Poets&Quants’ annual “Best & Brightest Business Majors” list celebrates outstanding undergraduate seniors for their stellar accomplishments. Since 2017, Spartans from the Broad College have been recognized as part of this list, and for the Class of 2022, this rings true — and stronger than ever.
This year’s honorees have not only excelled in the classroom but also served as exemplary leaders within the Broad student community: supply chain management senior Julia Lower and finance senior Jack Budde.
Compassionate and inspirational leadership
Following graduation, Lower is looking forward to returning to Kearney, in Chicago, Illinois, as a strategic operations business analyst after having a successful internship with the firm last summer.
Throughout her time at MSU, she gained professional experience through three other internships with companies such as Ingersoll Rand and PepsiCo. She strives to go above and beyond in the business realm, and this mentality shines through to her passion for helping the community and supporting causes she deeply cares about.
Lower has taken incredible initiative and has an impressive resume to show for it. She was one of four students nationwide to be named a 2021 Richter Scholar, she currently serves as president and CEO of Spectrum Consulting Group, a student-run consulting firm, and she is a member of the college’s Management Consulting Academy. Additionally, she has held numerous leadership positions in the Broad Student Senate, including senior vice president and co-director of outreach for professional development. At the Russell Palmer Career Management Center, Lower has worked as a management consulting peer career coach and a teaching assistant for the business careers course. In her free time, she also volunteers at organizations such as Peace Ranch, the Willows and Habitat for Humanity.
As Spectrum Consulting Group’s leader, she has managed to nearly double the firm’s revenue in less than a year. In addition, she helped launch the Vedaant Garg Memorial Scholarship, which strives to give back to youth education by providing multiple $5,000 scholarships to incoming business Spartans annually.
Ayalla Ruvio, associate professor in the Department of Marketing, said, “Julia’s character is what makes her so extraordinary. She leads with kindness and positivity, touching the lives of everyone she meets. Her advocacy for bettering [campus] policies and diversity, equity and inclusion programs has left a permanent impact on Michigan State University. She is brave, selfless and always fights for what is right.”
Looking ahead, Lower plans to further her education with an MBA and Ph.D. to become an educator in a line of research that will be impactful to supporting others, and she hopes to work abroad to advance her global perspective.
“Reflecting on my time at MSU, I’ve always gravitated toward extracurriculars or jobs that involved helping students and peers,” Lower said. “I believe my time in consulting [with Kearney] will expose me to the forefront of challenges in business, and I’m excited at the prospect of pioneering solutions through research in my professional career.”
Brilliant and admirable role model
During his time at MSU, Budde has distinguished himself as an extraordinary leader and mentor, especially in the world of finance. His numerous professional experiences throughout the years, with companies such as Donnelly Penman and Partners, Meritor and Main Street Capital Corporation, taught him facets of business that he’s been able to share with peers. Upon leaving the Broad College, he will be taking on a full-time position as an investment banking analyst at Barclays Investment Banking in Chicago, Illinois.
Like Lower, Budde has taken on leadership roles as a Spartan. From serving as president of business fraternity Delta Sigma Pi to being the lead trainer of Financial Markets Institute and a lead analyst in the Student Investment Association, Budde thrives on being involved.
On top of that, he was a recipient of the FMI Cosper Scholar Award, the FMI Merten Scholar Award and the 2022 Financial Executive Industry Award for his outstanding academic and leadership accomplishments.
As lead trainer for FMI sophomore scholars, Budde redesigned the curriculum for a 10-week financial boot camp and organized time to assure that scholars reached technical proficiency and behavioral excellence. He has made a lasting impact by going above and beyond in all his leadership positions.
FMI director Dave Hawthorne said, “I have worked closely with Jack for approximately three years and have found him to be consistently professional, compassionate to numerous students, dedicated to his academic success and an exemplary leader in numerous student organizations. Jack has proven himself to be an exceptional representative of Michigan State University.”
In the future, Budde hopes to start his own business and work abroad. Stories about entrepreneurs have always fascinated him, and he admires the dedication it takes to grow a business. With that dream in mind, Budde is eager to gain adaptable, resilient skillsets from investment banking that will become transferable into his own business one day.
“The biggest lesson I have learned is that the business landscape is always changing, which is evident as I have followed current events from my freshman to senior year,” Budde said. “Being cognizant of changing market trends and technology is necessary for business success.”
Words of advice to fellow Spartans
Throughout their four years at Broad, Lower and Budde have gained helpful knowledge and invaluable learning experiences that have prepared them for the rigorous professional world. Their advice emphasized how valuable it is for students to be proactive by leveraging MSU’s vast network and putting valuable skills into practice.
“Do not be afraid to reach out to professionals who have a job you are interested in,” Budde shared. “Networking allows you to get insight into the day-to-day roles of many positions within business, which helps determine if you would like the role. Especially with the strong alumni network of Michigan State, Spartans are always willing to help each other out.”
Lower encouraged Broad Spartans to strengthen their toolkit of soft skills, such as embracing curiosity and active listening, to build a strong foundation when becoming an effective business professional.
“In reality, no company or organization is ever perfect and there will always be problems to fix. Be curious and ask smart questions and a world of opportunities will open for you,” she said. “From my experience, almost all problems are created and solved through communication. To be an effective communicator and leader, you must actively listen and ask questions before focusing on what to say next. This allows you process, empathize and better connect with others.”