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Rutgers School of Business – Camden

Dominic Wilson-Gontowski

1. Hi Dominic. So, you came here from Cherokee high school. What were some deciding factors when choosing Rutgers School of Business – Camden?
I toured Rutgers – Camden during my senior year of high school. There was a point during the tour that Professor Giraud put on a presentation in the Bloomberg computer lab. Professor Giraud showed us the wealth of information that would be available to me as a student through the Bloomberg system. He also explained that I had the ability to get certified to use the system, and add that certification to my resume.

After the presentation, I was able to speak with Professor Giraud. He told me that this was one of the largest labs in the tri-state area. This short interaction allowed me to get a taste of the small school environment. While I was touring larger universities I was not able to get this sort of 1 on 1 experience with their professors.

I was also attracted to the fact that Rutgers – Camden is an accredited college. This would be useful to me when applying to graduate schools. It is also a requirement for certain states when you apply to sit for the CPA exam.

2. Well we’re glad you’re here, and double majoring too! What made you want to pick up Accounting as a second major?
I came into Rutgers – Camden strictly wanting to major in Finance with no intentions of majoring or minoring in any other subjects. After taking some upper level finance courses I found myself just going through the motions of the class. I was doing well in the classes, and truly saw the value in the things I was learning. However, I learned that I lacked the passion to make finance my career during my internship at Morgan Stanley.

Every business major at Rutgers is required to take financial and management accounting. I quickly learned that the two majors went hand in hand. I knew that double majoring in accounting and finance would expand the opportunities I could have upon graduation. I could work almost anywhere within the business department of any corporation.

3. One of the great things of having so many internship opportunities is discovering not only what you love, but also what may not be the path for you. Have you had any other corporate experiences since then?
Internships are great. I think that everyone if given the opportunity paid or unpaid should do at least one internship. I’ve been lucky enough to have gone through two internship programs while here at Rutgers. The first internship was at Morgan Stanley after my first two semesters. I was able to get first-hand experience in the day to day life of a financial advisor. I was able to learn how the group ran their practice, and even sit in on a few meetings with their clients.

The second internship I did was after my third and fourth semesters here. I interned at United States Cold Storage (USCS) in their Accounting department.

While at USCS I was able to do internal journal entries, assist in preparing the company’s tax returns, and went through two state audits. I personally believe I learned just as much in those three short months, as I did in four semesters of college. I also learned that accounting was the career path for me.

Going into my final two semesters at Rutgers I was able to secure a full-time position at Bowman & company as a governmental auditor. I was able to secure this position through a connection I made at United States Cold Storage. If it wasn’t for my experience and supervisor (also a Rutgers – Camden graduate), I wouldn’t be where I am now.

4. That’s fantastic that our network has already paid dividends. Have you held any roles during your time on-campus?
I did my best to get involved as much as I could here. I joined the Student Finance Association, Rutgers Road to Wall Street, the Business Leadership Development Program, Rutgers Ambassadors, and Tau Epsilon Phi Fraternity. I became a member of Beta Alpha Psi honor society too. I temporarily held the Treasurer position for the organization. This coming April I will be inducted into the Athenaeum honors society.

Every organization has in some shape or form contributed to my success as a student. I was able to take on an officer position in Road to Wall Street and visit the New York Stock Exchange and Bloomberg headquarters. I was also able to build my networking skills through the Student Finance Association and Business Leadership Development Program. The Leadership program introduced me to John Baldino who came in to our seminar Spring 2019. John has been a mentor to me since he made the visit.

5. Certainly sounds like you’ve taken full advantage of your time here. Has there been any experiences you were not necessarily expecting when you first chose RUC?
When I started my education here, I was not expecting to get the chance to study abroad. I was able to be one of the first students to take a Learning Abroad in Portugal. The class was “Doing Business in Portugal”. Throughout the semester we learned about companies in Portugal, and then over winter break we went to go visit those companies.

It was completely unexpected, and turned out to be a great experience. I was able to not only learn about an unfamiliar culture, but also able to experience the culture first hand.

6. Looking back over the past three years, is there a favorite class of yours that you believe has best prepared you for your career?
Wow. This question is a hard one to answer, so many stand out to me. The classes that I have enjoyed the most during my short time here at Rutgers are the ones the pushed me the most. Professor Craig Knox, my first semester. He really improved me as a writer. This isn’t something you necessarily think is important as a business major, but it’s crucial. We are constantly communicating via email. We need to be able to communicate just as well as if the conversation was face to face.

Dr. Ivo Jansen’s Intermediate Accounting II class and Professor Joseph Honer’s Advanced Accounting class are the two most difficult classes I have taken. However, it’s the professors that make these classes standout. The professors do everything in their power to be available to the students. They purposefully position the class so that it prepares you for what is ahead. For many of us accounting majors that’s the CPA.

7. So, as you quickly approach Commencement, you’ve been able to complete two majors, a minor, and enough credits to sit for your CPA exam in just three years. Pretty impressive. What are your plans post-graduation?
After graduation, education wise, I’m going to continue studying for the CPA. I have the intentions of passing all four parts before my 22nd birthday in November. I would like to start a Masters in Management Info Systems during the fall of 2022. I have contemplated law school, but I don’t see that happening anytime soon.

Career wise, I will continue to work at Bowman & Company as a governmental auditor. However, I recently just accepted an offer to move up into Big Four accounting at PwC. When I feel like the time is right I will make a transition into the private sector. This summer I plan on getting involved with rental properties. I have met a few individuals that have been successful in rentals, and they are going to bring me into that industry.

8. Congratulations! That’s great that you’ve been able to begin your career before even completing your undergrad. What’s one piece of advice that you would give the current Cherokee Senior class?
I’d give them a quote, “Until you become completely obsessed with your mission, no one will take you seriously. Until the world understands that you’re not going away—that you are 100 percent committed and have complete and utter conviction and will persist in pursuing your project—you will not get the attention you need and the support you want.” – Grant Cardone

Time is a currency; you are given a limited amount of time, do not waste it.

Thank you for speaking with us Dominic!

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