C. Blake McDaniel is interested in the intersection of law and business, and he’s taking advantage of the educational opportunities in both fields at UGA. He is seeking a juris doctor degree from the School of Law and a master of business administration degree from the Terry College of Business. He’s interested in working with governments to establish and revise the laws and regulations that govern international transactions, with the goal of making them as efficient as possible. As a seasoned world traveler who has taken advantage of several study abroad opportunities while at the university, Blake aims to help create a world that better serves all members of society.
Mitchell-Baker High School
Juris Doctor, Master of Business Administration
International Business (Finance)/German, UGA
University highlights, achievements, awards and scholarships:
I was honored to receive the Monroe Kimbrel Scholarship at the start of my MBA program. The namesake of the scholarship was an intelligent and thoughtful individual who gave much back to the community. That scholarship has in many ways enabled much of what I have done since, including my current employment. The scholarship has also allowed me to focus more time on my duties as executive conference editor of the Georgia Journal of International and Comparative Law.
As the executive conference editor, I organized a conference on international human rights and climate change. Despite some setbacks, including snow on the day of the conference that prompted the school to close early, there was a great turnout and some very interesting and informative academic pieces are being published in the journal as a result. I am also very honored that the journal will be publishing a piece that I have written in the same edition as the conference pieces.
I am proud of the fact that I have had the opportunity to be involved in several other student organizations as well. In the coming year, I will be the president of the Georgia Society of International and Comparative Law and will be a co-organizer of the Business-Law Symposium, which is hosted by the Terry College of Business and the School of Law.
I work at the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. I started my employment in the legal department researching diverse topics and drafting and reviewing documents, but recently I transitioned to the retail payments office, where I will focus on international payments. At the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, I have had the opportunity to work with some extremely intelligent and talented people, from whom I have learned a lot.
I chose to attend UGA because…
…it is a world-class university with an amazing faculty and staff, not to mention it is very affordable and in a great town. The School of Law is in the top tier and the business school has many distinguished alumni. I have found that the students, faculty and staff are all very congenial and supportive, which is important in a learning environment. The tuition is reasonable and there are numerous tuition assistance programs. Athens has many attractions, including a healthy music scene, and Atlanta isn’t far away. I enjoy being able to drive to visit my family and old friends in my home town as well.
My favorite things to do on campus are…
…to explore campus and meet new and interesting people. There is no shortage of bright and friendly people at the university who come from diverse backgrounds and are doing different things. I am always glad when I have the opportunity to meet and interact with new people. You learn something, both about yourself and the other person, when you interact with them. Your connections with other people can also lead to places you never thought you would go, such as a new course of study, an exchange program or a new job. Perhaps most important, though, is that the new people you meet may turn out to be some of the most important people in your life. I have met several of my closest friends at the university, and they will always play an important role in my life.
When I have free time, I like…
…to spend time catching up with friends. I like hearing about their accomplishments, future plans and opinions on current events, as well as just hanging out. My friends help me relax when I am stressed and they help me find motivation when I can’t otherwise. It doesn’t matter what we do, we always seem to have a great time.
The craziest thing I’ve done is…
…going on a year-long study abroad program my junior year in high school to the Netherlands. That choice was very impulsive, but has turned out to be one of the most influential decisions that I have made. Not only had I never been away from home for more than a week, I had also never been out of the country. However, when I found out about the opportunity it sparked an interest in me that has now turned into a passion. I wondered how the other society would differ from the one I had known for so long, whether I could learn the language, and how I would interact with the people. Luckily, I had a supportive family that enabled this experience. I had a great time and learned quite a bit, not only about Dutch culture, but also about myself. I will remember the new friends I met and my host family for the rest of my life.
My experience in the Netherlands led me to take advantage of the numerous study abroad opportunities at the University of Georgia, including two study abroad programs in Germany and one in China. My time in China, though brief, has led to take Chinese language classes upon my return. In addition, I am currently preparing to take a leave of absence from the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta to participate in an externship program with the Dubai Judiciary in the United Arab Emirates, and I’m sure this won’t be my last trip abroad.
My favorite place to study is…
…on the North Campus quadrangle. While perhaps not as productive as when I study in the Law Library annex, when I study on the quad I feel much more relaxed. It is always great to get out and enjoy the beautiful scenery on North Campus, especially when the weather is nice. I am grateful that we have such a dedicated grounds crew to ensure that our campus stays beautiful.
My favorite professor is…
…difficult to identify, because after eight years at the university, I have had so many great professors! A German professor that stands out in my mind is Dr. Inge Dibella, who taught several of my German classes, organized the German study abroad programs in which I participated, and continues to be a helpful and supportive advisor. Several of my professors in Law School have been brilliant: I have learned quite a bit from professor Christian Turner, who was my first year property professor and started the Supreme Court discussion group that I joined this past year; professor Peter Rutledge taught one of my favorite classes and is genuinely concerned about his students; and professor C. Ronald Ellington has a very enthusiastic and engaging teaching style, which made his classes a joy to attend. These are just a few of the great professors I have had an opportunity to meet and learn from over my years in Athens, and I would like to thank all of my previous professors for the invaluable education they have helped me achieve.
If I could share an afternoon with anyone, I would love to share it with…
…my grandfather. While there are countless other people, both alive and dead, that I would like to meet, my grandfather stands out as someone who I knew and loved, and I miss him dearly. He had a profound impact on my life, and I would very much like the opportunity to spend one more afternoon with him letting him know how much I love and appreciate him.
If I knew I could not fail, I would…
…attempt to understand all the systems in the world and how they interact, from molecular systems to societal systems. However, this would not be a purely academic exercise. I would use this knowledge to help people and reduce conflict. This could take the form of anything from consulting with local businesses in poverty stricken areas to designing more effective deterrents to crime to moderating intergovernmental negotiations. In lieu of having that knowledge (or even with that knowledge, considering the limits on the capacity of one person) such a feat would take the dedicated work and cooperation of a vast number of people, which I believe is happening today. I think that every day we move closer to a more interconnected and understanding world that I hope will one day better serve all members of society.
After graduation, I plan to…
… find employment with a company that does stimulating work and allows me to continue growing as a person, particularly though educational opportunities. I am flexible as to where I work, but at the moment I am very interested in international transactional work. I have found that it is a stimulating combination of both business and law. If I stay in this field, I would like to one day work with governments establishing and revising the laws and regulations that govern international transactions. My goal would be to make them as efficient as possible, meeting the needs of all interested parties.
The one UGA experience I will always remember will be…
…moving into my dorm room freshman year and meeting my new roommate. It is particularly memorable because I didn’t know my roommate beforehand and had no idea if we would get along. Luckily, we did get along, and it turned out to be a great year. We were roommates for four years after that and still stay in touch.