Alyssa Ardai ’21 will be graduating this May, a full year ahead of her peers in the Class of 2018. An Honors Program student, Alyssa has been involved in a variety of clubs from the Merrimack Investment Fund to the Interfaith Alliance, and even the club figure skating team. The hustle is real—outside of Merrimack, Alyssa’s completed several volunteer jobs and internships that have led to her latest accomplishment: a full-time offer from PricewaterhouseCoopers, one of the top accounting firms in the world.
Hi Alyssa, welcome to Working Warriors! And congratulations on your full-time offer from PwC. As a former tax intern for them, how did that role lead into your full-time offer?
Hi, and thank you! After going through multiple simulations, I learned that the accounting field was the right fit for me — and that I was leaning towards tax, not audit. I made numerous connections during the internship, through Merrimack people, those in my team and other SALT [state and local tax] connections.
That’s great that it helped you find your passion! What exactly did you do in your internship, and what will you be doing as a full-time employee?
As an intern, I participated in a virtual digital upskilling program, learning skills like Google Suite, Alteryx, Tableau, and PowerBI in order to analyze data more efficiently. I also got to work with a team of individuals, coming up with a new program for the Be Well, Work Well initiative! It was really valuable to learn about a day in the life of a tax associate in the State and Local Tax Department. As a full time employee, I’ll be working more with different types of tax forms, as well as the tools I mentioned before.
That experience sounds really valuable. It’s no surprise that PwC hired you! Can you go more in depth on what made it so great for you? What was the atmosphere like?
We were treated like a part of the PwC team from the first day. We were invited to a lot of firm-wide calls, even one with [US Chairman and Senior Partner] Tim Ryan! We were encouraged to reach out to anyone whenever we wanted, and we had multiple calls set up with interns from other lines of services to learn more about PwC as a whole.
From what you’ve said, I think the answer is clear — but have you landed your dream job? If not, where do you see yourself in the future?
Yes, PwC is one of the Big 4 accounting firms, and it’s always been a dream of mine to work at one of them. In the future, I see myself with my CPA credentials, hopefully moving up the ladder, and not as an associate; even potentially branching out to other firms.
How else has Merrimack prepared you for the working world? Do you want to shoutout any peers, professors, or staff?
I’ve gone to a lot of career fairs over the years, both accounting-specific, and general ones. Going to them helped me talk to a bunch of companies to see what would be a good fit. It also helped me get my externship position, and my internship. I also went to the Accounting and Financing Networking Brunches, where I was able to speak with numerous people in the field.
My freshman and sophomore years, I spent a lot of time in the Lucey Center, talking to Morgan Phipps about the application process. Joe Jenkins also helped me review my resume and bring it up to par. Without them, I don’t think I would have had as much luck with companies.
My accounting professor, MJ Potvin, has also been a huge help. In Accounting Club, she’s always bringing in people from different facets of accounting — from audit and tax, to specialties such as forensics and the CMA. She has a lot of experience, and she’s always willing to sit down and chat with us about the profession.
The Honors Program also has an Honors Alumni Mentor Network, where I was paired with an audit accountant at PwC! It was nice talking to someone who was in my shoes, just a few years ago. We still keep in touch to this day, and he has introduced me to other people at PwC.
It’s awesome to hear that you’ve had so much support, and that you’ve been able to use the O’Brien Center’s events and resources to your advantage! As we come to a close, what advice can you give to fellow Merrimack students?
Put yourself out there, and go to as many events as possible to get yourself known. At the career fairs, many of the recruiters were the same year to year, so it was nice to tell them all of the things that I’ve done since I last saw them. Merrimack faculty and alumni want to see you succeed, so make connections with them. And make sure you have a strong LinkedIn profile!
Thanks so much, Alyssa! And congratulations again on all your success!
Are you ready to secure an internship or employment for the fall and beyond? The O’Brien Center for Career Development is here to help you! Visit Handshake today to search for open opportunities, meet with your career advisor, and more.