Path to Pitt

Katherine Mcassey

Graduation year: 2021

Major(s): Business Information Systems

Company: KPMG

Discovering accounting.

I knew that I wanted to study accounting after high school.

I graduated from Bishop Shanahan High School in Downingtown, PA. In my junior year of high school, I took an accounting course, which sparked an interest that I never had in any other subject! My teacher, Mrs. Dellicompagni, presented the practical application of accounting to the business world. She served as a mentor to me as she encouraged students to be the best version of themselves. After taking Mrs. Dellicompagni’s class, I knew that I wanted to study accounting in college.

I applied to multiple different schools and was not completely sure what I wanted from my college experience. When I was accepted to Pitt and attended their Accepted Students Day, I knew that Pitt was the school for me. The urban campus provided both vast opportunities and a sense of close community. Students that I met were outgoing and had strong school pride.

From Philadelphia to Pitt Business with Katherine McAssey ’21

My Pitt Journey Begins

Welcome to Pitt!

Like any big change, transitioning to college came with uncertainty! I was initially overwhelmed by the large size but then I realized that with size came opportunity that only a school like Pitt Business could offer.

My freshman year I lived in Litchfield Tower B, where I met many friends with whom I am still very close with today. Living in Tower B as a business student posed its challenges as I did not have a strong community of business friends from the very start of school. Many business students live in the business-specific Living Learning Community in Bruce Hall. Yet this encouraged me to join more clubs and strike up conversations in my classes!

Two of my favorite courses I have taken at Pitt Business have been Intro to Information Systems and Accounting Information Systems. I originally took Intro to Info Systems to fulfill a portion of the business core yet my professor, Tony Rodi, explained the concepts so well and related the course to his experience in the business world. After taking this course, I added BIS as an additional major. Another course that was beneficial to my education was Accounting Information Systems. This class allowed me to gain skills with various software packages and auditing procedures. I was given the opportunity to work as the Teaching Assistant for AIS this semester.

Being a student leader.

Throughout my college experience, I have been very involved in the Pitt community! I believe that joining clubs and organizations is the best way to meet new people and make a big university feel much smaller.

Within Pitt Business, I have been a member of Women in Business, Beta Alpha Psi, and the University of Pittsburgh Accounting Association (UPAA). I am currently the President of UPAA and have previously served as the VP of Corporate Relations and Historian. UPAA hosts recruiters and professionals from both public and private accounting firms in order to provide members with a better understanding of roles in the accounting industry and connections to the business world. The amount of time that I have invested in the organization has provided so much for my professional growth. UPAA has given me various networking opportunities which allowed me to make lasting connections and eased many stresses during the internship recruitment process.

I also had the opportunity to attend the Undergraduate Business School Leadership Conference at Emory University in Atlanta as a delegate from UPAA. From this conference, I gained an in-depth understanding of innovation and leadership and was able to network with students from top business schools across the country.

Outside of Pitt Business, I am involved in Theta Phi Alpha, a social sorority that has allowed me to meet women from different areas of Pitt and engage in philanthropy, service, and leadership events. Getting involved in student organizations is something that is highly advertised especially freshman year. Although it can seem overwhelming to join a group of new and unfamiliar people, the experiences and lessons you can gain from joining a student organization are priceless!

From The Classroom, To The City, To The World.

Plus3 to Vietnam

After my freshman year, I had the opportunity to participate in Plus3 Vietnam, which is a two-week study aboard experience specifically for first year business and engineering students. Plus3 Vietnam specifically caught my interest because I wanted to travel to a place that I would not necessarily go on my own.

Through Pitt Business I received a scholarship for the program. I travelled with a group of ten business students, ten engineering students, and two professors to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam! During the trip, we studied globalization and development within the context of the rapidly growing Vietnamese economy. As a group, we attended lectures at an international university and site visits to various companies, including a venture capital firm, an industrial park, and a media company. The lectures set the stage for the learning objective of the day, which varied from globalization, environmental and infrastructure concerns, and development of the economy.

Visiting companies in Vietnam allowed for me to experience and adapt to a new and unknown business culture. We also traveled on culture immersion trips to various places including the resort town of Vung Tau where we were able to see and climb into the famous Christ the King Statue, the Chu Tunnels used during the Vietnam War, and the Mekong Delta.

Studying aboard exposed me to a completely different culture and helped me to develop many different soft skills such as adaptability and negotiation. These experiences are unique and highly sought after in the job market!

My Internship

Building My Career

This upcoming summer, I will be interning with KPMG in Philadelphia doing audit practice. The public accounting recruitment process was rigorous but Pitt Business fully prepared me for this experience. The Career Development Center at Pitt Business is very helpful and provides many different services to students. I found the Executives in Residence extremely helpful when trying to find a career path. The professionals have many years of experience in various business fields and take the time to meet with students to advise them about future career prospects.