Sarah Margaret Pittman puts a bit of a spin on her finance knowledge. Though she dabbles in the stock market, she also pays attention to up-and-coming musical acts, trying to figure out which ones will be successful. “That attraction is you want to get something before it’s big and kind of capitalize on it,” she says.
This integration between finance and music is something she hopes to explore in her honors thesis. She says her ultimate goal is working in investments in a big city either in the United States or internationally.
Sarah Margaret, a junior majoring in finance at the Sam M. Walton College of Business, says she wants to live somewhere where there is a financial hub as well as rich culture, such as London, England, where she is going this summer to study at the London School of Economics. (Mick Jagger of The Rolling Stones went to school there, she points out.) She says she hopes to make contacts so she can potentially return after she graduates.
Her business sense began at a young age under the guidance of her father, Sam Pittman IV, a Walton College alumnus. When Sarah Margaret and her siblings requested a black Labrador retriever, he had them present their case boardroom style. The children used a tri-board as they pointed out the benefits of having a dog in the home. Their request was successful. The children pooled their money and got a dog.
Years later, Sarah Margaret was asked to make a similar pitch only if she planned to attend a school that wasn’t the University of Arkansas. A presentation was never given. The Texas girl had the University of Arkansas engrained in her. She spent her earliest years wearing an Arkansas Razorbacks cheerleading costume and knew how to call the Hogs. Besides her father, her older brother, Sam Pittman V, graduated from Walton College with a marketing degree. Dr. Molly Rapert, an associate marketing professor at the college and longtime family friend, also served as an inspiration. “I just adore her, and she was a fabulous ambassador and representative of the University of Arkansas,” Sarah Margaret says.
Torn between studying business and creative writing, she knew that the University of Arkansas offered excellent programs in both. During her freshman year, she took the introductory core business classes as well as some in creative writing. By the end of her first year, she declared a major in business with a minor in English. She says she focused on finance because it allows her to be in the middle of the action.
Since then, Sarah Margaret has participated in a number of activities with her fellow students. A member of the Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority, she has served on the Walton College Honors Student Executive Board where her duties have included acting as alumni chair. She has also studied abroad twice, once in England and once in Italy. She says the mentorship provided by the professors has been invaluable along with the friendships formed while here. “The camaraderie among students in the Walton College contributes to the overall college experience,” she says.
After graduation, she’ll draw from her classes, professors’ advice and other Walton College experiences as she finds her place in the finance industry. “It’s not like you read a book and just figure out what to do,” she says.