Alyssa Lochbaum, BA’08, Dip Acc.’09

Alyssa LochbaumWhat was your first job after graduation?

I graduated with my B.A. right in the heart of the recession so I found the Diploma in Accounting program through Sauder and did that as I figured accounting would be a useful skill no matter what field I went into. I ended up liking the program far more than I ever imagined and joined PwC Vancouver right after finishing that program. I still work for PwC but now live in San Diego, CA and travel all over the U.S. for client work.

What would you tell your graduating self?

Focus on what types of tasks you want to be doing vs. what the job role looks like. I was so impatient when I finished my degree and I was hyper-focused on job titles and my role as written in my HR file. I think it’s far more important to find smart, talented people to work with and seek out opportunities to work on the things you enjoy. I ended up spending a lot of my time as a first year associate at PwC at networking events and recruiting, which I didn’t even know was possible in my role at a large accounting firm.

What was the best advice that you received?

Find a good mentor and be as proactive as possible in terms of finding opportunities to learn from that person. I found several senior managers and partners in my time at PwC Vancouver who I shadowed in meetings. I would constantly go by their offices and ask them if they had anything I could help out with. In the early part of my career, I was a “yes person” and would do whatever I needed to in order to take on extra work, attend networking events or meetings that I didn’t necessarily need to be in just to gain more exposure.

What was your most embarrassing moment at work?

I led a meeting at PwC in the middle of “busy season” and drank way too much coffee that day as I had been working some long hours. At the end of the meeting, a partner pulled me aside and told me he felt I was bouncing off of the walls and that I had been talking so quickly nobody in the meeting could even catch what I was saying… Needless to say, I now avoid coffee before giving presentations.

What is your dream job?

I believe my dream tasks for work would be to focus on a mix of business development, strategic projects and investor relations. I don’t want to pick just one job title as I believe those tasks could be the majority of work in many different companies and departments.

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