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A Bright Future in the Windy City

A Bright Future in the Windy City

Briana Neal '16 is preparing to graduate from the University of Chicago and launch her career in management consulting. 

The final semester of senior year marks a time to reflect on past accomplishments while also looking toward the future. For Briana Neal ’16, there is much to celebrate, past, present and future. 

Briana arrived at Holy Innocents’ Episcopal School in sixth grade and during her time as a Golden Bear, she sang in chorus, was a member of the golf team and volunteered with the admission office, Horizons Atlanta, the Atlanta Community Food Bank and the Clarkston Community Center. After taking AP Microeconomics she knew she wanted to study business and that led her college search, with help from the counseling department. 

“I was in the college counseling office practically every day,” she said. “They helped me a lot and I’m so grateful.” 

With a desire to study business, explore a different part of the country and experience a real winter, and with a QuestBridge scholarship in her pocket, Briana decided on the University of Chicago. Real winter? Check. 

“I’ve had a broad amount of opportunities at the university,” Briana said. She is the vice president of the Organization of Black Students, student director of the Rogers Internship Program and senior advisor for the Organization of Minority Professional Development. She serves as a mentor at Moneythink in Chicago, where she works with high school students to help them develop financial literacy. 

As part of the business program, Briana participated in university-sponsored “treks,” which are four-day immersion trips focusing on different aspects of business studies. In 2017 she took a finance trek to London and a business/STEM trek to Dubai. On the treks, students meet with potential employers and learn about career opportunities within different industries. 

She inked her passport with an additional stamp from Spain, where she completed a study abroad program at Universitat Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona from March to June 2019. 

In summer 2018, Briana interned in the New York office of BNY Mellon, a global investments company and in summer 2019 with the Chicago office of Bain & Company, where she has been hired as an associate consultant starting after graduation. She will enjoy additional travel opportunities in her position. In a “small world” moment, Briana learned that fellow Golden Bear Hailey Wilson ’16, who will graduate from Stanford University in May, has been hired as an associate consultant in Bain & Company’s Los Angeles office. 

While education and work have taken her far, both in distance and success, Atlanta and HIES will always be home. Briana particularly enjoyed math with Jennifer Goldsberry and AP World History with Chris Yarsawich

“He was a teacher who truly loved what he was teaching and doing,” she said. “And Mrs. Goldsberry made math class really creative and interesting.” 

"Briana has a contagious smile that lights up a room," Mrs. Goldsberry said. "She was one of those kids that everyone wanted to be around, both students and faculty. She's excelling and I'm so proud of her." 

Briana keeps fond memories of HIES clubs, chorus and “running to the dining hall on chicken tendies day,” she said. “All my teachers were great and I got to grow and mature alongside some really good friends.”