Undergraduate student Alanna Jones leaves Daniels with high praise and national honors

We all know Prince, Adele, Sting and Madonna, but the faculty and staff at the University of Denver’s Daniels College of Business also know Alanna. Alanna Jones isn’t a famous musician (though she did grow up playing the piano, French horn, cello and violin). She’s a rockstar undergraduate student in the 2024 graduating class.

As one of the top 50 business schools in the U.S., Daniels gets to nominate two stellar students for the Top 100 Best & Brightest Business Majors by Poets&Quants For Undergrads.

This year, Jones was an easy choice.Alanna Jones

“Alanna is known on a first-name basis throughout the college,” says Greg Grauberger, executive director of Undergraduate Student Services. “Her engagement level is special. She’s very present, engaged, friendly and knows how to get along with people of all ages—qualities that set apart students who are chosen for the Poets&Quants recognition.”

Jones transferred to DU her sophomore year from the State University of New York at Fredonia after exhausting the school’s extracurricular and advanced academic resources.

At Daniels, Jones changed her major to management (from music therapy), wanting to pursue a career in human resources so she could help more people, and sooner. Three years ago, Daniels didn’t have a pathway toward an HR career. But it does now, thanks to Jones, who paved her own way.

She started the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) chapter at Daniels, which won DU’s 2024 Outstanding Student Organization Award. She is a member and leader of a smorgasbord of clubs: SHRM at DU, Beta Gamma Sigma business honor society, Sigma Iota Epsilon national honorary and professional management society, Daniels Management Club, DU Club Climbing, University of Denver Hillel, Chabad of South Denver, and National Society of Leadership and Success.

“My philosophy on clubs is to get involved with one that’s just for fun, one that gets you exercise, and one with an academic base. I think that gives you a well-rounded perspective of the school and the opportunities that are available,” Jones says.

Recently, she convened all Daniels clubs for a half-day workshop to cooperatively schedule next year’s events so they could prevent attendance conflicts. She won’t be there to reap any benefits; helping others drives her actions.

Assistant teaching professor Kerry Mitchell, one of Jones’ mentors, advisors and instructors, describes her as “phenomenal” with “all this energy.”

“I tease her sometimes, like, ‘do you sleep? How do you get everything done,’ but she does,” Mitchell says.

Jones’ academic honors are equally impressive: Hornbeck Scholar, Daniels Dean’s List, Bowen Career Champion Award, Summit Award, Daniels Undergraduate Student Spotlight and James Lentz End Scholarship. She has placed first and second in numerous Case Competitions—real business challenges with monetary prizes for the best solutions and presentations.

Additionally, Jones has worked as a hiring and recruitment coordinator for the Office of New Student and Family Programs, a 4D peer mentor for new student orientation, a Daniels Ambassador, and a research associate and teaching assistant for the management department. Her multi-tier peer mentorship program experience was featured in another Daniels story.

“I enjoy working with students to make the University a better place and to provide opportunities that weren’t there before,” she says.

Jones also worked as a research associate for Innosphere Ventures, graphic design consultant for Cableland and HR intern at Diverse Talent.

“When you come to a college campus, there are lots of shiny things that can turn your head in the wrong way. She’s resisted all of those and done so many super positive things,” says Grauberger. “There are 168 hours in every week. When you compartmentalize those, you need to eat, you need to sleep, but how do you push other things forward? She’s been exceptional at that. How she fits it all in shows exquisite time management skills.”

Keenly aware that some students struggle to find a sense of belonging on campus—a crucial predictor of success—she encourages club members to bring two or three friends to every event. Jones also intentionally befriends and includes more introverted peers, and encourages them to take the first, and hardest, step of showing up to get involved. Her commitment to inclusion and belonging can’t be understated.

“She’s an old soul,” says Grauberger. “She’s been an adult for a long time.”

This week, Jones graduates with distinction with her bachelor’s degree in management and a minor in finance.

Next up: finding an HR position in a company where she can make a measurable impact.

“She has great leadership skills, she’s a fast thinker, she can get things done without a lot of deliberation, she’s very inclusive, she has excellent communication skills, she’s organized, intelligent, creative and just really fun,” says Mitchell. “Any employer would be lucky to have her.”

Jones stays grounded with a piece of advice she often shares with others.

“Everybody has their own timeline. Don’t compare yourself to others. Am I stressed about finding a job? A little. But, I know it will come in good time and with good connections.”

In the meantime, she is growing those connections, extending her personal brand and bringing value to others through her prolific use of LinkedIn.

“Whoever hires her is going to say ‘geez, I’m a genius,’” Grauberger adds, “because she’s going to make you look like one.”