Pitt Business was the right choice for me.
From Pittsburgh Public Schools to Pitt Business
with Damon Singleton ’20
My journey to Pitt Business was a little different.
I grew up in Pittsburgh – a neighborhood called Homewood, which sits on the edge of the city. I was fortunate enough to be a part of a strong community and family. My grandfather especially always stressed to me the value and importance of working hard, gaining knowledge, and attending college. He saw those things as what sets people apart and what would make the biggest difference in my future.
For high school, I attended The Barack Obama Academy of International Studies in East Liberty. There, I was able to take international baccalaureate classes, which helped prepare me academically for college and gave me a solid academic foundation.
I’ve always had a passion for math and problem-solving, which initially influenced my decision to start in Pitt’s engineering program. I stuck with it for a year but ultimately realized it wasn’t the right fit for me and I enrolled in Community College of Allegheny County (CCAC).
My classes at CCAC helped me realize that I really enjoyed the conceptual side of business. After taking my first accounting course, I knew I found my niche. My accounting class inspired me to transfer back to Pitt, but this time at Pitt Business so that I could have access to a better network and opportunities.
Typical day of practicing the steel drums.
Transferring to Pitt Business
Work hard. Get involved.
It takes a lot of extra work to transition as a transfer student. But I knew what I needed to do to be successful: work hard at my classes, get involved in student organizations, do as much networking as possible, and find a summer accounting internship.
With this mindset, I earned straight A’s in my classes and was accepted into Beta Alpha Psi, the honors accounting organization. Beta Alpha Psi tutors, hosts fundraising events, and even helps the Pittsburgh community with their taxes!
I”m confident that Pitt Business was the right choice for me – I’ve met a lot of professors who genuinely care about their students. One of my favorite professors, Bob Atkin, who teaches Managing Complex Environments (MCE), made a huge impression on me. Although his class has a reputation for being more challenging (and one of the first classes students take at Pitt Business), it covers a huge scope of subject matter and sets a strong basis for business education. He is an incredibly funny and wise professor who was able to break down these huge blocks of information into manageable bits and relevant topics. I would meet with him most weeks outside of class to ask questions, and then discovered we came from similar backgrounds. He was able to empathize with the personal challenges I faced and dealt with on a daily basis as a student, and that made a huge difference in making me feel welcomed and understood.
I’m a strong believer that college not only teaches you the subject matter you need to know, but it also teaches you how to learn and grow. The more you put in, the more you get out. I really discovered this when I returned to Pitt and enrolled at Pitt Business.The more you put in, the more you get out. I’m a strong believer that college not only teaches you the subject matter you need to know, but it also teaches you how to learn and grow.
The More You Give, The More You Get.
Starting My Career
Finding The Right Internship
Pitt Business’s career development team is top-notch! I was initially a little directionless in my internship search, but the career development team connected me with the right tools.
Pitt Business also has Executives in Residence, which are former business executives that serve as career consultants in certain industries. I connected with Terri Bone, a former executive at EQT. She was instrumental in helping me develop a better understanding of corporate culture, what businesses look for in an intern, and how I could better develop my story for interviews.
Because the career team works directly with so many recruiters and companies, my dream company, PwC, held open interviews on-campus. This took the stress out of traveling for an interview because I already knew exactly where I needed to go. After telling my story, I was offered the accounting internship of my dreams.
My Future is at PwC
As a summer intern at PwC, I had the opportunity to learn a variety of different skills and look at different areas of business. PwC heavily emphasized professional development and having a willingness to learn and apply the knowledge you gain. I went on various shadow visits, networked, and worked on a major project where I learned data analytics and how to utilize data visualization tools. My time at PwC was amazing, and I was fortunate enough to get a return internship offer for the summer of 2020, where I hope to work in a tax line of service.