Hounds with Purpose is a space for alumni to share their stories of purpose and vocational engagement beyond their years at Assumption. This blog is created by the Center for Purpose and Vocation and the Career Development and Internship Center (CDIC) to better connect students and alumni through experiential storytelling.
The Sea of Opportunity
By Victoria Petrie 19’ and MBA 20’
No matter what stage of life we find ourselves to be, the question always seems to be: “what’s the next step to take?” Whether it is in one’s career, personal life, or something as simple as deciding what to do for dinner on Friday night, there is an unspoken pressure that society puts on us that we must have all stages of our lives planned out. If Plan A doesn’t work out, you are expected to already have a Plan B ready to go, and furthermore, a Plan C, Plan D, etc. This pressure comes in many different forms, like in social media or your aunt asking you about your post-graduation plans at the Thanksgiving dinner table. I am here to tell you that you do not need to have it all figured out, especially when planning for your future career path.
Before I begin to tell the story of my journey as a student at Assumption College (now University), I should briefly introduce myself. My name is Victoria Petrie, I graduated from Assumption College in 2019 with a double major in accounting and marketing. In 2020, I also earned a Masters of Business Administration from Assumption (four years just wasn’t enough; I had to come back for one more). My interest in accounting started Senior year of high school when I took an introductory accounting class. Prior to this class I had no knowledge of accounting or of any potential career paths. I knew accountants were perceived to be “good with numbers” (and really busy during tax season!), but I did not know anything else aside from the surface-level stereotypes. I went into my first accounting class in high school with an open mind, not expecting that it would become the reason for choosing this field of study in college. After the first semester of this entry level accounting class, I knew this was going to be the career path I wanted to pursue. What I loved about accounting was learning just how integral accountants are to the success of companies everywhere. Looking back to that final year of high school, I feel very fortunate to have had a course that made such a great impact on my future academic and professional career. Some of you reading this probably think I am contradicting my opening statement, but I promise you will see how my experience came full circle.
In my first semester at Assumption, I started taking the courses that were required for an accounting major, as I wanted to pick up right where I left off in the high school classroom. As I was taking these entry level courses, I truly did not know what my career path would look like. All I knew was that debits must equal credits and that I needed to take my course work seriously. Fast forward to my sophomore year, the time came when I officially needed to declare a major. For some, this can be the most stressful time of their college career because students not only have to physically write down what they want to study, but they also feel pressured to never shy away from that career path they wrote on that small registrar document. When I went to declare my major my academic advisor, Prof. Jennifer Niece, told me that I could double major in marketing since there was an overlap in the general business core classes. I was surprised to hear this because studying marketing was not in my well-mapped out academic plan. I had gone to school to strictly study accounting and nothing else, but thanks to the wise guidance from Professor Niece, I decided to pursue both. Without the aid of my advisor giving me “the extra push” I needed, I probably wouldn’t have steered off my narrow initial plan of only pursuing accounting.
Within the blink of an eye my senior year had arrived. Like all senior accounting students I was taking auditing and tax classes. At that time, I still did not know what type of accounting I wanted to do after college. I also began to ponder the idea of getting my Masters Degree to allow me to sit for the CPA exam. As you can see, there were a lot of decisions that needed to be made during that fall semester of my senior year. Did I want to pursue graduate school at Assumption? Did I want to get a marketing position immediately after I completed my undergraduate degree? These ongoing questions were decisions that were “short term” and “long term” goal-driven and were something that I needed to decide upon rather quickly. After further consideration, I chose to apply to Assumption’s MBA program. Additionally, I attended their accounting specific career fair, where firms from Massachusetts and Rhode Island came to talk to the junior and senior accounting students. This was the best resource that I could take advantage of while being an Assumption student. At this career fair, I spoke with many representatives from these accounting firms who provided great insight on the profession. More importantly, they explained how their firms differed from all the others. After speaking with representatives from Citrin Cooperman & Company, LLP, I was immediately interested and applied for their summer audit internship. Assumption offered on campus interviews which made the process less stressful, especially for someone like me who had to balance all the responsibilities that come from being a continuing full time student-athlete. That internship introduced me to auditing and I was able to quickly identify what type of accounting path I wanted to pursue. By the end of that summer, I was offered a full-time staff audit position with Citrin Cooperman & Company, LLP after I completed my MBA. The internship not only gave me insight into the auditing field but also into the type of team I wanted to work with daily. It became clear to me that Citrin Cooperman & Company, LLP was the perfect fit for me.
I hope my story and experience convey that you don’t need to know every little detail of your future path. I certainly didn’t know where I was going to get my career started after college even though I knew my desired career path when I first stepped foot on campus. When I walked on campus in the fall of 2015, I didn’t think that I would graduate as a double major, earn my MBA from the same institution, and find an amazing internship with my current employer. These twists and turns in my story all stemmed from an academic interest and an open mind. Higher education can be intimidating, especially bundled with all of the “what’s the next step” questions. It is important to trust your gut and follow your passions and interests. After doing my audit internship with Citrin Cooperman & Company, LLP, I truly came to realize that accounting was a career path that I wanted to pursue. Assumption provides its students with various tools to help them navigate the waters they must cross to become successful. Whether you are a perspective student at the University or a second semester senior, take advantage of the services that the school provides and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Utilizing these resources and advocating for your own career path will help you be successful in whatever career you choose to do and pan you choose to follow.
By: Victoria Petrie ’19 and MBA ’20
Edited by: Esteban Loustaunau & Pilar Betts