Hi Giselle, thank you for taking the time to chat with us. I see you are part of the Class of 2021 and had enrolled in our accelerated BS/MBA program? What led to that decision and how has it gone for you?
When I was in high school, my dream was to become an FBI agent. When searching their portal, I found that Criminal Justice was not a degree they accepted for consideration of employment. I then decided to major in Accounting, which interested me a lot. In my first year of undergrad, I took on additional courses, including in the summer. I learned that RSBC had an accelerated degree path to earn both my BS and MBA in five years. Against some advice, I wanted to challenge myself by taking seven to eight courses per semester for my first two years. In doing so, I was able to maintain a strong GPA while completing my Bachelor’s in Accounting in just three years – and my MBA in year four. I am a firm believer of not limiting yourself and your abilities. If you put in the time and work hard to reach your goals, you will be able to reap the benefits in the future.
Wow, that is a great accomplishment to successfully complete your undergrad in just three years. What has been your motivation to push forward?
I am a first generation Dominican-American college graduate. I wanted my mother to know that her hard work and decision to leave her country for a better future never went unnoticed. I also wanted to make my father proud and fulfill his wishes of seeing me through college, which he made my mother promise him before his passing. To add, if it weren’t for my stepfather helping me apply to different universities and mentoring me, I do not think I could have made it this far.
Growing up, it was not often that I saw successful individuals of my ethnic background – making my dreams feel unreachable. With this in mind, I made it a point to prevail, to inspire a new generation. Regardless of your ethnic background, financial position, or immigration status, anything is possible. If I can serve as a role model to at least one person, I will feel accomplished.
I’m sure they are extremely proud of you – especially considering your volunteer work! Can you tell me more about that?
Volunteering locally in the Cathedral Kitchen was an eye opener for me. You do not know how easy you have it until you see others struggling to acquire things you take for granted, such as a basic meal. I was oblivious to the large amounts of people who rely on this organization to eat each day.
Volunteers of America was a project I had in class. We had to brainstorm ways to raise money for our organization. My team decided to organize a bake sale in the Campus Center. It was a success! We were able to raise enough funds to assist multiple women with their basic hygienic needs.
Love to hear that both our classes and location have opened volunteer doors for you. Between volunteering and a vigorous class schedule, I assume it was difficult to get too involved on campus?
This is true. Due to my workload, I lagged in on-campus involvement. I was however able to find time to join Beta Alpha Psi and scheduled my classes to have three to four hours open per day. In this time, I would work in the RSBC Academic Advising office (ASO), mainly to gain experience with Microsoft Office and to understand the best ways to succeed in a professional environment. Working at ASO opened my eyes to all of the support systems available at Rutgers–Camden. To add, Beta Alpha Psi held meetings in the afternoon, which worked well for me. I tried the best I could to attend any events they were holding, or to donate whenever possible. I believe the key to my success was remaining organized.
Knowing how to balance school, work, and other activities is so important to students’ success. What work have you done outside of campus?
While working on my undergrad, I worked for the Credit Union near campus as a teller. At the Rutgers–Camden Career Fair, I obtained an internship with Andersen Tax for the summer of 2020. The following year, my scholarship provider asked if I would like to apply for an internship at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC). While I thought it may be a longshot, I was extended an offer the same day as my interview. During this internship, I worked my hardest and received a full time offer for Fall 2022. Currently, I am a Staff Accountant at NJM Insurance, which is allowing me to build experience and resume while completing my MBA.
That’s great to hear you’ve had multiple opportunities to garner experience before graduating, and congratulations on accepting PwC’s job offer! When you are not preparing for your career, what do you like to do in your free time?
When I am not busy with school or work, I love to cook and bake. I love food, and the happiness that comes behind consuming such great flavors. I like to share my love for food with my family and friends. The level of satisfaction you get when people are enjoying the food you made is simply heartwarming!
That sounds like fun! Last question, if you were given the opportunity to stand in front of the current Senior class of Pennsauken high school, what advice would you give them?
As a minority, I grew the mindset that college was for people who had economic stability or were of a higher class. There came a time in high school where I did not think that college was for me. I truly thought that after high school I would be working in a factory or a minimum waged job with no prospects of growth. Little did I know that there are so many opportunities out there for anyone who wants to work hard. Earn good grades in high school, set goals for yourself, and seek opportunity. Write down your short and long-term goals. Any time you contemplate quitting, look at these goals to remind yourself that quitting is not an option. There is nothing more satisfying than being handed a diploma with your name on it – knowing that your dedication and ambition has finally paid off.