2022 Best & Brightest MBA: Annabel Reeves, Southern Methodist University (Cox)

Annabel Reeves

Southern Methodist University, Cox School of Business

“Energetic, empathetic, and passionate; Always looking for ways to connect with and support others.”

Hometown: Dallas, TX

Fun fact about yourself: I volunteer at an organization in Dallas called Equest with their equine-assisted therapy lessons for children. I’ve always been a huge animal lover and find it really special when animals are used to help people.

Undergraduate School and Degree: University of Texas at Austin – BA in Psychology, Minors in Business and French

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? First Republic Bank in Menlo Park, CA as a Senior Credit Analyst within the Venture Capital Services Team

Where did you intern during the summer of 2021? Dallas, TX – Goldman Sachs, Private Wealth Management

Where will you be working after graduation? Goldman Sachs, Private Wealth Management, Advisor

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School:

  • Volunteer as Chief of Staff for Venture Dallas, a non-profit focused on supporting the early-stage investor community in North Texas
  • Volunteer at The Slate, a women-focused co-working space, as their Capital Advisor, where I support entrepreneurs as they navigate funding & investment opportunities

Leadership Roles in Business School:

  • Peer-Elected Treasurer of the Student Advisory Board
  • VP of Fundraising & Sponsorship Development for the SMU Cox School of Business – Graduate Entrepreneurship Club
  • Teaching Assistant for Financial Account I (Dr. Susan Riffe) and Applied Corporate Finance (Dr. Amar Gande)

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? What I’m most proud of during business school is the time I spent as an officer of the Graduate Entrepreneurship Club designing and launching SMU’s first Business Accelerator Program for student entrepreneurs. It required a lot of work around the clock, but it was so rewarding to bring curriculum, networking opportunities, and over $50,000 in cash and in-kind prizes to a handful of incredibly talented and driven student entrepreneurs at SMU and SMU Cox. Watching the students grow and learn over the course of 6 months has been so exciting, and we can’t wait to see where their entrepreneurial journeys take them from here!

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? The achievement I’m most proud of in my professional career is the moment I decided to take a huge risk after I graduated UT Austin and move halfway across the country to San Francisco, CA to start working in a new industry on my own. Pivoting from a psychology background into the world of business (specifically early-stage technology and venture capital) was not easy, and I had a huge hill to climb in my first few months of Silicon Valley Bank’s associate development program. I ended up falling in love with the exciting world of innovation and entrepreneurship, and many of the soft skills I had learned in psychology allowed me to flourish in this new role. Had I been too scared to take the risk and move, I would have missed out on so many of the opportunities my early career brought me.

Why did you choose this business school? After an exciting beginning to my career in the Bay Area, I knew that Dallas was home and where I wanted to plant roots for the next phase of my life. I also knew that SMU represented the best of Dallas’ thriving business community and would present me with so many great professional opportunities. Going to SMU meant I would be plugged into the best networks, organizations, and career paths possible in Texas and, frankly, in the rest of the country. Dallas has been exploding with talent and investment over the last few years, and I knew SMU would be at the heart of all of the developments taking place in our region.

What was your favorite MBA event or tradition at your business school? My favorite MBA event was definitely our Global Leadership Program. Every year, SMU takes its MBA students on an overseas trip where students work with an international company on a real-time problem the company is looking to solve. My class had the opportunity to travel to Portugal and work with a local business that sought our help to commercialize their med-tech products in the USA. It was an exciting and stimulating exercise, and I made great friends during the trip, both within SMU and local to Portugal!

Looking back over your MBA experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently and why? Looking back, I really can’t say I would change a thing about my MBA experience. There were moments when I felt overwhelmed between the class work, internship hunt, and extracurricular activities, but all of that hard work paid off and set me up for success for the next chapter of my career. It’s important to remember to have time to be social and make friends that you’ll have in your circle for life, so maybe I missed out on a little of that at the beginning. But now that the program is wrapping up, I feel like I’ve not only accomplished the MBA program and met my career goals, but I’ve also made some amazing friends, too.

What is the biggest myth about your school? I think a big myth people have about SMU Cox (and perhaps business school in general) is that it’s expensive and you need to be independently wealthy to pursue this program. I had saved up a lot while working in order to help myself through school. I was fortunate enough to receive a generous scholarship from SMU, and later learned that the majority of MBA students at SMU Cox receive some amount of financial support. An MBA at SMU Cox is not only for “rich kids,” and I’m proud to say that the money I have spent to take part in this program has been a positive investment in myself and future career.

What surprised you the most about business school? What surprised me the most about business school is how far the “MBA Business Card” from SMU Cox will get you. It seems like no matter who I reach out to, they are more than happy to sit down and chat with me because I’m an SMU Cox MBA student. Whether it is someone I want to learn from, intern for, or simply have as a friend, everyone in the community has welcomed me with open arms and seems genuinely happy to connect with an SMU Cox MBA student and share their story with me. It has been so much fun, and I never would have expected to make so many meaningful relationships in such a short period of time.

What is one thing you did during the application process that gave you an edge at the school you chose? I spent a lot of time getting to know the Admissions Director and letting him get to know me in return. I was living in San Francisco at the time I became interested in an MBA and found out that SMU Cox was coming on an MBA Tour through my city, so I had a chance to meet the Admissions Director in person before ever applying. I kept in touch with him over the next few months, being sure to always ask good questions about the program & to let him know how excited I was about the opportunity to attend SMU Cox. Forming a personal relationship with the Admissions Team and letting them know your story is a great way for MBA applicants to stand out from other applicants.  

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? The MBA classmate I most admire is Irewole (“Wole”) Akande. Wole has an incredible story in that he was born and raised in Nigeria before moving to the US to attend university and eventually launch his own business (City Health Tech). He is an inspiring entrepreneur who always pushes himself to succeed. I’ve been impressed by Wole since we first met, and I know he is going to do amazing things throughout his career! I’m proud to call him my friend.

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? At my most recent job prior to pursuing my MBA, I had the pleasure of working for a woman named Kate McRoskey at First Republic Bank. She became a role model to me in so many ways and taught me a lot about what it means to be a true professional leader. She also taught me a lot about the business world (my background from undergrad was in psychology). I realized through my conversations with her that an MBA would be the best next step for me (she earned her masters from Stanford).

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

1) Meaningfully invest in women-founded companies

2) Work abroad for a portion of my career

What made Annabel such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2022?

“I got to know Annabel Reeves in my Technology Strategy course where she contributed actively and with very thoughtful comments and ideas about the different case discussions. Her experience from her career in Silicon Valley working with entrepreneurs helped to add significant original thoughts to the classroom.

We stayed in touch through her various activities in the Dallas community. She co-launched an accelerator for student entrepreneurs where she recruited student entrepreneurs, found esteemed judges and mentors to take part in the program, and raised funds from local corporations and alums to support the student entrepreneurs.

What impressed me was how she was able to balance her strong dedication to the SMU Cox MBA program with her involvement in internships (Blossom Street Ventures, Clearco, Interlock Partners) and non-profit projects (Venture Dallas, The Slate) which were all aimed at supporting the growing early-stage entrepreneurship community in Dallas.

I have experienced Annabel as a very curious and proactive student and business leader; always supportive of students and like-minded entrepreneurs. She engaged strongly in the local community, where she was able to connect to a broad network of SMU and SMU Cox alumni and business leaders.

Annabel Reeves is one of the strongest and most promising students I have had the pleasure to observe in my classroom.”

Helmuth Ludwig
SMU Cox Professor of Practice for Strategy and Entrepreneurship

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