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November 30, 2016

Ms. BB Goes Back to School…as an Accounting Major!

Last month I bent the laws of time and space so I could catch a glimpse of what my undergrad experience would have been like had I been a music industry major. I had a fabulous time and learned a lot, but there are still so many other majors to try! So this time Ms. BB is going back to school…as an accounting major!

firdaws

Firdaws flashes the “fight on” after class!

My student host this time was Firdaws, a freshman from the Philadelphia area. I first met Firdaws during one of our off-campus admission interview weekends…fast forward a year later, and she is a Presidential Scholar taking interesting courses and enjoying many of the extracurricular opportunities that USC offers. She graciously let me shadow her for a couple of hours (and even waited for me when I was running late for class)!

We started the morning in Professor Karayan’s BUAD 280—Introduction to Financial Accounting. This is a required course for all business and accounting majors, but it was reassuring to see that the class size was still manageable. The class was fast-paced, and Professor Karayan made quips about everything from pirates to Pretty Woman. His exercises drew on real world scenarios at companies like Costco, Buick, and Amazon Prime, and he brought his early experience unpacking boxes into our lesson on inventory and cost of goods. We also had some time to put the lesson into practice with a short problem set. Even though I knew virtually nothing about accounting going in, Professor Karayan’s lecture was so informative that I was able to get all the answers right (too bad they don’t give gold stars in college)!

BUAD 280 was held in the newly built Fertitta Hall—which is AWESOME! The building is dedicated to undergraduate business and accounting majors and includes an experiential learning center (ELC) where groups of students are video taped grappling with real world business problems and are then able to receive immediate feedback. It’s also home to a delicious Asian bistro; while I’m always down for ramen, I wanted to check out a USC dining hall, so Firdaws treated me to lunch at EVK. Over a lunch of chicken strips and vanilla froyo (my college experience wouldn’t be complete without the freshman fifteen), I got to hear about all the other things that accounting majors do. They…

  • Get involved in the Accounting Society—Firdaws joined several clubs when she came to USC (she even picked up archery)! The Accounting Society’s purpose is to help USC students prepare for a career in accounting through various types of programming.
  • Join Marshall’s Global Leadership Program—This is an invitation only program for freshmen. There’s a lot that goes into it, but my favorite pieces are the leadership seminar taught by Dean Ellis and the spring break trip to Shanghai and Beijing. Firdaws is very excited about her first opportunity to study abroad through USC!  (P.S. Even students not in GLP are able to study abroad through Marshall their freshman year.)
  • Explore the City of Los Angeles—Coming from Philly, Firdaws has been able to appreciate our warm (some would say absurdly hot) weather throughout the fall. She has taken the opportunity of having the metro line next to campus to check out nearby Downtown L.A.!
  • Take G.E. classes—Firdaws is taking a couple of general education courses this semester, and I was also able to follow her to an American studies course. That day in AMST 252—Black Social Movements in the U.S., Professor Wilson lectured on the civil rights movement in the Mississippi Delta. She included documentary clips, a song by Nina Simone, and even a newspaper article detailing an act of discrimination that happened to her and her mother 50 years ago!

Having never considered an accounting major in high school (to be honest, I hadn’t even heard of it until I got to college), I wanted to know how Firdaws decided it was the right choice for her. She said that she hadn’t known much about it either, but every career survey she took pointed to accounting. She has always loved math and was also interested in majoring in a field that emphasized practice over theory. Accounting ended up being the perfect fit! When I asked her why she chose to come to USC, Firdaws cited Leventhal’s strength and the University’s emphasis on diversity as two of her deciding factors—and we’re certainly glad that she chose us!

Take-aways:

  • Though I still need to learn more about the field, Professor Karayan taught me that “accountants make educated guesses,” and that seems pretty cool!
  • I would major in business or accounting if only to hang out in Fertitta all the time.
  • We have an archery club!