worthwhile.