Lauren Davis, MBA 13

Lauren Davis MBA 13

By Joanna Corman

Like a hard, game-winning spike that leaves a big impression, Lauren Davis has never forgotten the inspiring words of her junior high school club volleyball coach. “He said, ‘play with heart.’ Everything you do in life should be done with heart and with passion.”

With that advice in mind, Davis has hit the ground running as a first-year Full-Time MBA student. She’s found a new interest in marketing and new business development after a successful career in financial services.

Davis’ experience as a scholar-athlete in high school and college, and staying in shape playing high-intensity sports, has rubbed off on her business interests. She plays basketball, beach volleyball and enjoys rock climbing.

And while training for a half marathon this summer, she’ll be interning in the marketing group at the Portland, Ore.-headquarters of Adidas, one of the world’s leading sports brands. Davis will be focusing on Adidas’ women’s line, which is a perfect fit, she says, having grown up wearing the company’s athletic gear.

Her interest in marketing in the MBA program comes after three years charting courses for client investments through the turbulent waters of the global financial crisis. As a registered associate at Morgan Stanley Smith Barney in Pleasanton, Davis helped manage and transfer more than $100 million in assets for high-net worth individuals. Her team oversaw more than $200 million in assets. During the gut-wrenching economic downturn, Davis worked with many retirees or those close to retiring, helping them manage annuities, bonds, equities and other assets.

While at Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, Davis passed the Series 7 and Series 63 exams to earn registration with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, allowing her to make stock trades. She enjoys working with clients and helping to meet their specific needs.

“That was why I became interested in financial services,” she says. “As opposed to doing corporate finance or a financial analyst’s role, I liked the idea of working with clients and helping to grow their portfolio. It’s about building relationships and hopefully having a positive effect on clients’ lives.”

While earning her bachelor’s degree in business administration with an emphasis in international business at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, Davis learned the ropes of financial planning and wealth management during two summer internships at Morgan Stanley and Smith Barney before the companies merged.

Davis also earned a certification in coaching high school girls’ volleyball to give back to a sport that motivated and helped shape her. “It’s exciting to be on the other side having been a player for so many years,” she says. “It’s a great position to be in and have the ability to positively influence other young girls and inspire them.”

Davis played club volleyball in junior high and high school. Her team, Golden Bear Volleyball, competed in the Junior Olympics in Salt Lake City. “To reach that point where you’re at the absolute top of your game is an incredible experience,” she says. “You can push yourself as far as you want to go.”

She’s doing just that at the Graduate School of Management, where she appreciates the close-knit community and the fact that professors and the career development team know her by name. She’s also honing her leadership skills as vice president of communications for the Marketing Association and as an MBA Ambassador, sharing her positive experience with prospective students.

“I chose UC Davis for a reason,” she says. “I’d like to share that enthusiasm and excitement, and encourage others to do the same.”