Samantha Brill Named to Poets&Quants 100 Best and Brightest MBAs

With Zoom as the classroom norm over the past year, passionate student leaders have led the charge in finding new ways to interact and connect across the Graduate School of Management.  

Full-Time MBA student Samantha Brill was one of the first to step up to that challenge, bridging gaps and connecting her classmates as a student ambassador, co-president of Davis Net Impact and president of Charity for Change at UC Davis, to build new relationships.

For her extracurricular activities, leadership and potential, Brill was honored as one of the 100 Best & Brightest MBA graduates in 2021 by Poets&Quants.

“I'm honored to be able to represent the Graduate School of Management in this capacity. The last two years have been challenging but also wonderful. I've learned more than I could have ever imagined—from my classmates, professors, and the staff—and I am so grateful to be selected as a member of the class of 2021 and for the support I’ve received over the last two years.” —Samantha Brill MBA 21

This year, P&Q received 239 nominations from 68 programs. Of the 239 nominations, Brill is one of 60 women in the top-100.

“This is indeed a significant honor, and we are all grateful that Samantha chose to pursue her graduate management education at UC Davis,” Dean H. Rao Unnava said.

Poets&Quants' MBA Best & Brightest: Class of 2021
Meet all of Poets&Quants’ top-100 Best & Brightest awardees.

“She has been a tremendous student leader throughout this past year’s digital shift, ensuring that the spirit of community that is unique to the Graduate School of Management remains. This is the first of many accomplishments for her, and we look forward to celebrating many more of her successes as her professional career unfolds.”

Last summer, Brill interned in the private wealth management division of Goldman Sachs in San Francisco, and she has accepted a career position there when she graduates next month.

Constant Collaboration

Brill is the epitome of a collaborative leader. In fact, it’s the reason she choose to attend the UC Davis MBA program, noting the School’s emphasis on teamwork and how that translates into the professional world.

“Fruitful collaboration is a tenant of high-functioning organizations,” she said. “Learning how to work with individuals with varying skillsets and styles is critical to ensuring an effective and collaborative corporate environment. However, the emphasis that business school places on group work is unlike anything I’ve experienced as an undergrad or elsewhere. Over the past two years, I’ve exercised underdeveloped muscles and have built up an entirely new skillset as a direct result of this type of work.”

Brill served as Lecturer Daniel Kennedy’s teaching assistant in his class this past year.

“With more than three decades of teaching experience at the Graduate School of Management, I am hard pressed to think of any student worthy of more superlatives than Sam Brill,” Kennedy said. “In my 2019 class, Sam had the highest grades by far, and demonstrated tremendous collaborative leadership with all her peers…She brought her nurturing, supportive style to the students in this alien environment, devoting endless hours to grading, coaching and problem solving.”

IMPACT Project Logo
During the first quarter of her second year at the GSM, Brill led her MBA student team in their Integrated Management Project with Mars, Inc.

Brill said she’s most proud of her selection as team lead for her Integrated Management Project—the MBA program’s capstone consulting project—where she led a team of four other students on a project for food and confections giant Mars, Inc.

“The world's leading manufacturer of chocolate asked us how they could reduce their greenhouse gas emissions,” she explained.

“Our team formulated a shared vision forward, developed a strategy, and delivered our recommendations to Mars on schedule. I learned valuable lessons from my team members as well as the leaders at Mars. Most importantly, we produced an actionable end product in answer to a GHG problem that I care deeply about, which is very rewarding.”

View Poets&Quants’ top-100 Best & Brightest list >

Samantha Brill’s profile on Poets&Quants >