CWIB Sponsor Spotlight: KPMG


KPMG is a professional services firm that operates internationally and serves the needs of businesses, governments, public-sector agencies, not-for-profits, and capital markets. KPMG has tax, audit, and advisory practices as well as strategic alliances with many of the world’s leading software and service vendors. It is one of the Big Four Accounting firms, along with Deloitte, Ernst and Young, and PricewaterhouseCoopers. KPMG was one of the first Big Four firms to foster an industry-driven structure, where they organize along the same industry lines as their clients. The industries that KPMG serves include asset management, alternative investments, consumer and retail, healthcare, energy, and natural resources, entertainment and media, and technology to name a few. Collegiate Women in Business (CWIB) had the opportunity to interview a couple of Hokie alumni, Laura Vitale, Campus Recruiter, and Jason Kies, KPMG Partner, to get the inside scoop on working at the firm and learn why the people and culture make the firm so unique!

Fun fact: Lynne Doughtie, U.S. Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of KPMG, is a Virginia Tech alumna!


No day is the same

When asked about the day in the life of a KPMG employee, both Laura and Jason shared that no two days working at the firm are ever the same. Laura says, “..our main goal is to serve our clients to the best of our ability each day. With that, on any given day our employees could be solving a client problem, meeting with top-level executives, working with their engagement team to complete test work, participating in networking events, or assisting with recruiting efforts at their alma mater.” While there is a wide range of roles and responsibilities that KPMG employees take on, depending on their department’s function, Jason shares that direct client interaction is a big part of work at KPMG. He says, “most partners and employees have meaningful interactions with our clients on a daily basis that make a real impact on the issues they are having.” Kies goes on to share that staying up to date with laws and regulations, market trends, and client specific needs are critical things that employees and partners do at KPMG to complete their work effectively. Flexibility, adaptability, and professionalism are key traits to possess if you want to work at a firm like KPMG!


People and Culture

Both Laura and Jason admit that the people and culture of KPMG are what sets the firm apart from others. Some of their favorite aspects about the firm have been the mentorship, leadership and training courses, and diversity networks that KPMG offers for professional growth. Laura shares, “There’s very much a “pay it forward” culture at KPMG, where the more senior employees want to help grow and mentor the newer employees.” She explains that every new hire at KPMG is assigned a People Management Leader (PML) to help them set goals and track their performance throughout the year. Jason shares that there is an “entrepreneurial spirit” at KPMG. While Jason began his career in Audit in KPMG’s Richmond, Virginia office, he did a four-year rotation in Zurich, Switzerland where he worked in Audit and Advisory. He then moved to New York to work in the Private Equity Group, taking on a very different role in maintaining client relationships, driving new opportunities and doing issue resolution and independence. As evidenced by these responses, there are endless opportunities for both personal and professional growth at KPMG!


Women in the Workforce

KPMG has a culture of supporting women in the workforce that is imperative to the firm and apparent through the mentorship and networking initiatives they have created. Laura is involved in the KPMG Network of Women (KNOW) and shares that this network of women and men across the firm is committed to fostering women’s networking, mentorship, and leadership opportunities. This organization has connected her to professionals that she would not have otherwise met had she not joined KNOW. Lynne Doughtie, VT alum and U.S. Chairman and CEO of KPMG is a prime example of the strong women in leadership roles at KPMG. Laura shares, “I’ve worked for and with several strong women throughout my career and have had several female mentors whose advice and guidance has been pivotal to my success.”


CWIB’s Chief Financial Officer, Angela Zadrima, interned at KPMG last summer (she also accepted a full-time position!) . Her client was The World Bank. Here is a picture of her with Co-CEO Gigi Jones, who worked at The World Bank! CWIB is everywhere!

What can you, CWIB members, do to work at a company like KPMG?

Laura shares some advice for students striving to work at KPMG!

  1. Have a solid resume that highlights your strong grades in the core, major classes and any active roles you have held in organizations you’re passionate about!
  2. Build relationships. Laura explains, “get comfortable being uncomfortable and start networking!” Attend recruiting events so recruiters can put a face to a name when looking through a pool of applicants.
  3. Nail the interview! Show that you are a leader, team player, passionate, and an excellent communicator, and most importantly be yourself!


By: Allison De Santis

Standing Out as an Applicant


It can be intimidating to apply for an interview, internship, or job, but simple changes to your resume and professional mannerisms can make all the difference. The chances of you landing that position is immediately heightened when you stand out against other applicants. As simple as that sounds, many of us still do not take the steps forward on our resumes, LinkedIn’s, and applications to diversify ourselves from our fellow applicants. At last week’s #GirlBoss workshop, CWIB members learned some tips on how to effectively present yourselves from representatives of the organization. Here are the four ways to stand out to employers!

1.Personal Statement—A personal statement is a quick description of yourself, both as a student and a human being, that shares your best attributes with the reader. This statement contains your current aspiring goal, such as receiving an internship, interview, or job opportunity. These few lines about yourself can be put into your resume, LinkedIn, emails to employers, portfolios, and more! A significant part of a personal statement is the inclusion of examples to express why or how you show a specific attribute. For example, one may say, “through strong leadership skills and a motivated attitude, I helped develop a new financial planning theorem.” In interviews, you can break up different lines of your personal statement to apply to different questions you may be asked. These questions may include: Why are you a good candidate for our team?, What are your strengths?, How have you applied yourself in order to be successful? A personal statement is an elevator pitch for employers to show how you are qualified for a position, yet unique from every other “determined, hardworking” applicant.

2. Descriptors—It is important to make use of descriptions when necessary on your resumes, portfolios, and applications. You do not want to simply include a title of a job. Instead, it is important to briefly explain how those jobs helped get you to where you are today. A job title will not tell an employer what you were asked to do or what you learned as part of that job. On paper, would you rather be “Cashier,” or “Cashier: Where I learned basic math skills necessary for running a business and impressive interpersonal communication, while effectively managing my time and prioritizing tasks?” The same goes for leadership positions or club memberships. Explain to the reader how those roles were significant in your academic and professional development. Make yourself truly stand out from the next candidate.  

3. Emails—This is an easy, and sometimes scary, tool we have right at our fingertips. Post-interview follow-up emails can show an employer how dedicated you are. Although you want to make it short and sweet, emails to employers can help them remember your name, rather than tossing it into the large, mental pile of applicants who all want the same job or internship as you. Sending simple emails to connections you have can also lead to vast opportunities. You never know who knows who, so putting your name out there can be extremely beneficial. If you take initiative, they will remember you. Take the leap.

4. Confidence—Yes, it may seem simple, but there is a difference between being confident and being cocky, and sometimes that line gets blurred. Being graceful, yet confident, in your successes goes a long way. Rather than saying, “I am smart and hardworking, which is why I am successful in school,” it is better to say, “As a motivated individual, I strive for success. This is exemplified by my placement on the Dean’s List the past four semesters.” Remember, examples are your friend. Employers will not doubt that you are hard-working if you land a spot on the Dean’s List, but they may question how “smart” you really are without examples to back up your statements. Also, honesty is always the best policy! Stretching the truth to make yourself seem more competent than you really are is a risk you do not want to take.

These members of CWIB pictured below took initiative to ask questions at Power Panel last semester. This is another perfect example of taking initiative, standing out, getting your voice heard, and showing confidence! Take control of your life and your future by being proactive.


Ultimately, you do not want to be generic on paper. Show the world how you are different from the next person. Each and every one of us has the power to succeed. It is our responsibility to make that known by standing out to every employer.  

By: Allison Wood

Meet the CWIB Chronicles Team

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The 2018-2019 CWIB Chronicles team is complete! These talented, accomplished and dedicated writers will be delivering inspirational and informative articles to all of you every Tuesday and Thursday! Keep on reading to learn a little bit about each staff writer!


Heather Sangalang – Senior, BIT & Business Leadership                                                            

Why CWIB: Heather loves being editor-in-chief of the CWIB Chronicles because she gets to manage the publishing of articles that aim to help members in some way. Also, Heather loves working with the staff writers and watching them develop their business skills and love for CWIB. She wants our audience to enjoy reading about CWIB’s events and members enough to stay engaged in the organization as a whole. It’s easy to just pay dues and say you’re in CWIB, but Heather wants members to take advantage of all that we have to offer.

What empowers her: Heather finds it very empowering to meet successful businesswomen. In school, it’s easy to stay in your lane, but when she goes out of her way to meet women in the workforce, it serves as a reminder that you are in charge of your own destiny. They empower Heather to be bold and chase after what makes her happy!

About her: Heather comes from a huge, tight-knit family (she has over 20 first cousins!). When not with her family, she loves hanging around DC with friends or lying in bed watching reality TV. Heather’s dream is to move to New York City someday!

Favorite quote: “Work hard and stay humble”


Emma Harwood- Sophomore, Management & Professional and Technical Writing                            

Why CWIB: She is very passionate about writing and wanted to get involved with CWIB to help our readers, and herself, learn more about business topics! Becoming a staff writer is the perfect avenue to bridge her interests in writing and business together. Ultimately, she wants our readers to see all of the amazing opportunities that CWIB provides! She wants to be that person that encourages other women to branch out of their comfort zone and attend a trek, event, etc in order to get the most out of this organization.  

What empowers her: Emma feels empowered when she meets other women with similar professional goals as her. That connection allows her to immediately bond with that person and those interactions motivate her to reach her full potential.

About her: Emma has lived in 6 different places, but most recently she’s from Syracuse, New York! Her biggest passion is basketball as she plays for the women’s club team here at Virginia Tech. Ultimately, Emma would love to write for a sports magazine so she can combine her love for writing and sports into one career! She loves hanging out with friends, going to the beach, and listening to/attending concerts.

Favorite quote: “Success is not final; failure is not fatal: It is the courage to continue that counts.”


Allison DeSantis- Junior, BIT & Computer Science                         

Why CWIB: Allison has always loved writing, so she wanted to get involved with the CWIB Chronicles to do something she’s passionate about! She hopes that by highlighting our leadership team, general members, and events, readers will be inspired to follow in others’ footsteps and take risks to achieve their goals!

What empowers her: Hearing and reading stories from people who have persevered through difficult times to achieve success in their personal and professional lives empowers Allison. Learning about how someone has overcome failure and didn’t let that define them always empowers her to do the same!

About her: Allison is a part of Ballroom Dance Club and Pamplin Leadership Development Team here at Virginia Tech!

Favorite quote: “Don’t let yesterday take up too much of today.”


Cara Yates- Senior, Marketing, Hospitality & Tourism Management, Economics

Why CWIB: During one of Cara’s internships, one of her bosses would compliment her on the way she wrote. She wroteitineraries and blog posts, which made her more confident in her writing abilities. Cara decided to put them to the test and become a CWIB staff writer with the hope of sharing everything she has learned over the past four years as a business student. She hopes our articles give the readers the information they need to feel confident and prepared when chasing their dreams.

What empowers her: Cara feels empowered when she pushes herself to succeed and meet her goals. Whether it is a test, club obligation, or professional experience, she always gives it her all so that she never has to look back and say that she could’ve tried harder. Seeing determination pay off is the most rewarding feeling for Cara.

About her: Cara proudly comes from a Hokie family and grew up going to Virginia Tech football games! She enjoys watching Netflix, working out, and trying to finish the Hokie Bucket List before she graduates. She’s from Northern Virginia, but her goal is to live on the beach!

Favorite quote: “Hang in there. It is astonishing how short a time it can take for very wonderful things to happen”


Lina Al Taii – Freshman, Environmental Science

Why CWIB: Lina became a staff writer because she has experience in writing and wanted to use her skills in a business related organization. Her goal is to help others and highlight the opportunities that CWIB offers. She hopes that our articles can give our readers a place to look when they want information about a certain business-related problem, advice for achieving their dreams, or information about anything CWIB-related.

What empowers her: She feels empowered when she learns about the challenges that someone has gone through to get to where they are now. Lina thinks a good success story always has hard times, and when she hears about others and how they worked to get to their role, it motivates her to push herself and achieve what she wants.

About her: Lina is from Northern Virginia and loves Virginia Tech because of the location. One of her favorite activities is hiking, and she’s so excited to spend the next four years exploring all of the different hiking trails. Lina also love bullet journaling, organizing, and working out! She hopes to live in Colorado one day or own a getaway home there.

Favorite quote: “If you fell down yesterday, stand up today”


Allison Wood- Sophomore, Management “

Why CWIB: Allison has always had a love for writing, and for sharing that writing with the world around her. It has given her more opportunities and connected her with more people than she could have ever imagined. She hopes by being a staff writer, she can continue to share that passion with other collegiate women interested in the business world. She wants our readers to be able to come to The CWIB Chronicles for information that relates directly to them. Whether it be about a future in business, current college business information, or tips and tricks to be successful, she wants our readers to get something beneficial out of our articles.

What empowers her: Meeting people that have had trials and tribulations throughout life who choose to be kind and happy despite those difficulties empowers Allison. Overcoming obstacles in life with a smile on your face is not easy, and she is moved by those who make something of themselves even after experiencing difficult times.

About her: She is from Alexandria, Virginia, but Bethany Beach, Delaware is her happy place! She has had a house there her whole life, and she lived there this past summer. Allison has three sisters who are her best friends, and her family as a whole is really close. She is in the Honors College here at Virginia Tech and loves spending her spare time outdoors, on her computer, working out, and trying new food!

Favorite quote: “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step”

Abby Perkins- Sophomore, Marketing

Why CWIB: Writing has always been a passion of Abby’s, so when she saw the “ad” for the staff writer position last year, she was so excited! She has loved being able to help CWIB members prepare for their career and connect with other members through the articles we publish. CWIB has already been such an amazing source of inspiration for Abby, and she hopes our articles continue to provide the same for our members!

What empowers her: Abby feels empowered when she knows that she’s equipped with the knowledge, connections, and skills needed to succeed in a professional career, all three of which she has gotten from CWIB! Seeing what other women have been able to accomplish inspires her to continue improving and learning.

About her: Abby is from Ashburn, VA. She has two sisters and a brother. I’m a sophomore here at Virginia Tech and has been a CWIB member since the beginning of her freshman year. She loves playing lacrosse, listening to music, reading, and creating art!

Favorite quote: “Be yourself: everyone else is already taken.”


I am so excited to work with all of you this year! I strongly believe that each of you shows the commitment and ability to build this resource for our members. I can’t wait to see all the amazing work you all do! 


What I Learned From Studying Abroad

For many of us, studying abroad is an experience we hope to fit into our schedules at some point in our college careers. Knowing I had little room in my schedule to study abroad for an entire semester, I decided to take advantage of a summer study abroad program this summer! With six other Pamplin College of Business students and our advisor, I traveled to major cities in China this May and June, visiting businesses, universities, and cultural sites. Whether you are already planning to study abroad or are considering it, I’m here to offer three valuable benefits that I have taken away from my experience.


1) Exposure to the business world of a foreign country

As future business professionals, working abroad or with international clients/customers is a strong possibility for many of us during our careers. Taking the opportunity to learn about the business world abroad is a great way to gain that international business exposure before graduating. Some things cannot be taught within the walls of a classroom, so think about traveling to a different country and learning in a real international setting. You may even form a connection that leads to an internship or full-time job opportunity!

2) Getting out of your comfort zone

College is a time to take risks and experience new things. Studying abroad can be a great way to do those things. During this unique experience, you get to immerse yourself in a completely different culture for an extended period of time, encouraging you to practice your independence and try new things. When you are in a different country, you are surrounded by places, people, and events foreign to the ones you have at home. You are bound to learn something new at every moment. Once you’ve conquered living and studying in a foreign country, taking risks back at home may seem less intimidating!

3) The opportunity to travel in an organized, group setting

Once we start full-time careers, fitting international travel into our schedules may not be the easiest or most realistic of tasks. Take advantage of semesters with fewer credits or vacations to do a study abroad program. Studying abroad in college allows us to travel with a group of people with similar interests and visit destinations on our bucket lists; it’s like an extravagant, prolonged field trip!

Studying abroad isn’t for everyone, but if it’s something you’ve always wanted to do or are just now interested in, I would encourage you to research programs offered online, attend study abroad fairs, visit the Global Education office right off campus, and talk to your advisor about the best programs for your major and academic plan!

How to Handle Rejection

There are some topics that we all deal with that are often ignored by people in our society. Rejection is one of them. Though it is common with every single one of us, we hesitate to discuss it. This may be because of embarrassment, shame, or refusal to admit failure. However, how natural is it to fail? Is success always guaranteed?

 At this time in our lives, rejection is something that has almost become an everyday occurrence. Many of us are currently applying to things, whether it’s summer jobs, internships, on-campus organizations, scholarships, etc. We also face rejection outside of our career lives in relationships with others, or even rejecting our own selves.

However, one thing is clear – rejection can’t be avoided. There’s no “5 Step Plan” to preventing rejection. Instead, you can improve your methods of dealing with it once you have to face it.

I’ve gathered testimonies from four different girls who have faced rejections in every aspect and have now secured internship positions at well-reputed companies. All of them have learned valuable lessons from their job searches and have used them to their advantage.

1. “Learn from your mistakes and keep on trying, no matter how hard it gets.” – Incoming Amazon intern

       I spoke with an incoming Amazon intern who told me about her struggles with interviewing. After four months of applying, interviewing, and getting rejected from just about everything, she was ready to give up. However, she was able to identify her weakness, which was her lack of preparation for technical interviews. She soon learned how exactly to study and prepare for these interviews in order to leave the best impression. She also stopped getting discouraged by watching people around her getting jobs. Eventually, she received an offer from Amazon as an engineering intern. Her key to success was to keep trying, no matter how bleak the situation seems.

2. “Don’t limit your options by sticking to ‘big’ companies.” – Incoming CNN intern

        This friend of mine I spoke with told me her tips for dealing with rejection, which includes telling herself it’s not the end of the world and there are so many other companies to apply to. When she gets rejected, she just starts filling out more applications without dwelling too much and losing momentum. Most importantly, she’s learned that it doesn’t matter where you work. Getting rejected by a large company is to be expected since they are very picky, and they have a large number of applicants from all over the world. The purpose of internships is to learn new skills, and you have just as much of a chance doing so at a smaller company or a startup, which is where she interned last summer. Her key to success is to not overlook small companies because you want a flashy, big-name internship that’ll look good on a resume – look for the value the position provides. It also doesn’t hurt that the smaller the company, the higher your chances tend to be.

3. “Don’t get overly attached to a position.” – Current Home Depot intern

        Emotions tend to get the better of us, no matter what situation we’re in. It’s important to remember to stay objective and focused during the application process. Whether it’s rejection emails, cold interviewers, or just no replies at all, none of it will affect you in the long run. Just accept the situation for what it is and keep going. Even if a position sounds perfect for you and you feel like a good fit for it, try to not get your hopes up and get attached since there’s always the slightest chance it won’t work out. While it’s good to have hope, you should stay grounded and practical at the same time to avoid excessive disappointment. Her key to success is to remember that you’ll end up where you need to be if you continue to pursue your goals without giving up because of one rejection.

4. “Think of rejection as a push in the right direction.” – Incoming KPMG intern

         It’s difficult to accept rejection because it feels like proof that you weren’t good enough. However, it’s important to understand that it’s not against you personally. When companies recruit, they have a very specific type of person in mind – someone who matches their corporate culture – and it’s often hard for them to find just the right match. If you didn’t get a job you applied to, chances are, you will definitely find something better. It also means that even if you did get that job, it might not have gone so well because you didn’t fit well with the company initially. Her key to success is understanding what leads to certain things happening and continuing to search for a company that is the perfect fit for you.

        This is a critical time in our lives, where it seems like securing jobs define our worth. However, we are still young and still have time left in school, so use it to your full advantage! Companies are always visiting Virginia Tech, whether they’re at a booth at a career fair, speaking at an organization’s meeting, or just hanging out in the Pamplin atrium waiting for you to swing by. Take every opportunity available to  build relationships instead of “connections.” Remember, you have time. Rejections don’t signify failure – they’re just a sign that you applied for the wrong place, and your dream job is still out there. All you have to do is keep searching!