Anyone familiar with the Forbes Under 30 Summit knows it’s not a typical conference. It’s a high-energy event featuring A-list speakers, cutting-edge content and a startup entrepreneurial hub, as well as live music performances and a world-class food festival. It’s a gathering of some of the brightest entrepreneurs and innovators from across industries. And each year, 1,000 scholars from around the world are invited to learn, network and exchange ideas.
Senior finance major Christian Braverman was one of six UW-Whitewater students who applied to be 2019 summit scholars and were accepted. After the event, he shared highlights from both the conference and his collegiate career at the UW-Whitewater College of Business and Economics.
Braverman, who credits his drive to succeed to his parents, adjusted to campus life quickly as a freshman after graduating from Homestead High School in Mequon, Wisconsin.
“I got involved in different groups on campus right away, which connected me to a lot of other people,” he said. “That became more challenging as my study load increased, but I really like to be busy.”
In addition to being on the UW-Whitewater Black Student Union board and part of the Zeta Iota Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, he was a Warhawk Ambassador and a resident assistant. Getting involved on campus helped Braverman develop real-world skills, as well.
“Working in the Career and Leadership Development office gave me opportunities to interview, hire and mentor student workers. And I learned a lot about leadership by serving on the state board for my fraternity. I found that being an effective leader requires being a great listener. I try to listen to the people I’m working with or delegating to, and that allows me to learn from them.”
Tim Carr, lecturer in the finance and business law department, has seen Braverman’s approach to leadership firsthand.
“I’ve gotten to know Christian through several classes,” he said. “He is inspiring to other people through his leadership skills. His personality is engaging — but not over-the-top — so people are drawn to him.”
Leadership was critical to becoming a Forbes Under 30 Scholar because applicants had to relate how they embodied leadership and innovation. And the qualities of leadership and innovation were spotlighted during the immersive event held in Detroit, Michigan, on Oct. 27-30.
“People came from around the world to present and attend and there was a lot of cutting-edge technology,” Braverman said. “Cadillac had cars with hands-free driver-assist you could try, and there was a booth where you could make a music video.”
“If you have entrepreneurial dreams, the summit is an amazing experience,” he added. “Serena Williams, Kevin Durant and rapper Quavo shared how they manage budgets and run their enterprises. There were a lot of young entrepreneurs who are already millionaires — including a real estate developer who’s a huge success at 23 years old. They were all really open about the hours they work and the effort it takes to succeed. Their stories will inspire me for years.”
Braverman is working to graduate in December and hopes to find a job in Milwaukee or the southern states after graduation.
“I would love to get my foot in the door in property development or real estate analysis,” he said. “My internship in the real estate department at Advocate Aurora Health was a turning point for me. It was as if everything had been leading up to that experience. Eventually, I’d like to start a small commercial real estate portfolio.”
Carr has no doubts about Braverman’s future.
“With regard to school work, he genuinely wants to understand how to do something, and he comes to my office to see why something’s wrong. That same work ethic and level of commitment will take him far in his career.”
In turn, Braverman encouraged high school and college students to consider finance as a major.
“Finance is needed in all companies and applies in all forms of management, so it’s a great career choice. And don’t be afraid of the math. The finance professors at UW-Whitewater are great, and I persevere despite the math.”
In addition to Braverman, finance major Brian Diggs, accounting major Dy’Quan Gipson, accounting and supply chain major Brittany Gruel, graduate student Ricky Newell, and general management major Joshua Williams were chosen as Forbes Under 30 Scholars.