MBA Student Association

The MBASA provides a chance for students to interact with fellow students, faculty, business leaders, and the surrounding community.

MBA Student Association (MBASA)

The organization offers a series of activities to address professional and business issues that are not generally included in the formal program but are critical to the overall MBA experiences. The MBASA seeks to enhance the educational experience by:

  • Providing social events to unite the student population
  • Bringing together alumni, area business leaders, and MBA students for collaboration
  • Promoting the prestige of the NC State MBA program
  • Creating an opportunity for students to supplement their classroom education
  • Mentoring new MBA students and familiarizing them with the campus and the program
  • Strengthening community ties through outreach activities

Meet the MBASA Board

Andrew Bowker

Andrew is currently pursuing a concentration in entrepreneurship & technology commercialization as a HiTEC scholar where enjoys working with the Wolfpack Investor’s Network and the Entrepreneurship Clinic in Downtown Raleigh. Following undergraduate studies at NC State, he worked both in non-profit and in software (SaaS) where he honed leadership and relationship management skills. His work in non-profit ignited a love for small business, especially technology startups. He hopes to use his MBA experiences to start a company of his own or provide value to small business start-ups. He wants to leverage business to make society better. On the weekends you can find Andrew trying new restaurants with his wife, watching Wolfpack sports (for better or for worse), dreaming up “the next big thing” or scrolling through Bernese mountain dog Instagram accounts.

Russell Thornton
Vice President

Russell Thornton is a licensed attorney and is a second year MBA student where he is concentrating in financial management. After earning his bachelor of arts degree in economics with a minor in Spanish from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, he matriculated into Campbell University Norman Adrian Wiggins School of Law. He earned his juris doctor (JD) in May of 2017 and passed the North Carolina bar exam the following summer. As a dual degree student, he is now completing the remaining requirements for the MBA and will graduate in December of 2018. Upon graduation, he hopes to work in corporate law and possibly in the areas of mergers and acquisitions or privacy and data security.

Jessica Best
Event Chair

Jessica is a second year MBA student concentrating in marketing & decision analytics. In the summer 2018, she worked as the marketing intern for Playtex Nursing at Hanesbrands, Inc. in Winston-Salem, NC. She received her undergraduate degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, majoring in journalism & mass communication, with a concentration in public relations & advertising. Following her undergraduate studies, she worked with a small advertising agency in Charlotte, NC, before returning to school to pursue her graduate degree. When she’s not studying, you can find her volunteering at the Raleigh Rescue Mission, attending concerts with friends or walking around Raleigh in search of the next best restaurant.

Gretchen Grajales
Communications Chair

Originally from Puerto Rico, Gretchen came to North Carolina pursuing a career in IT, in which she has worked for over 6 years. Over that period, she collaborated with three partners and started a successful food truck business called Spanglish, serving food from her native Puerto Rico. She enjoys travel, having visited 15 countries in the past 3 years, and aims to fill her passport over the next 5.

Steffani McLean
Service Chair

Steffani McLean is a second year MBA student with a marketing management concentration. Originally from Greensboro, NC, she graduated from the University of North Carolina a Chapel Hill with a bachelor of arts in exercise and sport science & sport administration and a minor in Spanish. Steffani has previous experience in sports marketing and worked in healthcare for two years following her undergraduate studies. She decided to pursue her MBA in hopes of working in product or brand management within the CPG or retail industry following graduation.

Varun Prakash
UGSA Chair

Varun Prakash is a second year MBA student concentrating in supply chain and decision analytics. He grew up in Delhi, India and received his undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering from Delhi University. Prior to coming back to school for his MBA, Varun worked in the Oil & Gas sector for more than a decade. Upon graduation, he plans to gain some more experience in the energy/manufacturing sector and subsequently move on to working in his startup.

Sara Sonderman
Event Chair

Sara Sonderman is a second year MBA student concentrating in supply chain management. She grew up in Charlotte, NC and obtained her undergraduate degree in operations management from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. Sara worked for four years as a corporate meeting and event planner prior to deciding to come back and get her MBA.


All it takes to join MBASA is a one time payment of $100.  This payment covers your entire time in the program during which you will be able to participate in MBASA sponsored activities as well as activities through other MBA clubs that are supported through MBASA funds.

Talk to a board member if you are not yet a part of MBASA but would like to join.

Interested in a leadership position?

MBASA holds elections each year for new board members. Benefits for board members include:

  • $500 conference stipend
  • complimentary tickets to the Shelton Leadership Forum
  • customized leadership development training