Making a name for herself

MS accounting student Rachel Morgan reflects on her growth at UC

Rachel Morgan, BBA, MS ’21, found her stride in accounting early in life. Working at a car dealership in her hometown of Troy, Ohio, as a teenager, she was exposed to her manager’s many duties of running the business, including handling the books. 

“I thought that was super interesting, so I took an accounting class at my high school, and thought, ‘Oh, I could do this,’” she said. “I liked the rules, how straightforward it was. It just worked for my brain.”

Young woman with light brown hair wearing a light blue blouse and dark sweater smiles for a headshot

Rachel Morgan will graduate in December with her master's in accounting and join KPMG as an audit associate in January 2022.

Morgan chose to attend UC because of the ample opportunities to pursue co-op experiences that would eventually help her land a job. Yet in the spring semester of her first year, she found herself worried that she was already behind because she hadn’t secured an internship for the summer. She brought her concerns up with her career coach, Liz Pawley, who had the perfect summer project for Morgan to pursue. 

“[Pawley] told me she wanted to start the Accounting Club for the undergraduate students who didn’t yet meet the requirements to be in Beta Alpha Psi, UC’s accounting fraternity,” said Morgan. 

The idea was that first- and second-year students could get exposure to accounting firms and pursue professional development opportunities as they accumulated enough credit hours and secured the minimum GPA requirement to join Beta Alpha Psi as third- and fourth-year students.

With a renewed confidence and guidance from Pawley, Morgan applied for the student board and earned the role of club president. Her first order of business was to establish the UC Accounting Club’s first Leadership Conference Expo. Morgan borrowed from the standard practice at major accounting firms, who typically hold multi-day conferences for advanced high school or early college students who might not be ready for an internship, but are interested in obtaining a hands-on idea of accounting in practice.

They say that in business, it’s not what you know, but who you know, and there’s some truth to that. But even if you come from a family of accountants, you still have to make your own name for yourself.

Rachel Morgan BBA, MS '21

“Summer leadership conferences tend to feed into internships and are a great way for firms to assess and train the up-and-coming talent through interview practice and developing different professional skills,” said Morgan.

The first conference was a success, with 14 firms in attendance, including the “Big 4” of Deloitte, Ernst & Young, KPMG and PricewaterhouseCoopers. 

Just as UC Accounting Club members “graduate” to Beta Alpha Psi as upperclassmen, so did Morgan’s leadership opportunities. She served as Beta Alpha Psi president her senior year, attending the national organization’s retreat in Washington, D.C. 

One woman leans out behind a photo board with two other young woman with their heads in the face slot and the photoboard is a red upside-down triangle with text and 100 YEARS printed on it

Morgan, left, at the Beta Alpha Psi Conference in Washington D.C.

“That conversation with Liz Pawley from my freshman year made such a huge difference,” said Morgan. “I owe all my success to her.”

Morgan shared that, for high school students considering a major in accounting or even professionals pivoting into accounting, they don’t have to have an “in” through a family member or close connection to get a hold on accounting internships and full-time employment.

“They say that in business, it’s not what you know, but who you know, and there’s some truth to that,” said Morgan. “But even if you come from a family of accountants, you still have to make your own name for yourself.”

Morgan completed her bachelor’s degree in spring 2021, applying much of her coursework to her Master of Science in accounting, which she will complete in December 2021. She will join KPMG as an audit associate in January 2022. 

Featured image: Rachel Morgan, third from left, when the UC Accounting Club was recognized as a student organization by UC's Student Activities Board. Photo/Rachel Morgan.

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