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Business Bobcat Q&A: Paige Fitzwater

Thursday, February 5 2015 12:00am

This Business Bobcat turned an internship into a full-time job offer when she found a way to save the company $200,000. Get to know accounting/finance/pre-law senior Paige Fitzwater

Name: Paige Fitzwater

 Major(s): Accounting, Finance, and Business Pre-Law

 Class year: 2015

Why did you choose Ohio University? :

I initially did not want to attend Ohio University, because most of my family has gone here. I wanted to be different and go somewhere else. After some fighting with my mom, she convinced me to visit the campus. As soon as I stepped foot on College Green, I knew this was the school for me. The campus is breathtaking and everyone is so nice and friendly. It truly is a Bobcat family, with everyone wanting to meet and help one another. The College of Business is well-ranked and respected. I liked that the program was focused on application rather than theory. I knew that by choosing OHIO, I would be well prepared for my career and have fun in the process.

How did you choose your major(s)? :

I took an accounting class in high school, liked it a lot, and decided to declare it coming into college. It turned out to be a good decision, because it is now my favorite major. I did not come in with my finance and business pre-law majors though. In the Cluster, I took a finance class and really liked it. I liked working with the numbers to make financial decisions so I decided to declare it as well. The business pre-law major just came about. I am going into tax, so I decided that a background in law would also benefit my career.

 How has your involvement in student organizations/select programs (OUSEMG, Select Leaders, etc.) added to your education? :  

Each and every organization I am involved with has benefited me in some way. I am involved with Delta Sigma Pi, Select Leaders, Beta Alpha Psi, and the SOX 404 Fellowship. Delta Sigma Pi, a professional business fraternity, was the first organization I joined. Through DSP, I learned professionalism and networking. Through resume workshops, event planning, and networking trips, I quickly learned how to interact in the business world.

 Through Select Leaders, I focused on my leadership skills and developed them with ethics. I was given the opportunity to meet with company executives in small groups and ask them any questions I wanted. I also got the chance to visit a variety of companies including Google, Microsoft, and Nationwide.

In Beta Alpha Psi, I got the chance to interact with recruiters on a weekly basis. They taught me about the accounting profession and provided a forum to network. Through Meet the Accountants Night, a career fair put on by BAP, I secured my internship which led to my job.

 In the SOX 404 Fellowship, I was given the opportunity to audit the Ohio University Foundation. This gave me real-world audit experience that I could not learn in my classes. By joining student organizations, I learned a variety of skills that I could not learn in my classes, developed my professionalism, secured an internship, and had fun in the process.

What kind of real-world experience did you get from your internship? :

Last summer, I interned with Deloitte in Columbus in the tax department. When I began the internship, I thought I would be taking notes and making coffee. Boy was I wrong! I was treated like a new hire and did the same tasks as my coworkers. I worked on a variety of tax returns for individuals, partnerships, and corporations. In one instance, I found a change in tax law that saved the client $200,000. Not only did I learn technical skills but I learned how to interact in a corporate environment. I loved my internship and I was fortunate to end with a full-time job offer.

If you studied abroad, where did you go and what did you learn from that opportunity? :

I interned in Pécs, Hungary from nine weeks through the Global Consulting Program. During my internship, I was placed up in teams of Americans and Hungarians to work on four different projects, ranging from a technology start-up to an established winery. Through this experience, I learned how to work with people from different cultures and overcome language barriers. I also got to interact directly with the clients and learned how to deliver bad news. Not only did I learn a great deal professionally, I had a great time traveling around Europe and making memories.

 What is your favorite class in the College of Business? :

My favorite classes in the College of Business were the BAM series, also known as the intermediate accounting series. Through these unique classes, I completed a simulation of five years of financials for a fake company. I questioned the client, corrected journal entries, completed task schedules, and created financial statements. While the BAM series were the hardest classes I had in college, I loved learned in this application-based environment and this experience set me apart from accounting majors from other schools.

 Which College of Business mentor/faculty/staff member has had a positive influence on your education? : 

Professor [Connie] Esmond-Kiger had a great impact on my education. I experienced her class in the BAM series and she pushed me harder than most of my professors. This forced me to work harder than ever before and I learned that I can achieve more than I ever expected. In addition to my experiences as her student, she is also the faculty advisor for Beta Alpha Psi. Through my roles on the executive board, I got to work with her directly and develop professionally. She also takes a personal interest in her students. When I would stop by her office to talk about BAP, I would end up staying longer to chat about the accounting field and my career. My college experience would not be the same without Professor Esmond-Kiger.

How has your College of Business experience shaped you as a student? :

The College of Business has transformed me from a confused student to a confident business professional. Through my classes and student organizations, I have learned about business, my field, and myself. The College of Business has given me the tools to be successful.

 Do you feel prepared to enter the workforce? :

I definitely feel prepared to enter the workforce. From my experience at my internship, I felt more comfortable in a corporate environment than my peers and easily kept up with the work. My superiors were impressed with the quality of my work and I owe that all to my experiences within the College of Business.

 What are your career goals? :

After working in public accounting for a few years, I would like to transition to a corporate environment and work my way up. My dream job would be to act as the CFO of a Fortune 500 company.

Where is your favorite place to hang out on campus/in Athens? :

I love hanging out in Copeland, which houses the College of Business. I have spent many late nights working on projects with groups or doing homework with friends. A friend’s mom once asked, “I heard Paige lives in Copeland. Do you think I can get another student a room there?” While it is not my house, it is a second home.

 What do you and your friends do for fun on campus? :

After a long day of classes, my friends and I like to stop by one of the many local bars on Court Street to grab a beer, talk about our days, and just hang out.

What is your favorite thing to eat on campus/in Athens? :

I am obsessed with Goodfellas pizza. I could eat it every single day for the rest of my life and be perfectly happy. Unfortunately, my waistline would be less happy.

What do you like best about living in Athens? :

My favorite thing about living in Athens is the small, college town feel. I love that I can walk anywhere on or off campus in a matter of 15 to 20 minutes. There is always something cool going on, whether it be poetry readings at Donkey or shows at Casa. It is a thriving town that never gets boring. Over the years, Athens has become home and I will miss it greatly when I graduate.

 Why should a prospective student consider Ohio University’s College of Business? :

A prospective student should consider Ohio University’s College of Business because it is an unmatched, unique college experience. The College of Business has so many unique programs like the cluster or the BAM series that truly prepare students for the real world. In addition, the professors take a personal interest in their students and practice an open door policy. I have emailed professors at 11pm and gotten responses back within minutes. Finally, the College of Business has countless student organizations to get involved with based on your interests and passions. Choosing the College of Business was one of the best choices I have ever made and I hope other prospective students make the same choice. They will not regret it.