EPIC Spotlight: Hannah Birch

Hannah Birch likes solving problems. She sees herself someday working for a consulting firm, helping businesses figure out mergers, acquisitions and management practices.

Coming to the University of Arkansas was an easy choice. Growing up about 45 miles southwest of Little Rock in the town of Malvern, her family always rooted for the Razorbacks. Following in the footsteps of her older brother, she became a U of A student. “This was the only place I applied,” she says matter-of-factly.

Hannah was inspired to pursue an education at the Sam M. Walton College of Business when she came to the university as a junior for a convocation that featured presentations by Walton students as well as Jason Adams, the college’s Honors Programs associate director, and Javier Reyes, vice provost for distance education and business professor. Hannah learned about the college’s rankings and opportunities for internships and real-world experience. The different study abroad programs offered through the college particularly interested her. “I knew I wanted to go to Belize,” she says.

During her freshmen year, she did. While there, Hannah and her fellow classmates participated in a community development program helping fledgling entrepreneurs, which included a daycare provider and juice salesman, with business planning, marketing and bookkeeping skills.

Since then, she has traveled to Mozambique, where she helped a poultry company analyze profitability measures, and to Rome, participating in the National Model United Nations class taught by Robert Stapp. While at the National Model United Nations, Hannah served on the Brazil team in the general assembly.

Now, Hannah participates in similar panels to the ones she encountered in high school encouraging students to come to the Walton College. “I try to show them the endless opportunities available here, like studying abroad,” she says.

She also works to partner freshmen with upper classmen through university’s Walton Honors peer mentorship program for honors students. “Students have great perspective and insight to share with one another because we deal with similar situations,” she says.

Hannah, now a junior, majors in both finance and accounting. Both involve working with numbers – which she likes – and problem solving.

She is vice president of membership for Walton’s Finance Association and chaired the freshman initiatives committee for the Walton Honors Student Executive Board. Hannah is also a member of Leadership Walton.

Away from Walton College, she is president of her sorority, Kappa Kappa Gamma, where she has also served as treasurer, and is a U of A Ambassador. Hannah is the recipient of an Honors College Fellowship and the Governor’s Distinguished Scholarship.

In the summer of 2014, she served an internship with the insurance division of BancorpSouth in Little Rock, where she helped build different programs, assessed the risk exposure of companies and organized some of the past policies for a few of the bank’s larger clients. She also has an internship with ConocoPhillips in Bartlesville, Oklahoma.

Following graduation, Hannah says she hopes to work for “three or four” years and then possibly earn an M.B.A. But in the meantime, she enjoys telling future students about the advantages of becoming a Walton student. “You get the big school opportunities but in a small group setting,” she says.