Driehaus College of Business student Emily Kolpas is getting a peek at life after college while still in school. Through the Strobel Honors Accounting Program, she connected with Grant Thornton and began interning at the firm. Today, she balances a hands-on internship while completing her business classes and taking advantage of all Chicago has to offer. Below, the sophomore accounting and finance double major talks about what DePaul means to her.
Describe the DePaul experience in your own words.
Emily Kolpas: The DePaul experience has provided me with independence that I never thought I would have at 19 years old. The way DePaul has helped me transform from a sheltered, fairly simple suburban girl, to a fast-paced, hard-working city girl has been quite phenomenal. I didn't think it would happen as quickly as it did, but the guidance and support from the faculty, as well as my peers, helped tremendously.
What has been your experience at the Driehaus College of Business?
My experience has emphasized greatly the endless opportunities I have. Within the business school, I was fortunate enough to be enrolled in the Strobel Honors Accounting Program. With that came even more opportunities. The recruiting events they put on give students the opportunity to communicate with recruiters and professionals at the top accounting firms in the world. The first week of my freshman year, I attended one of these events.
There, I met an extremely influential partner from Grant Thornton who has a strong passion for recruiting. After finishing the Grow with Grant Thornton Leadership Program, I realized what an incredible firm GT really is. I have now been an intern at Grant Thornton for almost five months. Now, my access to unique networking experiences and more opportunities in accounting is endless. My happiness at Grant Thornton is a product of the Driehaus College of Business. The school provides its students with a series of events that will lead you to your ultimate goal.
What does being in the accounting honors program mean to you?
Being in the honors program, to me, is more than a pretty title on my resume. It signifies that people other than my close circle have faith in me. My scholarship [Gerald & Jennifer Beeson "Success Through Scholarship" Endowed Scholars Program] means so much to my family and me, and to know that such an incredible organization, Ledger & Quill (DePaul's alumni and friends accountancy program organization), is behind it, makes it even that more special.
What's a typical day for you?
My typical day is definitely not the normal day of a college student. I wake up at 6:30, get ready and go to work. I work as a sales and use tax intern in the State and Local Tax Department of Grant Thornton, the fifth largest public accounting firm in the world. Each day I go into work I can count on learning something new. Grant Thornton has showed me that accounting — tax, really — can be enjoyable! No day is the same. How can that not be exciting? I am constantly learning at work and at school — which is next. After working for about five hours I head to class. My classes will then go until nighttime, and by then my brain can't really handle much more.
Now it is time to decide which organization I am involved with will be my priority for the night. As a member of Alpha Kappa Psi, board member of Chabbad on Campus, founder of Lev el Lev and President of the Jewish Sisterhood, there is plenty more to be done in the day. Oh, and I can't forget homework and exercise! To say at the least, I am extremely busy. But what is the use of a day without maximizing my potential?
What's the best aspect of attending the DePaul's business college?
I would definitely say that the best aspect of being an undergraduate at DePaul is our opportunity to utilize what I think is the best city in the world. Chicago really is our campus, and that creates endless possibilities. Not only can we explore the city and find out which cool neighborhoods we want to wander, but we also grow a sense of independence that is rare for our age.
It puts DePaul students a huge step ahead of the rest of the game when it comes to entering the real world after graduation. Another amazing aspect is the ability and easy access to get involved. Being involved in one or multiple of DePaul's hundreds of organizations is the best decision you could possibly make. Involvement is crucial to happiness and success at DePaul.
Read more about the Driehaus College of Business.
Learn about the DePaul Strobel Honors Program.