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INCPAS Scholars: Where Are They Now?

Aug 9, 2022

Malayna Pottschmidt

INCPAS Scholar Indianapolis 2015–16
Indiana CPA Educational Foundation Scholarship Recipient 2022–23
Attends Butler University

Malayna PottschmidtWe 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.

Malayna was part of the 2015–16 INCPAS Scholars program. In the winter of 2018, she was a sophomore at Butler University, working as a night auditor at a hotel and was about to begin a summer internship at Eli Lilly and Company.

This past May, she graduated Cum Laude with a Distinction in Accounting and a Bachelor of Science in Accounting. She will pursue a Master of Professional Accounting at Butler while she continues to work at RSM US LLP and plans to graduate in May 2023. Malayna updated us on how her professional and collegiate life has been since we last talked.

INCPAS: In the winter of 2018, you shared with us in a CPA IN Perspective article that your ultimate goal was to be a CFO of a Fortune 500 company. What are your career goals today? Do you still want to be a CFO?

Malayna: My ultimate goal is definitely still in that area. I’ve become much more flexible with my career goals over time, though. I don’t want to box myself in to one specific role. At this point, I see myself in a leadership position where I can contribute positively to my colleagues and the clients I will serve eventually. Whether that means becoming a CFO, a partner or some other leadership role in the CPA profession, I am open to it.

INCPAS: You also shared your top tips for success in college, including learning how to manage your time effectively, taking care of your physical, mental and spiritual health, and being consistent. How did these tips help you?

Malayna: These tips still hold true for me. Managing your time effectively is crucial, especially when you’re in a position where every second of the day counts. In my first couple years of college, my schedule was meticulously planned out every day. It didn’t feel like much of a choice. If I wanted to graduate, I needed to pay for school. If I wanted to pay for school, I needed to work as much as I could. I managed my time quite well but sleeping two hours a day on average for a couple years took a toll on my health.

Your health is the most important aspect of life. If you don’t take care of your physical, mental and spiritual health, the issues will permeate your personal and professional life. If I could add something to those tips I wrote a few years back it would be to include rest in your schedule. You need to rest to recuperate so you can come to any project, meeting, test, class, etc. giving 100 percent effort.

Lastly, consistency is still a priority of mine. Purposeful consistency to me means staying focused on your goals but knowing when you need to take a step back to refocus and move forward in the best way for you.

If I could add something to those tips I wrote a few years back it would be to include rest in your schedule.
Malayna and her boyfriend, Zach
Malayna and her boyfriend, Zach, with their dogs Taz and Kobe

INCPAS: It is no small feat that you paid for college on your own. You worked full-time while attending classes. Do you have any advice for balancing work and school?

Malayna: It was very difficult to work four jobs while having a full-time class schedule, but it was so rewarding once I walked across the stage to receive my bachelor’s degree. I would recommend creating a schedule: write everything out. Every semester, I wrote out my class schedule, then worked around it. If you manage your time, maintain and stick to a budget, and allow yourself some time to rest, you will be fine. Always keep your eye on the prize—your degree.

Malayna and her Mom
Malayna and her mom, Monica, at her college graduation

INCPAS: Congratulations on earning the Indiana CPA Society Educational Foundation Scholarship! We are so proud of you. In your application, you shared, “If it wasn’t for the INCPAS Scholars program, I probably wouldn’t be on this path to becoming a CPA now.” What advice do you have for current INCPAS Scholars?

Malayna: Thank you! I am so honored to receive the scholarship. To all current INCPAS Scholars: take full advantage of what this program offers you. Make it a goal to connect with as many of the professionals you meet as possible. I received my first accounting internship through a connection I made while I was in the Scholars program.

It is also imperative for you to know that no goal is unreachable. You might have to work harder and navigate some trials others might not face, but you can still get there. Set goals and do not let anything get in your way. Always maintain a mindset of positivity and determination. You’ve got this!

To all current INCPAS Scholars: take full advantage of what this program offers you. Make it a goal to connect with as many of the professionals you meet as possible.
INCPAS: You were offered a full-time position as a tax associate at RSM after you graduate next year. They have been very supportive as you have worked through college. What is your favorite part about your job and working at RSM?

Malayna: My favorite part about working at RSM is the people. I have the most supportive team around. Being brand new to a firm and navigating the software, policies, procedures, and work can be nerve wracking. Luckily for me I have a team of colleagues who want to help me learn. I also love the tax compliance work that I do. I’m better understanding how a business operates and how the tax code applies to that business; it is a dream come true. I learn something new every day and I get to do it with people who truly care about me as a person.


View from RSM office
Work view at the RSM office

INCPAS: Do you have any final thoughts on your journey from INCPAS Scholar to CPA?

Malayna: I just want to take a moment to truly thank INCPAS for everything they have done for me. The INCPAS Scholars program is the reason why I am where I am today, and I think it is important to mention that INCPAS walks the walk. INCPAS is taking steps to improve the accounting profession and I can’t wait to see how that comes into fruition over time. I know that Scholars like me are a testament to the great work INCPAS has and will do! I’m excited to see what’s next.

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

Want to get involved as an INCPAS Scholars mentor? 
Contact Ali Paul, CAE, INCPAS VP – Pipeline & Outreach, for more information.

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