Audit Senior Associate, PwC
INCPAS Scholar Indianapolis 2012–13
Attended Ball State University
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.
Alex was in our second class of Scholars (the program began in 2011). He is currently working at PwC and studying for the CPA Exam. We featured him in the Fall 2015 CPA IN Perspective magazine when he was applying for internships. In the article “Scholar Persistence Pays Off,”
he shared what he learned from being rejected from an internship: that determination and persistence pay off, and that his effort mattered.
Alex updated us on how he’s carried those lessons with him to this day, as he studies for the CPA Exam:
You just started a new job at PwC as an audit senior associate. The last time we talked, you were looking for an internship and stressed the importance of persistence after learning you had not been offered an internship you applied for. You wrote, “I knew this was one of the many obstacles that I had to overcome. I had to stop doubting myself and continue to strive for the goals I had for myself.” How has this mindset helped you achieve your goals?
This mindset has played an important role on achieving both personal and professional goals. At that time, I was going through the internship recruiting process but had no luck in obtaining the internships I had applied to. This was mostly due to my GPA being lower than the minimum requirement many firms have. I knew I was struggling academically, but I still attended the career fairs to gain exposure and start building a personal relationship with the recruiters.
When I received the rejection emails, I knew I couldn’t give up. Instead, I saw this as an opportunity to think about the changes I needed to make in order to achieve my goals.
When I received the rejection emails, I knew I couldn’t give up. Instead, I saw this as an opportunity to think about the changes I needed to make in order to achieve my goals. As I mentioned in the article, my mentor told me, ‘You can’t control everything, but you can control your effort. As long as you put 100% of your effort into something you will see the results in the end.” So, I acted on the things I had control over. I re-took the courses I had done poorly on to help raise my GPA. I continued to attend career fairs. I persisted. It wasn’t easy, but it was worth it!
Where did you end up getting an internship?
My career path has been different than what most accounting students experience. Most have internships during their junior/senior year of college and have a job offer prior to graduation. I graduated in the summer of 2017 and received my spring 2018 internship offer with Crowe that same year. The internship concluded in March 2018 and I was offered a full-time position to start in April 2018.
Although my career path was not the same as my peers, I persisted and worked hard to achieve my goals, and the results have paid off.
I worked at Crowe for about 3 1/2 years and recently accepted a new job at PwC as senior audit associate in their Private Audit practice. Although my career path was not the same as my peers, I persisted and worked hard to achieve my goals, and the results have paid off.
Now that you will be working at PwC as an auditor, what are your career goals? Have you shifted any priorities?
My most important career goal right now is to continue studying for the CPA Exam and passing all parts within the next year. Wish me luck!
What’s your favorite part of your job?
There are a lot of things I enjoy about working in public accounting, including the people, travel perks and culture. It may sound cliché, but my absolute favorite part is the people I work with. This is very important, as we often work with the same people for continuous periods of time. All of that time spent together means you get to know your coworkers on a personal level and they become friends.
Also, the travel perks are GREAT. I am the type of person who likes to change things up frequently, so traveling to client sites—even locally—are a great way to keep the job interesting and fun. Plus, I get to meet different people at client sites and have the opportunity to build personal relationships with them.
How has your experience been taking the CPA Exam?
It has been hard, but I am applying the same mindset I did when I was seeking an internship: determination and persistence until I achieve the goal of becoming a CPA. I have yet to pass a section, but when I do…I’ll make sure to celebrate!
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 Paul
, CAE, INCPAS Director – Outreach & Diversity, for more information.