Internal Audit Analyst – JPMorgan Chase & Co.
INCPAS Scholar Indianapolis 2018–19
Attended Purdue University and majored in accounting
We have shared several stories about our INCPAS Scholars throughout the years. Since many of them have now graduated college, are beginning to pass the CPA Exam, enter the profession and earn their license, we thought it would be fun to follow up with them and see how they are doing.
Cynthia was part of the 2018–19 INCPAS Scholars program and started working full time at JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPMC) as an internal audit analyst in August. She updated us on how the connections she made through the Scholars program helped her succeed in college and her career, and her plans for taking the CPA Exam.
INCPAS: What was the biggest takeaway you learned during your time in the INCPAS Scholars program?
Cynthia: My biggest takeaway was that even though an accounting career may seem linear, or only about taxes to outsiders, there is so much more to explore. Accounting is everywhere. Whether it’s through taxes, auditing, or consulting, I can apply my skills in a line of business that keeps me motivated to work hard and enjoy what I do.
"With BOP’s support and tools, I had the confidence to move forward without fear of failure. This life-changing connection was made possible by the INCPAS Scholars program. If it wasn’t for this program, I wouldn’t have been as informed about my options or made the right career choice."
INCPAS: How did the connections you made in the INCPAS Scholars program help you in college?
Cynthia: One of our Scholars program visits was to Purdue University’s Dr. Cornell A. Bell Business Opportunity Program (BOP). I met the director, Darren Henry, with whom I kept in touch.
Darren and Purdue BOP became a huge part of my support and accountability system. As a first-generation college student majoring in accounting, Purdue BOP helped expose me to leadership and professional development opportunities that made me successful in every venture I pursued in college. With BOP’s support and tools, I had the confidence to move forward without fear of failure.
This life-changing connection was made possible by the INCPAS Scholars program. If it wasn’t for this program, I wouldn’t have been as informed about my options or made the right career choice. In addition to Darren and BOP, I made many other connections through the program, including my mentor, Ali, and my fellow Scholars who continue to support me, share opportunities and give advice.
INCPAS: Congratulations on graduating from Purdue and starting your first job! What is your favorite part of your job?
Cynthia: Thank you! My favorite part of my job, besides the walk and talk meetings, is the continuous support for learning and professional development. They don’t expect you to know everything and, even if you think you do, there are always more learning opportunities for areas like data analytics, audit methodology, time management and more. The welcoming environment makes it easy to learn and be curious about unknown subjects.
INCPAS: You interned at PwC and JPMorgan Chase. How did those experiences prepare you for working as an internal audit analyst?
Cynthia: PwC exposed me to all of the different fields at a high level. I had hands-on experience with the internal audit methodology and was able to see in more detail the process audit goes through—and I knew audit was the career path I wanted to take. It prepared me for my current role as I continue to learn about the audit methodology and sharpen my skills.
Graduates of Purdue’s BOP Program
Graduation from Purdue University in May 2023
INCPAS: What are your plans for taking the CPA Exam? Are you studying for a section now? Have you taken any sections yet?
Cynthia: JPMC supports the analysts in becoming certified as a CPA, CISA, CIA and more. I have decided to continue pursuing the CPA Exam and maybe another designation down the road. I started working at JPMC in August 2023 and have been settling into a routine to see what study habits will best work for me. I plan to purchase my study materials soon and begin studying to hopefully pass the CPA Exam a year from now.
"You might have an image in your mind of what an accountant is, but there is so much you can do with a CPA license. You ultimately decide what you want to do with your career."
INCPAS: Do you have any advice for high school students who are interested in becoming CPAs?
Cynthia: It is a great career to pursue! It provides a great base for deciding what’s the best fit for you. You might have an image in your mind of what an accountant is, but there is so much you can do with a CPA license. You ultimately decide what you want to do with your career, including where you work, how much you travel, how busy you want to be, and even who you want to work for. Something worth working for isn’t going to always be easy, but at the end of the day, all your efforts will come to fruition.
INCPAS: What are your long-term professional goals?
Cynthia: Long-term, I want to be a vice president or even executive director, and I want to obtain good experience as an auditor-in-charge (AIC) while maintaining a good work-life balance to take care of my family. I also want to serve as a mentor for those just coming into the profession or thinking about pursuing a CPA career, especially for Black, Indigenous & People of Color (BIPOC), first-generation students, and working parents. I want to share my experiences and how it is all possible.
INCPAS Scholars is an award-winning, free program that encourages high school students to consider becoming a CPA. The only program of its kind, INCPAS Scholars introduces students to the profession by pairing them with practicing CPAs, touring CPA firms and businesses that employ CPAs, and participating in events to immerse them in the profession. You can support the program at incpas.org/Scholars.
Want to get involved as an INCPAS Scholars mentor?
Contact Ali Tonini, CAE, INCPAS VP – Pipeline & Outreach, for more information.