UAB’s Collat School of Business offers more than one path to success. Take it from these two.


UAB Collat School of Business
Carly Niswander and Helen Zhou outside of the UAB Collat School of Business. Photo via Bham Now

With a brand-new building and an award-winning program, the UAB Collat School of Business is one of the nation’s best resources for students looking to enter the business world. No matter where they start, the school prepares each and every student for success.

If you’re looking to get a step up in the world of business, make sure to apply to UAB Collat.

One of the Nation’s Best Business Colleges

2018A91 464 Pre UAB's Collat School of Business offers more than one path to success. Take it from these two.
Accelerate your career at the UAB Collat School of Business. Photo courtesy UAB Collat School of Business

Did you know that The Princeton Review reported UAB’s Collat School of Business as one of the nation’s best business colleges in 2020? Here’s why:

  • Whether it’s internships, networking events, professional in-class speakers or experiential learning opportunities, Collat connects students to the business world early on.
  • With under 3,000 students, each student will make meaningful connections with the faculty.
  • The diverse population of UAB exposes students to people of all different cultures and backgrounds, giving them a broad worldview.

I recently sat down with two undergrads to hear how they came to the business school at UAB and how that experience is preparing them for their professional careers. Here’s what I learned!

Carly Niswander

UAB Collat School of Business
Carly Niswander is a Senior Marketing major at UAB Collat. Photo via Bham Now

Did you know that more than 60% of Collat’s student body is transfer students? One of those is Carly Niswander, who recently transferred to UAB from Jefferson State Community College.

Originally from Clanton, AL, Carly is now a senior at Collat. Carly rarely has a free moment–in addition to school and her three jobs, Carly spends her time volunteering with the Laura Crandall Brown Foundation, which works to raise awareness of and support for gynecologic cancers.

Helen Zhou

UAB Collat School of Business
Helen majors in Economics, with a double minor in Math and International Business. Photo via Bham Now

Although Helen was born right here in Birmingham, her family moved to China when she was 6 months old. She moved back to the States at the age of five, but goes back to visit China every couple of years. In addition to traveling, Helen loves photography, coffee shops and trying new foods here in Birmingham.

Helen is also running for Executive Vice President of the Undergraduate Student Government Association this semester.

Bham Now Q&A

UAB Collat School of Business
Carly and Helen take a break in the common area in Collat. Photo via Bham Now

Bham Now: Tell us about your journey to the UAB Collat School of Business.

Carly: During my time at Jeff State, I heard about UAB’s business school. I immediately scheduled a tour. I can’t really explain it, but the minute I stepped foot on campus, I knew that this was where I belonged. During the transfer process, UAB’s transfer recruiter was a tremendous help. I was very impressed that a university would take the time to make a personal connection with me like that.

Bham Now: Why did you choose UAB Collat?

Carly: I chose UAB’s Collat School of Business because of the opportunities I felt like the school could offer me. I was also fortunate enough to receive two scholarships from UAB that covered my entire tuition. The scholarships have introduced me to some of my best friends, allowed me to meet the Collat family, and given me the chance to give back to the community through volunteer opportunities like Project Homeless Connect.

Helen: I chose UAB because it was a place that I felt comfortable in especially with the diverse environment it has. My father is a researcher at UAB, so I was able to grow up here and see how much UAB has changed over the years. I love the environment and all the different people I have been able to meet here. UAB has definitely held a special place in my heart!

Bham Now: How do you like UAB Collat? What is your favorite part of the program?

Carly: At UAB I have found friendships, mentors, experience and an education that I don’t think I could have gained anywhere else. UAB has given me opportunities to gain real experience with marketing software. In fact, I recently accepted a Digital Marketing internship with a company that I worked with last semester.

Helen: Collat not only has the prettiest building, in my opinion, but it also has a unique atmosphere. Once you walk into Collat, you can feel a different energy, one that is driven by professionalism and confidence. The best way to describe it is that everyone looks focused and ready to go into a career. Additionally, I am constantly encouraged by my advisor, staff, and faculty to strive for opportunities to succeed.

Bham Now: Outside of your classwork, how are you involved at UAB?

Carly:  I have always believed that people have a better experience when they are more involved. I became involved with the UAB Transfer Student Organization, which has has allowed me to share my story with others and help make future transfer students’ transitions a little bit easier. In addition, I am the only transfer student that is also a Business Student Leader and I’m pretty proud of that. The Collat Scholars first welcomed me to UAB and encouraged me to get more involved, not just on campus, but also in the community and have had a huge impact on my volunteer experience.

Helen: Outside of Collat, I currently serve as a UAB Ambassador, UAB International Mentor, and a USGA Collat School of Business Senator. I am especially grateful to be able to work in the Collat Career Center as a Career Peer Mentor. Through this position, I have not only been able to interact with both students and employers, but I have been able to build professional and personal friendships with everyone in my office and the school!

Bham Now: What are your plans after graduation?

Carly: After graduation, I hope to become a Digital Marketing Specialist. My ultimate goal is to become a Director of Digital Marketing, and UAB Collat has prepared me to take the next step with the help of their phenomenal faculty and unique classroom experience.

Helen: After graduation, my goal is to attend Georgetown University and obtain my Executive MBA in their Global Experience Program. I ultimately want to pursue a career in international business with a consulting or investment banking company. Collat has so many opportunities and resources that allow me to be successful. Not only do we have our own career center, but we also have a welcome center, tutoring lab, and professional education.

Want to learn more about UAB Collat?

20200221 151736 CollatStudents UAB's Collat School of Business offers more than one path to success. Take it from these two.
Business students Carly Niswander and Helen Zhou enjoy student life at UAB Collat. Photo via Bham Now

Thinking about taking the next step to success at the UAB Collat School of Business? Apply online or schedule a visit to get a first-hand look at what it’s like to study business at UAB.

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Nathan Watson
Nathan Watson

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