Degrees: B.S. majoring in finance and accounting; M.S. in professional accounting
Hometown: Grew up in Topsfield, Massachusetts, currently resides in New York City
Exposure can play a key role in college and career decisions. This was the case for Danielle Matfess ’13, ’14 M.S., an alumna of the Whitman School and tax senior accountant at EY, who as a child never thought she would go to college for business or end up in the accounting field. Growing up, Matfess had dreams of becoming a teacher or lawyer. However, she set her sights on learning business after being inspired by her father who shared his love of business with her. With a new, meaningful direction and an unquenchable desire to learn, Matfess started looking for business schools. This search inevitably led her to Syracuse University’s Whitman School.
Matfess visited Syracuse University on a cold day but, according to her, the energy on campus was warm and inviting.
“That energy and the feeling I got when I stepped on campus made me know that Syracuse University was the right place for me,” explained Matfess. “I have never doubted or regretted my decision since.”
According to Matfess, Syracuse University and the Whitman School also made exploring her interests easy. Matfess was unsure of which area of business she wanted to study. Whitman School undergraduate students do not declare their majors until their sophomore year. The first year of study is dedicated to exposing students to areas of business such as accounting, finance, entrepreneurship, marketing and more in introductory classes.
“I settled on accounting after taking an introductory accounting course,” said Matfess. “That was a course that people either loved or hated and I kind of loved it. I’ve always been a numbers person and accounting made sense to me.”
To round out her education, Matfess also majored in finance and stayed with the Whitman School after graduation to earn a master’s degree in accounting. As a student, Matfess grew her knowledge of accounting and finance by learning from the Whitman School’s faculty, spending hours studying with her peers in team rooms, taking advantage experiential learning opportunities and meeting various industry professionals through classes and organizations. According to Matfess, an encounter with EY recruiters during one of these experiences led her to eventually apply for an internship with the company. After the internship she accepted a full-time offer at EY, where she continues to utilizes her Whitman School education on a daily basis.
“The education I got at Whitman gave me a really great foundation of knowledge and understanding of accounting and finance and even all the other stuff— marketing, supply chain and everything I didn’t major in,” said Matfess. “All of the details come up in surprising ways.”
While no longer on campus, Matfess has stayed involved with the Whitman School and Syracuse University. She regularly makes financial gifts to her alma mater and has been a member of Syracuse University’s Alumni Association board of directors since she was a student.
“It has been an incredible opportunity to act as sort of an ambassador for the University and be involved in some really cool alumni initiatives,” said Matfess. “Beyond giving back my time, I always donate to the scholarship fund and other places around the University that impacted my college experiences, such as the Whitman School and organization around campus.”
With her Whitman School education and the support of her fellow Orange alumni and alma mater, Matfess is confident that her accounting career journey will continue to be a success and that her future is bright.