Business and Public Management Center
50 Sharpless Street
West Chester, PA 19383
Name: Kathy Koval
Position: Assistant Dean, Director of Business and Public Management Programs
Name: Cindy Cheyney
Position: Assistant Dean
Name: Laurie Christie
Position: Administrative Assistant to the Dean
Name: Danah Allen
Position: Communications and Impact Coordinator
Name: Paige Carey
What exactly does your job title mean?
"Internal Reporting is a critical function of a company which helps the business leaders ascertain the overall financial health, evaluate performance and monitor expense management. In a company like JPMC, we have 4 major sub lines of business (lob) that each act independently and have their own set of financial records, business decisions, etc. My role is to make sure that all of the financial data from each sub-lob is submitted into the corporate systems in a timely manner with controls in place to determine completeness and accuracy of the data. I own the corporate finance IT platforms used for internal reporting and my team is responsible for ensuring the systems are environmentally stable, data is aggregated appropriately from all lob systems, and we execute aggregations, validations, and reconciliations. This data is leveraged for consolidated financial reporting, trend analysis, forecasting and budgeting. Overall, my job has an operational component, a technology component, and an analytical component given strategic business decisions are made based on the accuracy of this data."
What is a typical day like for you?
"Insanity - depends on what city I'm in. (I have teams located in geographically diverse areas, so I'm always on the go and travel frequently.) A usual workday starts around 5:30am with a cup of coffee in hand while email debriefing, which sets the prioritization for the day. Meetings begin anywhere from 7am-8am and take me through late afternoon/early evening, affording me the opportunity to engage with stakeholders throughout the world. When I'm not traveling, my favorite part of the day arrives when I walk through my front door. I'm always greeted by my husband, two sons, and our beloved Pomsky, Roxy Foxy. Sharing about our day and playing pinochle is a favorite way to spend time together and relax."
You're a non-traditional student. What drove you to come back to school?
"As a young, single mother - I realized early on that education is the foundation to advancement. It doesn't define a person; it merely opens up different doors to opportunity. I did not want to become a statistic, rather, I wanted to have a chance to correct some of my mistakes and lead by example to show that it is never too late. I knew perseverance mixed with blood/sweat/tears and some luck tossed in the equation would eventually yield a compelling story to share with my children (and others) day.
I've always been a planner, so I spent time researching and devising an aggressive plan to complete my degree with strict criteria - accredited university, affordability, and close proximity to help balance my work/life situation. West Chester University was the ideal solution to help support my goal. It was within a 3 mile radius from my home, job, and daycare center; had an excellent accredited business program and ROI for the tuition was unparalleled. If I didn't keep a journal, I wouldn't believe my own journey actually happened. I graduated with my bachelors in just shy of three years, while working full time, and being a mother to two [precocious err precious] toddlers. At one point, I had 24 credit hours a semester. So the point of my story - non traditional or not, if I can do this, anyone can do it!"
How has the quality of education you received from WCU prepared you for life after graduation?
"The academic rigor within the Accounting Program prepared me to sail through the CPA exam successfully, which was by far the most difficult credential obtained during my professional journey. More importantly, several adjunct professors had real life business experience and willingly shared insight about how to navigate through different industries and companies which oftentimes is challenging and intimidating for people."
What makes our college standout to you?
"There are so many things. It's the faculty and the students, first and foremost. The faculty have a genuine interest in hearing from the alumni. Faculty consistently ask…'What are you up to, what's happening in the marketplace, what are you interested in seeing from the output of the students?' I've given the faculty constructive feedback regarding what to cut or recommending they think differently about things.' Never have I been met with a resistance, instead they encourage the discussion. I can are share from experience that a lot of other schools are not as receptive to constructive feedback of their curriculum. The culture here at WCU is just different. Everyone has a natural inclination to want to do better. And that's true of the students, too. I interact with students from all over the country and the world and the WCU students are not like any others! The kids here are smart, ambitious, and focused. They're not afraid of hard work."
You've mentioned in the past that you prefer to hire WCU students over Ivy League students. What traits do West Chester students have that you don't see elsewhere?
"They're eager, resilient, inquisitive and unafraid to ask questions. They have a degree of humbleness to them. They're hungry and want to do well but understand they may not have all the answers for how to get to their desired position/career path…so they ask for help! To me, that's so endearing. Attitude is everything!"
What advice would you give to someone who would like to enter your field?
"Do your research first! Ask questions, job shadow and learn about the diversity an accounting degree can yield. As soon as people hear I'm a CPA, the first thing they say is, 'Oh, tax or audit?' I've used my degree in various positions that span multiple disciplines such as technology, finance, operations, risk, audit, etc. The most surprising fact people discover is that I'm a technologist - pairing strong accounting and finance skills with IT is a powerful combination, and hybrid candidates are rare. If you want to differentiate yourself, you need to incorporate core competencies that will make you fungible. Remember - the devil is always in the data, so agnostic of industry, if you can master the language between technology and finance, your opportunities will be boundless."
What advice would you give to our graduating seniors, especially young women?
"You can have it all, but you can't have it all at the same time. You have to be vigilant and diligent and, again, humble. You have to have to accept criticism without defense. That's very difficult.
People need to realize that it takes a village to raise high performers. You need to build your network, and you need to be open and receptive to feedback. That's something people struggle with - giving and receiving feedback. There will always be someone who is smarter, faster, better than you are. The key to continual improvement is self realization, acceptance, appreciation of other talent and most importantly - reciprocity (i.e. willingness to help others along the way with honest, constructive and purposeful feedback). You need to identify mentors and sponsors and invest in building those relationships. It's not a male or female thing. It's an issue of character, integrity and hard work. I will put time in and advocate for anyone that I know is struggling. It comes down to being a good human being above all else."
What sort of internships, if any, does your firm offer?
"We have a lot to offer, not just specific to Finance. There various programs that span from the traditional finance/accounting programs to communication and marketing programs, etc. Our company has a global presence with diverse opportunities that range from Corporate roles and branch out to our lines of businesses (e.g. Asset Management, Community & Consumer Banking, Commercial Banking and Corporate & Investment Banking). The advantage of JPMC is you can spend your entire career here and feel like you have been in different companies all along! The diversity and exposure is fantastic! We are always looking for incredible talent to join our work family!"
What is your favorite memory of being a student at WCU and/or in our college?
"I was asked to participate in a student panel about global economics, the political landscape and how it relates back to U.S. policy hosted by the Political Science department. There were around twelve of us on the panel and I remember sitting down and Professor Loedel approached me and said, 'Oh, you're in the business school now, what ever happened to you, why did you switch from political science? I really enjoyed having you in my class.' I was surprised that he recognized me, but also nervous given I knew the two of us were on different political spectrums from topics in his class. It was a lively panel and we got into a healthy discussion as the questions were introduced. It wasn't contentious, but it was certainly a passionate panel. Afterwards, Professor Loedel thanked me for participating and said he respected my diverse opinions and how well prepared I was with facts to support my perspective. Frequently people are shut down because they have a different view, so for him to say that and encourage alternative thinking was really great."
What's the most interesting thing about you that we wouldn't learn from your resume alone?
"I don't know how interesting it is…but I have a passion for Interior design and flipping houses. I love fabrics, color palettes, various design styles, light fixtures, furniture, area rugs—definitely area rugs. My husband thinks I'm obsessed with area rugs. He is probably right…but we won't admit that."