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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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3 former students named on Forbes 30 under 30 list

Photo by File

Von Miller, Class of 2011, was among three Aggies named to the Forbes 30 Under 30 list, along with Martellus Bennett, Class of 2009, and Sam Xu, Class of 2011.

Three former A&M students were recently named to the Forbes 30 Under 30 list, which showcases the 30 most influential people under 30 years old.
Martellus Bennett, Class of 2009, tight end for the New England Patriots, and Von Miller, Class of 2011, outside linebacker for the Denver Broncos, were named to the list in the Sports category. Sam Xu, Class of 2011, was named to the Energy list.               
A&M football head coach Kevin Sumlin said the program is proud of the accomplishments Miller and Bennett have made.                       
“We are proud of Martellus Bennett and Von Miller being included on this Forbes list,” Sumlin said. “The young men are outstanding athletes and are driven to succeed on the field and in the business world.”                      
Xu graduated with a petroleum engineering degree and is now the head of oil and gas investment banking at CohnReznick Capital Markets Securities after spending some time working for British Petroleum.                     
“I took a very untraditional path in terms of I graduated from A&M with a petroleum engineering degree but do not work for an oil and gas company,” Xu said. “Having been listed under Forbes now after only a few years is definitely rewarding, and I’m extremely honored to be a part of the elite group.”                      
Xu said her time at A&M pushed her out of her comfort zone and taught her the skills she would need to be successful in the business world, in addition to the technical aspects of the engineering degree.                       
“In high school I was always a loner, but at A&M it is just really hard to be by yourself,” Xu said. “I would say the A&M experience not only provided me with the tools to become a great engineer but also changed my personality and characteristics in a significant way, and I’ve benefited from it ever since.”                       
After graduating from A&M, Xu worked with BP until 2013 and experienced the deepwater horizon crisis, which influenced her curiosity in other aspects of the energy business, including finance.                      
“During the deepwater horizon incident, I really lived through it and saw the changes in the U.S. energy landscape,” Xu said. “I really wanted to explore the finance of the businesses instead of just the technical aspects, so I took a leap of faith and transitioned to energy investment banking.”                      
Ding Zhu, a professor in the department of petroleum engineering who mentored and taught Xu her senior year, said she had an uncanny knack to forge connections with other students and was determined to accomplish her goals.
“She has this personal skill to connect her fellow students and lead the team to the right direction,” Zhu said. “I could see her bright future while she was a senior student.”
Xu said her decision to switch careers was a risky one but she felt prepared after being involved at A&M.
“I never left Texas and to start all over again and work for a smaller company that was a really risky path,” Xu said. “But the four years at A&M, especially with petroleum engineering department, not only gave me the tools and skill sets of being a good engineer but also affected me personally.”

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