Our programs

Industry connections

Capital Markets Center: Access real-world industry tools through a facility that replicates experience and technology of a Wall Street trading room.

Financial Management Association: Learn about corporate finance, banking and investment through dynamic speakers, educational trips and networking events.

Gamma Iota Sigma: Research and network with fellow students pursuing careers in risk management, insurance and actuarial science.

Kornblau Real Estate Program: See our full list of connections to the real estate industry, including the Kornblau Institute and Real Estate Circle of Excellence.

Student Managed Investment Portfolio: Gain real-world investment experience through management of an equity portfolio for the School of Business Foundation.

Rho Epsilon: Learn about the many dimensions of residential and commercial real estate while networking with students and real estate professionals.

Risk and Insurance Program: Work with our corporate partners to prepare for careers in risk management, financial services or other areas of the insurance industry.

Student Department Awards

Student of the Year: The Student of the Year Award is presented to a senior or graduate student who has demonstrated outstanding accomplishments in scholarship and leadership.

Distinguished Service Award: The Distinguished Service Award is presented to a student who has provided distinguished service to the department, university and community.

Davis Radcliffe Insurance Award: Given annually to the student who exhibits strong character, scholastic achievement in insurance courses, and demonstrates an interest in a career in the insurance industry. This award is named for the late Davis Ratcliffe, a former insurance industry executive who established the insurance program at Virginia Commonwealth University in 1969.

Student of the Year: Gautam Ravandur

Gautam is an outstanding honors student, with a GPA of 3.85 and continued accolades from his instructors. In addition to his exceptional academic performance, he is actively involved in VCU’s chapter of Alpha Kappa Psi (AKPsi) Business Fraternity. As Vice President of Finance for AKPsi, he has managed the organization’s operating budget and developed videos to aid in learning about financial topics. Gautam also currently serves as a Financial Analyst for Tech Sector in the Student Managed Investment Portfolio (SMIP) at VCU. Because of what he has learned in this role, he has been able to help his fellow students begin investing and the stock market. Upon graduation, Gautam is looking forward to entering the corporate finance arena.


Distinguished Service Award: Connor Riely 

Connor demonstrates excellence in the classroom and beyond. He is extremely proud of the work he has done to found and lead the VCU Blockchain club as President. Connor is also very active in helping grow the crypto currency community in Richmond, VA. Upon graduation, he plans to delve deeper into his work within the crypto community by finding different opportunities to capitalize on, helping others to learn more about the arena, and by networking at crypto conferences. Overall, Connor’s plan is to “stay curious” and continue to learn!

Davis Radcliffe Insurance Award: John Eshler

Five years ago, John Eshler opened his own business; a mobile coffee company called GroundUp while attending Reynolds Community College full-time. After earning his associates degree John chose to continue his education at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU). He made the difficult decision to close GroundUp coffee to focus on his bachelor’s coursework.

Two momentous events occurred during his first semester— John became a father and the COVID-19 pandemic struck. Around the same time, John accepted a remote underwriter technician position with Kinsale Insurance which later led to a full-time position. In December 2021 he graduated with a Bachelor of Science in finance degree with a concentration in risk management and insurance. When asked about his experience at VCU he says, “My time here has been great, but it's been a bit of a challenge due to COVID-19. Nevertheless, I was able to overcome those difficulties while maintaining a high GPA and being involved in organizations that I’m passionate about.” John is the immediate past president of Gamma Iota Sigma fraternity, and he currently works for Kinsale as an associate underwriter in the commercial property division.

Student of the Year: Derrick Gachago

Through his studies in the School of Business, Derrick has honed his problem solving skills and exemplified true ownership of learning, all while maintaining an excellent GPA. Derrick helped launch the Actuarial Club in Fall, 2020 and currently serves as Chairman. Derrick also serves as one of four analysts in the financial sector of the Student Managed Investment Portfolio, where he has been a member since Fall, 2019. He is also a member of Gamma Iota Sigma Fraternity. Derrick successfully passed his Financial Mathematics Actuarial exam in 2020, and will be sitting for his Probability exam later this spring. Derrick has accepted a 12 week Actuarial Internship with Genworth Financial for Summer, 2021. 

Distinguished Service Award: Nicoleta Gavris

Nicoleta has an excellent GPA and is engaged with the Finance Department and the larger VCU community in a multitude of ways. Nicoleta is a recipient of the Arconic Foundation Community Scholarship for Business and Engineering and was offered full tuition and fees for all four years at VCU. Nicoleta is a Level IV tutor for the Campus Learning Center, and has been a teaching assistant for FIRE 311 for the past three semesters. Serving as a Pearson Campus Ambassador, Nicoleta manages the accounts for the entire VCU campus. Not only is Nicoleta a Board member for the Student Managed Investment PortfoliO, but she will also begin a new position soon where she will manage social media, outreach, and Alumni relations. She accepted an Accounting Internship with CarMax, to be completed during Summer, 2021. She plans to work in accounting, finance, or analytics upon her graduation.


Davis Radcliffe Insurance Award: William J. Ragland

William J. Ragland is the 2021 recipient of the Davis Radcliffe Risk Management and Insurance Award. While attending VCU, Will has actively participated in numerous leadership positions within Gamma Iota Sigma - Alpha Mu Chapter. He interned with Berkley Mid-Atlantic Group in the summer of 2019. Following this experience, he secured a year-round internship with Virtue Risk Partners, where he works with two VCU RMI alums, Geoffrey Bernado and Bradley Carroll, among others. Upon graduation, Will will join Virtue Risk Partners full time. He is active in the community, where he is involved with One for the World and an organization working to end extreme poverty. Additionally, he is actively involved in other faith-based organizations. Upon graduation, Will plans to earn his Chartered Property and Casualty Underwriter (CPCU) designation and attend graduate school. 

Student of the Year: John M. Kruchten

Graduating with a Major GPA of 4.0, John concentrated his studies in Finance with a minor in Economics. During his academic career, John was a member of the Student Managed Investment Portfolio (SMIP), interned with Normandy Real Estate Partners, and Vector Scorecard in Singapore. He was a Team Leader at the UVA Venture Capital Cup Competition. John will begin his career with Capital One shortly after graduation.


Distinguished Service Award: Elisa J. Maurice

Elisa has a Cumulative GPA of 4.0 and is recognized as a Dean’s Scholar. She is very active in the School’s community and has taken many leadership roles. She served as President of the Financial Management Association (FMA) at VCU; as Vice President of recruitment for VCU Student Managed Investment Portfolio (SMIP). Elisa is a member of Student Advisory Council Member with the Senior Vice Provost of Student Affairs. She was also one of two appointees on the State Policy for College Affordability where she contributed to a policy council for college affordability.

Davis Radcliffe Insurance Award: Tamia P. Frye-Ford

Tamia graduated from the Risk Management and Insurance Program (RMI) in December 2019. While at VCU she actively participated in numerous leadership positions within Gamma Iota Sigma - Alpha Mu Chapter culminating as president. Tamia worked as a summer intern at Marsh & McLennan Agency during the summer of 2018. Upon graduation, she was hired by Kinsale Insurance where she is an Associate Underwriter. Like many VCU students, she is a transfer student, earning her Associates of Science in Business Administration from Piedmont Virginia Community College and helped finance her own education by working part time jobs.