Featured Student: Brennen Reynolds

Brennen Reynolds is a junior at CBU and is studying Business Administration with a concentration in Finance and a minor in Economics. Brennen has
made plans to study abroad in Switzerland and intern with the United Nations. He is currently in a management training program, races and trains horses in his spare time, and plans to graduate in May of 2014.

Christina Brown: When we first met you said, “I am leaving to take classes in Switzerland and intern at the UN headquarters in a couple weeks.” Those are two big steps! Where will you be taking classes and what can you tell us about the internship?

BR: A few months ago I was accepted to take summer classes at the University of Fribourg, in Western Switzerland. The program is called a “Survey of International Organizations.” Aside from the main topics of international economics and international law, I will be able to spend time at the UN Headquarters and the World Trade Organization in Geneva, as well as the European Union Parliament in Strasbourg, France. If all goes as planned in Switzerland, I plan to spend the entire spring semester of 2013 at Fudan University in Shanghai, China. I can’t wait!

CB: Tell a little us a little bit about your background.

BR: For as long as I can remember, competitive equestrian activities have been a huge part of my life. I started out showing jumpers, but about ten years ago I made the switch to barrel racing and haven’t turned back since. As far as education goes, I attended St. Dominic School through middle school, and then moved on to St. Benedict at Auburndale
for high school. This fall, at CBU, will be my 16th year in the private Catholic education system.

CB: Why did you want to attend business school? Why CBU?

BR: I chose to obtain a business degree because I wanted to be well prepared for graduate school. Also, the flexibility of a business degree fit me well because I am not sure whether I want to shoot for an Ivy-League law school or one of the more prestigious MBA
programs available. I actually registered for classes and attended orientation at the University of Mississippi, but two weeks before school started, I changed my mind and enrolled at CBU. Its small class sizes, excellent reputation and closeness to home sold me.

CB: I understand you are in a management-training position at Strategic Business Systems. Tell us about the business, how you got there, and what you’re learning in the process.

BR: Strategic Business Systems is a value-added-reseller of GE Healthcare products. In addition to our main focus on electronic medical records, we also develop our own software for medical practices. It has been a phenomenal learning experience. I have been able to work in many different departments, which has really painted a picture of
the entire business cycle for me. Last year, I even launched and oversaw a “Go Green” operation which encouraged less paper usage on both our customers and our part.

CB: What personal achievement are you most proud of and why?

BR: I have had numerous academic and equestrian achievements, but currently the thing that I am most proud of is my volunteer work at the Jubilee Schools. For the past year, I have been tutoring the fifth grade students at St. John Catholic School. Dr. Mary McDonald, who recently retired as the superintendent of schools for the Catholic
Diocese of Memphis, is a personal hero of mine. She oversaw the rebuilding of the Jubilee schools and has changed the lives of many under-privileged children. Helping these students exceed academically and learn the value of being good citizens has been rewarding beyond belief.

CB: Looking forward, what skills are you most eager to build or improve upon in business school?

BR: The subject of economics greatly interests me. Since CBU does not offer an economics major, I am eager to learn everything I can about the subject in my undergraduate classes. The universality and depth of economics has not been matched by any other course that I have ever taken. Besides economics, the ability to incorporate math into business is something that really interests me.

CB: What are your plans and goals for life after college?

BR: My goal, right now, is to be accepted to the International MBA program at the Darla Moore School of Business at the University of South Carolina. It is the number one ranked IMBA program in the world for the past twenty-two years. For years, law school has always been stuck in my head, so nothing is set in stone. Right now I am just trying to experience as many things in life as I can.

CB: Are you involved with campus life? Tell us a little about your experience with campus activities, groups, fraternities/sororities, etc., and what it means to you.

BR: I have been involved in two CBU activities: Up Til’ Dawn and Kappa Sigma Fraternity. Both are very rewarding and have helped me to become more involved in the community. I have made life-long friendships in both and would recommend Greek life to any incoming students.

CB: What do you enjoy the most about your CBU experience so far?

BR: The hands-on experience. I took a philosophy class this summer and there were only six people in the class. I do not have any friends at other schools who can claim to have ever had that experience. The engaged teachers really make the learning experience fun. I have found it hard to become bored or lost in any of my CBU courses, because it always seems as if the teacher is speaking directly to me.

CB: You’ve mentioned that you are “a three-time world finalist barrel racer and train barrel horses on the side.” There are numerous videos of you racing on YouTube now, too! Tell us about the sport and your role.

BR: Barrel racing is growing rapidly in the United States and abroad. I have grown up in the extremely competitive environment associated with it, which may be what made me so competitive in other aspects of life. I have made the finals at the National Barrel Horse
Association World Championships three times, in 2008, 2009 and 2011. My best finish was in 2011 where I placed ninth out of over 1200 of the top horses in the world. In the past I have been featured in the Barrel Horse News and sponsored by national brands such as Healthy Steps and Bar-F Products.

CB: You seem very focused, driven, and successful for a sophomore. How do you do it and what advice would you give to incoming freshmen with big dreams?

BR: Mediocrity has always appeared repulsive to me. I look at life with the outlook that I only have one, so I might as well make it the best. I frequently hear people say how lucky some people are to have reached the top. Through my competitive equestrian years,
I have learned that being the best at anything does not come through luck. You have to work three or four times as hard as everyone else if you truly want your ability and ranking to surpass theirs.

To read about Brennen’s experiences and see his pictures, and more, visit our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/cbusob. Features such as Brennen’s can be located in the Photos section. Send us an email at business@cbu.edu if you have an interesting story to tell and would like to be featured as well.