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Daring to ask big questions

Joanna Vega has never been afraid to ask bold questions.

That's why her professors and classmates weren't surprised when she put former Bank of America chairman Hugh McColl Jr. on the spot before an audience of more than 1,000 at Queens University of Charlotte. 

"It has been said that today's financial institutions are too big to fail, and you helped build one of the largest financial institutions in the world," she asked McColl. "In hindsight, given the recession and bailouts, was it a good idea for the U.S. government to permit so much concentration in the financial institutions and if so, what can we do now?"

She posed the question to the veteran banker during a 30th anniversary event for the McColl School of Business at Queens, which is named in his honor.  He appeared with Morgan Stanley Chairman John Mack for a talk about the banking industry, international trade and the economy.  

McColl laughed at Vega's boldness - "that's a good question and you're the first person to dare ask me that" - and then gave a thoughtful answer.  

Watch the entire program. Vega's question was at minute 45.

Vega, 26, attends undergraduate night classes in the business school and by day is a full-time teller at a Bank of America branch.  She's also a first-generation American and was selected from the McColl School's student body to be one of three students to ask questions during the standing room only event.

"The McColl School always gives me great opportunities to stretch my analytical skills, and I was honored for the chance to ask Mr. McColl to answer a question that was on everyone's minds," she said.

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