Accounting Undergraduate Student Lands Pricewaterhousecoopers Job

An undergraduate accounting program that offers real-world experience led Senior Kimberly Paschal, '18, to an offer for the role of Assurance Associate at PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Kimberly PaschalPaschal credits her experience in the undergraduate accounting program, her love of Saint Mary's College, and an internship at the company for her success.

“PricewaterhouseCoopers put me in their Learning and Development Department as a Start Intern, then I was offered another internship part of their Advance program as an Assurance Intern. After that, I was offered the full-time job as an Assurance Associate.” The company asked her to come back at the end of the internship, giving her another offer as a client service internship worker in the Assurance department, where she got to work with clients and get real-world experience.

“I worked on a project where it was at the quarterly earnings,” she said. “And that became public information. It was exciting.” She will start her new role at PricewaterhouseCoopers after taking her CPA exam next summer.

Accounting wasn’t love at first sight for Paschal. “I remember when I first went in to start the internship. I had just finished Intermediate Accounting. “I kind of didn’t like that class. But then I saw it in real life—which is very different from the classroom. This is why they always recommend we get internships, because it shows you what you’ll be doing on a daily basis. You get to learn a lot,” said Paschal.

A day in the life of being an intern included working on controls testing during the quarterly reporting time. She read through these and helped to put together reports to send to clients. “One of them I did was called a tie-out. You have all of the information that PricewaterhouseCoopers, or the auditor, would have, as well as the information the client has, and you make sure the numbers tie out. If the numbers don’t match, we ask why,” said Paschal.

“The one I worked on went public, so that was really cool to see,” said Paschal. “But there were some that didn't match. I was like, ‘But I did that calculation!’ I had to go back to find the error and fix it. I had so many questions for my team.” The project Paschal worked on as an intern is normally a project given to employees with the role she will have next year.

Paschal grew up in nearby Tracy, California, located in the central valley. The youngest of two, her brother went to Santa Clara University, as did everyone in her family. When her mom first took her on a tour of the College, she said, “Mom, I want to be a Bronco, I don’t want to go there.” Her mother, her brother and her two aunts had graduated from Santa Clara. Her parents had even married there. “My brother and I both did our mission projects on the Santa Clara mission. It was the family school,” she said.

But when she saw the Saint Mary’s campus, she loved it. She applied and came for an overnight stay, deciding on the College after the overnight program in March of her senior year in high school. “Once I came to Saint Mary's and got involved, it was the best thing that could ever happen for me,” said Paschal who now works on campus as a Resident Advisor in her final year at the College.

“Coming in, I was an accounting major. Intermediate accounting almost broke me, but I stood strong and stayed with it. I like to say intermediate accounting is like the organic chemistry of accounting. It's pretty hard,” said Paschal.

Growing up, Paschal participated in every sport she could get her hands on. “I played a ton of sports. I did gymnastics first, but I was too tall so I had to stop. I tried basketball, volleyball, softball, soccer, pretty much everything,” said Paschal.

“By the time that I stopped gymnastics I was probably like the height of Simone Biles, but I was only 10,” laughed Paschal. “I didn’t like the flipping part, which is everything.”

In high school, she did volleyball, basketball, and softball. Softball was a favorite from the age of four, but when Paschal had to decide between being scouted by colleges or focusing on academics and other interests, she chose the latter. Paschal decided by high school that she didn’t want to compete in any sport. “I felt like I was losing the innocence of the sport due to the competitive nature, so I stopped playing competitively and focused on finishing high school. She still plays on intramural leagues at Saint Mary’s College.

When she started as a freshman, Paschal was the recipient of SEBA’s Wilder Scholarship Award, which supports part of her tuition through her entire four years of schooling. As part of the scholarship, she serves on the SEBA Dean’s Undergraduate Student Advisory Board.

“My first year, I was a board member, still getting the lay of the land. Sophomore and junior year, I was co-secretary, which essentially entailed doing all the meeting notes and emailing.” This year, she stepped down from co-secretary so she could be involved with other projects.

Working also as a Resident Advisor on campus, Paschal enjoys doing the programming for events in her hall. “We do a crepe night in January, during Jan. term. We go to the Exploratorium. I've done waffle nights and movie nights,” she said. SMC Admissions Ambassador is another title she has held since her freshman year. The role includes being a tour ambassador for visiting student groups to campus.