Student Spotlight: Jada Davis

Jada Davis poses for a professional headshot

Jada Davis

Jada Davis

Class: Junior

Internship: Launch Intern at EY

Topics of Interest: iMPA, Accounting

Houston native, Jada Davis is a junior at UT and Canfield BHP. She is currently in her 3rd year as an iMPA student pursuing her master’s degree in accounting. Jada is a member of the Black Business Student Association and a member of the Master in Professional Accounting Council. Her motivations for becoming part of UT and Canfield BHP centered on Jada’s passion for business, math, and working with numbers. Ultimately, her interactions with upperclassmen at Discover Canfield BHP helped her make the final decision to be part of our program.

Jada’s passion for business and numbers doesn’t end there. Her interest in mentoring and helping her peers along their academic journey developed during her time as a camp counselor at the annual McCombs DYNAMC program. The week-long program features world-renowned faculty and keynote speakers, networking opportunities, a case competition, and much more. It’s made possible thanks to the support provided by fellow partners at EY, formerly known as Ernst and Young. The acronym stands for ‘Discover Yourself iN Accounting Majors and Careers’ and helps introduce students to the opportunities offered with a degree in accounting. Jada recalls when she participated in the program as a high school student.

“I was a part of the program when I was in high school, and I enjoyed being able to return and give back to those students. I remember how much of an impact it had on me in deciding what I wanted to do after I graduated from high school. I gained more exposure to all of the possibilities available.”

Jada and DYNAMC Camp Counselors posing for a picture at the stadium

Jada and DYNAMC Camp Counselors

As a camp counselor, Jada enjoyed advising high school students and answering questions about her first-year college experience as she assisted them with their projects. Her advice to high school students prepping for college is to get used to reading informational texts more.

“When I first got to UT, there was much more reading than I was used to. Even after taking AP and dual credit classes in high school, there was more material that had to be absorbed in a shorter amount of time. Another huge piece of advice is to go to office hours. Every semester, I encourage my friends to go because professors really want to help you succeed and understand the material. Being able to learn the material and see it more than once, in different ways, makes a huge difference.”

Through DYNAMC, Jada cultivated several key relationships as she networked with EY representatives during her time as a camp counselor. Overtime, Jada continued to work on those relationships she made and was eventually presented with internship opportunities with EY. Jada credits the resume building and networking skills she developed at McCombs and Canfield BHP for her early success.

“The classes like BA101H that we took early on had an impact on how I viewed myself professionally, helped me provide recruiters with what they were looking for, and enabled me to add my personal touch on things. There are so many opportunities here at McCombs. The advisors and career coaches at Canfield BHP are super invested in you and have played an influential role in my success.”

As Jada pursues her Masters in Professional Accounting through the McCombs iMPA program, she is preparing herself for an auditing track as her career of choice while maintaining a steady list of internships to develop experience along the way.

Jada and fellow EY Interns posing for a picture

Jada and fellow EY Interns

“Fortunately, this summer I’ll be interning with Phillips 66 to get a taste of what internal accounting roles look like. I’m hoping my experience gives me a little more clarity on how to move forward as far as my career decision so that I’ll be able to decide what I want to do once I get my master’s degree.”

Her advice to current Canfield BHP students, and those following an iMPA path, is to stay focused and learn good study habits early in your college career.

“Once you find what works for you early on, things will get much smoother. Also, don’t be afraid to ask for help from your peers, academic advisors, professors, or even staff. Canfield BHP does a great job focusing on each student. The way we get to interact with our advisors and professors is awesome. All the resources they’re able to provide to students shows that they care.”

Internship Spotlight: Kevin LePage and EY

Kevin LePage Headshot
Kevin LePage

Major: Canfield BHP, Management Information Systems

Company: EY

Position: Launch Intern

Topics of Interest: Camping & Hammocking, Mac & Cheese, San Antonio Spurs, Technology, Nonprofits

We start the New Year with a profile on a familiar face throughout the Canfield BHP community. He’s an outstanding young man and we’re proud to have him around. We’re talking about Kevin LePage, of course. After his sophomore year, Kevin spent some time working at an internship with Ernst and Young. While catching up with him, we also spoke about the endeavors he’s currently involved in outside of his internship.

Kevin talks to us about EY’s Launch Internship, which is open to qualified students two years or more from graduation and provides interns the chance to work with professionals across different service lines. Experiential training is a big draw for this internship opportunity because it allows interns to gain enough knowledge and experience to make an informed career decision while receiving the support they need every step of the way.

Kevin at EY

Kevin and fellow EY interns.

Kevin felt the interview process for the Launch Internship was “a really good experience” overall. While tasked with other duties, Kevin rotated between auditing and forensic accounting responsibilities. This was special in his opinion because he gained exposure to different aspects of EY’s business.

“I got a lot of help and asked a ton of questions throughout the process. I was placed on an audit team with a big billion-dollar public company and it was exciting to be able to be in the room. When I was with the forensics team, another intern and I got to delve into specific invoices to figure out if we could find any fraud. I can’t speak too much about it as it’s confidential information but it was interesting and tedious.”

We asked Kevin if he planned on pursuing a career in forensic accounting before his internship with EY. “At the time I was, but I used the internship to gauge whether or not I wanted to do accounting or pursue a forensic accounting role. I think it’s a great way for students to get involved early on and use the internship to try to figure out where you want to go.”

“I was trying to figure out what was going to be important to me. Going through my college development, I was trying to figure out what career I wanted. ” Kevin ultimately realized forensic accounting wasn’t his passion. “The day to day tasks involved a lot of spreadsheets and trying to figure things out along with the team. I loved the client interaction and working with a team of highly capable individuals but the specific work just wasn’t for me. Now, I’ve pivoted my way towards MIS and looking at that route. I wouldn’t trade my internship with EY for anything.”

Asked about what he felt he could’ve improved on while at EY, Kevin explained that he would’ve enjoyed experiencing more of the camaraderie felt by spending more time with the other interns. His forty-five-minute commute from home, among other things, made it difficult to participate in off-work activities with his fellow interns.

However, with a sharp focus and his eye on the ball, Kevin felt he did a great job staying busy and asking his supervisors for additional work that he could perform to help them out. “What I think I did well was pester my supervisors or anyone around me for additional work, anything that I could do to help them out. I kept myself busy and kept asking questions to make sure I was doing the work right. That’s the one thing I didn’t want to do wrong.”

If you want to prepare for an internship with EY, Kevin recommends getting connected with companies early on. “Try to get connected with companies earlier. That’s not to say, as a freshman, try to get a job immediately because as a freshman you can’t, but go to an info session or try a leadership development program. Those are super helpful in developing relationships and connections with the company.”

Kevin at Leadership Kickoff

Kevin and fellow Canfield BHPeers at the 2019 Leadership Kickoff Event in New Braunfels.

Like many of our Canfield BHP students, Kevin is involved in student organizations that allow him to fill his time with other things he’s passionate about. In addition to his internships, Kevin has been involved with The Exponentialists, a student-led nonprofit which seeks to empower young people in low-resource communities to achieve exponential success through entrepreneurship. Kevin is their proud Podcast Director and coordinates their weekly podcasts – currently on Season Two. Kevin is also a member of the Texas Blazers as well as a Canfield BHP Peer Mentor who has taken a group of ten freshmen under his wing in their first semester of college. He enjoys answering questions while providing solid advice to his fellow CBHPeers.

Student Spotlight: Samantha Lustberg

Name: Samantha (Sam) Lustberg

Major: Canfield BHP, Management Information Systems

Company: Bringg 

Position: Business Solutions Analyst

Topics of Interest: kickboxing, all the foods in the world, social dance, the ukulele

It’s not often students get to travel abroad for an internship, but Samantha (Sam) Lustberg had the opportunity to work not one, but two internships this past summer in Tel Aviv, a city on the coast of Israel. 

Sam began her summer in Tel Aviv as a consultant at a boutique firm, Targo Consulting, where she worked with pre-seed startups analyzing the ideas presented by budding entrepreneurs. After working at Targo for a few weeks, Sam pivoted to a new role at Bringg. 

Bringg, a Series C technology startup, is a delivery logistics software that partners with Fortune 500 companies to ensure data security when working with food delivery services like Uber Eats and Postmates. Sam worked as a Business Solutions Analyst on the Business Development team. She had the opportunity to strategize with the sales and marketing teams for the rest of the summer. 

“I had two experiences. A lot of it was me transferring what I learned in the consulting firm to this new tech company, Bringg, where I worked in Business Development,” Sam said. “My job was to realign the sales and marketing teams. There was this problem with connecting the most recent marketing materials with sales. So I helped create a centralized platform for all of that.”

In addition to helping to create a centralized platform, Sam worked to develop Bringg’s international marketing efforts. As an American intern in another country, she brought a unique skillset to the table. 

“Bringg is an international company and I was in Israel and obviously there’s a huge language barrier,” Sam said. “They were looking to market around the world and I helped with building emails and content so their English language marketing was improved.” 

Throughout all of her work, Sam said she loved her time in Tel Aviv. As someone who hails from New York and has studied abroad in Hong Kong, culture shock does not come easily for her. The biggest challenge Sam faced was finding and securing the internship in the first place. Sam’s advice to other students is to network and stay involved outside of McCombs. 

“Navigating actually getting these opportunities is not as easy because I didn’t do it through McCombs. I went through Texas Hillel, which is an on-campus organization which then connected me to the third party organization that led me to the internship,” Sam said. “If you want to have an opportunity outside of McCombs, then you really have to talk to other organizations, continue networking with people and just make sure you put yourself in the right places at the right time.” 

Sam also advises students to find friends and champions to support them through the recruiting process. She said peers from Canfield BHP and Texas Hillel kept her connected and vouched for her during the recruiting process. 

“There have been other Canfield BHP kids in the past who have gone to Israel and using them as champions was helpful,” Sam said. “For example, a friend was going to do the program that I did, so she helped me make all the connections. The key takeaway from that is there’s a network within Canfield BHP for whatever you want to do. If you want to go into Tel Aviv it can happen. If you want to go into television or any other industry, it can happen.”

Student Spotlight: Sloane Castleman

Name: Sloane Castleman

Major: Canfield BHP, Plan II Honors

Company: National Basketball Association (NBA)

Position: Team Finance Intern

Topics of Interest: Outdoor skiing, music, reading, photography, finding new restaurants

While some students searched Recruit McCombs for investment banking, marketing, or consulting internships last year, Sloane Castleman took a different route. She browsed Google for different Finance positions and eventually found a posting that stood out. After applying, interviewing, and getting the job, Sloane spent this past summer in New York as a Team Finance Intern for the National Basketball Association (NBA). 

Interning with the NBA before her senior year allowed Sloane to learn more about not only finance, but also basketball. She had the opportunity to compile the PNLs of each of the teams, review year over year team profitability, and analyze the models that the NBA uses for League financials. 

“I was specifically under the team and labor finance group and I helped create a model that was a template for the outputs that we needed to give the (team) directors. It was cool because I got to look at their other models and see how the NBA as a whole viewed leagues’ finances, including international leagues like the China League and Africa League,” Sloane said. 

Oddly enough, Sloane didn’t apply to the position as a major basketball fan. Rather, she applied because she thought the position would be a great learning experience. She said she wanted to explore something new and she loved sports, so it seemed like a great opportunity. In addition, Sloan studied abroad the semester before going into the internship and was able to take a Business of Sports class while in Europe that helped her the following summer. 

“I have never been a huge NBA follower or anything,” Sloane said, “But (the study abroad class) was a lot about the business of soccer and Formula One. It was cool to be able to take that into my internship because I would never have studied that here at UT.”

Although Sloane didn’t expect to take sports-related classes at UT, her Canfield Business Honors major helped her feel prepared in different ways. 

“In my final review my boss said I was good at communicating and presenting,” Sloane said. Being able to get up on stage and not be worried and then have people asking me hard questions and being able to think on the spot is something I definitely got from Canfield BHP.”

In addition to helping her improve her speaking skills, Sloane said Canfield BHP has helped her improve her focus on the bigger picture within business problems. She said Canfield BHP professors teach students to analyze details, but also take a step back to think about how the lessons they’re learning in classes or units fit into the larger picture.

“(My boss) said I was good at taking numbers and thinking about the cases and contexts they fit into, like the overall aspects within the company that those factors could be affecting,” Sloane said. “I think that’s a very Canfield BHP thing to be able to do because we’re taught to look at the big picture too.”

Overall, Sloane walked away from the internship knowing what she wanted to do full-time. She said she enjoyed her environment, but the strategy aspects of the job excited her most. Next year, Sloane will begin her full-time job at Boston Consulting Group (BCG). Her advice to other students is to not be afraid to take on new experiences because opportunities for learning are always available.

“Internships are the best way to see what you enjoy. I realize how much I like to work in sports, but I also realized that cut and dry finance isn’t totally for me,” Sloane said. “With each internship experience, there’s so much you can learn, so keeping an open mind and looking for things that get you excited is the way to go about it.”

Student Spotlight: Brooke Reaves

Brooke Reaves in front of TaskUs LogoMajors: Canfield BHP, Plan II, Government

Company: TaskUs

Position: Research and Product Development Intern

Topics of Interest: Entrepreneurship, Women’s Empowerment, Civil Discourse, and Education

From her time as a Research and Product Development Intern to her insightful exploration of India, while conducting personal research, Brooke Reaves goes in-depth about her experiences as an intern and student seeking karma this summer.

Brooke is a junior at Canfield BHP and as a Business Honors, Plan II, and Government major, she has a full plate this year. She recently spent time interning at TaskUs, a global tech outsourcing company that delivers next-generation business strategy, process optimization, revolutionary technology, and the best talent available. Brooke spoke to me about her projects and overall experience working as a Research and Product Development Intern and described her learnings.

On her travels abroad, Brooke talked to us about her wonderful experience as a student studying in India as part of her Plan II sanctioned research on women’s education and entrepreneurship. We also learn about how she worked with an organization called Women on Wheels that helps to promote a woman’s right to drive in India.

Tell me about your internship at TaskUs.

View from TaskUs Austin office

View from TaskUs Austin office

TaskUs is a Global tech outsourcing company. They work with several firms to help maximize their customer experience and customer service offerings. I specifically worked on a solo project building a business case and recommending a corporate strategy to upscale their workers from entry-level workers to high skilled workers so they can become even better competitors in highly saturated marketplaces.

What sorts of projects were you involved in?

I performed research, shadowed employees, built a financial model, and got to research different types of training programs. Specifically, I conducted market research and utilized financial models, just like we do in Canfield BHP classes, and built a slide deck that I presented at the firm. Essentially, I was able to build a business case and presented it to the executive team which included the SVP of Client Services (my boss), CCO (Chief Client Officer), and CEO at TaskUs. It’s not normal for interns to be given this much responsibility on a solo project and the amount of trust that I was given felt unparalleled. This was a genuinely amazing opportunity and I’m grateful to have had the chance to do this.

I also had the opportunity to oversee the education program at TaskUs. This program provides a variety of educational programming to entry-level workers who may or may not have some college training. It serves to elevate their skill sets in any field they want and enables them to take on new roles within the firm. My job was to develop the education program and build a solid case that would help convince the board to preserve it.

Tell us about the challenges you faced and how you overcame them.

Working on a solo project like this is a lot of responsibility. Normally, you can build off of each other’s strengths in a Canfield BHP class. If you have questions or problems, you can go to each other. For me, it was increasingly challenging because I had questions. I had to do more research and dig in to find potential ways to come up with a solution before asking my boss. I wanted to show my boss that I had already tried doing everything I could to find an answer before coming to him. I wanted to prove that I was trying my hardest and taking the time and effort rather than coming off as an ignorant intern who just needed to be babysat. They gave me so much responsibility and I wanted to do my best with it. They gave me a lot of freedom because they trusted me. It was a wonderful experience and I loved it so much.

Any advice for current students?

Take advantage of every opportunity you get. I know it sounds cheesy but all I had to do with my boss was just ask him. He didn’t offer me the chance to sit in on a sales department visit. I just asked him. I said, “Hey, I got this email by accident. I think this potential client is going to visit. Is it possible that I can I sit in?” He thought it would be a cool idea and it worked out. This wasn’t something that was given to me. I had to pursue it and be eager to show up. I had to be willing to be there and ready to learn from a different department. As interns, you just expect to stay in your lane and do your work but if you reach outside your comfort zone or job description of your internship, you’ll find there can be a lot of opportunities available and you’ll have an even better experience.

How was your time in India? What piqued your interest in traveling there?

Brooke visiting the Taj Mahal

Brooke visiting the Taj Mahal

I did a section on Indian literature in my Plan II World Literature class freshman year and loved it. We read the Ramayana and it was amazing. It’s probably one of my favorite books that I’ve ever read. That was what initially interested me in the country and the culture. Then I saw that Plan II provides a scholarship grant every summer that offers $2500. To earn the scholarship, you propose a country and why you want to visit, then if you win, you get selected to go. I thought it was the perfect opportunity to explore a culture that I had very little knowledge about.

How do you apply for that scholarship and how does it work?

India Gate in Mumbai

India Gate in Mumbai

You propose the country and research topic then create a formal report. Then you have to perform independent research or conduct personal discovery of that topic. I proposed women’s education and entrepreneurship. While I was there, I arranged informal interviews with a handful of women in small businesses and got the opportunity to work with an organization called Women On Wheels. They work to promote women driving cars in India, which is still unpopular and to a certain extent, stigmatized in India. I had many conversations when I was with these drivers about what it was like to be part of an initiative like that. We also visited a restaurant that is run entirely by acid attack survivors, as part of that personal research, and I was able to speak to and learn from these women and their experiences as well.

What were your key takeaways from the trip?

Friends in Pushkar

Friends in Pushkar

It was overwhelming in the best way possible. It made me think about the happenstance of birth, and just how lucky I am to be at UT and be born in the US. Especially as a woman, having that amount of opportunity in my life is a gift. It’s not part of the norm in many parts of the world and some parts of India to have that level of opportunity. However, in India, there’s so much hope and progress in this area. There’s plenty of room for advancements but they’re definitely at the forefront of women’s rights. However, the privilege of being born in the US just can’t be emphasized enough.

If you’re interested in studying abroad in India, Brooke highly recommends learning about the culture in advance. Culture shock is a real thing that can happen if you don’t prepare for it. She explains that power outages are commonplace, the water quality is questionable throughout the country, and bottled water is king. Nonetheless, Brooke fell in love with the people and the culture of India. If you like the color pink, she highly recommends the city of Jaipur, which is filled with beautiful pink buildings accenting the city. If you prefer a touristy locale, visit the neighboring city called Udaipur which is known as the Venice of India. Oh, and did we mention the monkeys?