Sara Petrov arrived at UAB sure of one thing: she wanted to major in the School of Business. Sara, a native of Toronto, Canada, attended UAB on an athletic scholarship as a member of the synchronized swimming team. Initially uncertain of her major, it was not until Dr. Sarah Culver’s introductory macroeconomics course that she found a discipline that piqued her interest. In particular, she remembers Dr. Culver’s talent in contextualizing abstract concepts like gross domestic product and interest rates and applying them to the real world.

Sara was a member of the inaugural cohort of the Business Honors Program, then directed by Dr. Charles Cowan. She describes how, to this day, she is grateful of Dr. Cowan’s final project and the lasting effect it has had on her career. Business Honors students conducted research for Operation New Birmingham, a new initiative to attract businesses back to the downtown sector of the city. Sara, part of a 5-member team, recounts being lost with her project partner in the computer lab for two weeks in the beginning phases of the project. Surmounting the arduous procedure of deciphering the esoteric language of company annual reports as well as the empirical component of the project were her greatest rewards. The group’s research presentation was featured in Birmingham News. Today, the Business Honors Program has grown to 19 students under direction of assistant professor, Stephen Yoder.


Upon graduation, Sara accepted a position as an analyst at CIBC (Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce) in her hometown of Toronto. Working with corporate banking, she provides financing for large corporations. Her background as an athlete and business major well prepared her for the frenzy of the corporate arena, in particular, the virtue of multitasking, asking the right questions and integrating research successfully.


After two years at CIBC, Sara will be attending Cornell University in Ithaca, New York to pursue her MBA. She plans to transition from corporate to investment banking and eventually embark upon Wall Street.