Whitman Voices


Alumni of the Week: Ashley Thombs ’14

Alumni of the Week: Ashley Thombs ’14

thombs_ashley_5x7As an undergraduate, I spent two summers as a Financial Management Program (FMP) intern for General Electric’s corporate headquarters, a position I obtained through participating in the Whitman Career Center’s “Wall Street Goes Orange” program. In the summer of 2014, I interned for KPMG in the Real Estate Tax department which led to a full-time offer and my current position today.

I did not always know that I wanted to pursue accounting. I was undecided when I first started my freshman year at Whitman, and I explored my interests while I had to take the Whitman required courses. I took the first two required accounting courses, ACC 151 and ACC 252, and decided to continue on with the upper level accounting major courses and see where it took me. I was not a math whiz—I was in regular math classes in high school, not AP Calculus, but what attracted me to the major was the notion that accounting was a challenge. I had to push myself a little harder than other students to whom accounting maybe came more naturally.

I encourage all current Whitman, students when choosing a major, to not just stick with something that comes very easily to them—college is a time to figure out your likes and dislikes, and the only way to figure that out is to test drive courses through the good old process of elimination. I remember as a sophomore I took the Retail Management Introductory course (RMT 301) because I wanted to see if I had an interest in Retail Management. It is important to remember that testing out different courses never prove to be a waste—as the management courses that don’t end up becoming your major will serve as a management elective on your Whitman checklist.

I credit my many faculty mentors and the Whitman Career Center (shoutout to Kara Primrose!) for helping me secure the internship positions I held every summer as a Whitman student. I attended countless career informational sessions, networking nights and speaker panels as a young undergraduate aspiring to break into the finance and accounting industry. As a result, I have had the opportunity to work for phenomenal companies, such as General Electric, PepsiCo and, ultimately, KPMG. I worked in the Whitman Career Center as graduate student career assistant, and I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to utilize the center. At the center, I performed resume reviews, cover letter editing and mock interviews with students. All of the events that the center runs are for your benefit and you never know who you will meet when you attend. Take advantage of what they have to offer.

I also encourage current students to apply to whatever might interest them on OrangeLink—whether it be for internships or full-time positions. My first internship at General Electric was the summer after my sophomore year. The internship posting specifically asked for rising seniors to apply, but, in my mind, you can always be the exception to the rule. In the end, that proved to be true as I received the internship offer. Do not let the fear of rejection hold you back and take you away from putting yourself out there.

I am so fortunate for the opportunities I have been given through Whitman; the internships and work experiences have been an excellent supplement to my education as they have provided me with invaluable hands-on experience. My five years at Whitman went by so quickly and I miss it every single day—but always remember Whitman stays with you wherever your future takes you.

Ashley Thombs
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