Rutgers Grad Year: 2021
High School: Julliard Academy; Lagos, Nigeria
1. Onyii, we have so much to cover from your activities in the community to your work towards the job market, but let’s start from the beginning. You grew up and went to high school in Nigeria before deciding to attend Rutgers – Camden. What were some of your deciding factors when you compared RUC vs some of your other options?
I was admitted into many universities in the United States, but it was important to me to go to a place where I would have one on one student interaction with professors. I researched many of the universities that offered me admission, and Rutgers seemed like a great fit. Also, Rutgers–Camden has an amazing business school and I wanted to be a part of it. I can testify that my inkling was right as I have not been disappointed since I entered Rutgers – Camden.
2. Well we’re glad to have you in our Raptor family! Transitioning not just from high school to college, but from an entire different continent to the United States must be difficult. What was that process like for you?
I have family here in the United States and had been to the US many times before for vacations with family. So, it wasn’t too hard trying to adapt. However, there were support systems in place that also made me feel at home here in Camden. Particularly, the International Students Office was a great help. They guided me through orientation, learning places around campus for leisure, and other systems at school that would help me succeed.
3. It seems like one way you coped with a new environment was to submerge yourself in it. What were some of the groups you initially joined?
Indeed. I joined multiple groups, which really helped my total integration and adaptation. I joined the African Students Association where I became the treasurer and a member of the dance ensemble. I also joined the National Association of Black Accountants (NABA). As an accountant to be, I wanted to explore opportunities and network with professionals in the industry. I enjoy being a part of organizations here on campus because they don’t only give you a sense of belonging, but also help one in improve her/his overall people and collaborative skills.
4. International students truly impact the authenticity of our diverse campus and it sounds like your dance background was a great addition! Aside from having your own fun, I’m aware that you’ve completed 300 hours of community service during your time here. That’s pretty impressive. What was one of your initiatives?
Yes, I have completed 300 hours of community service as a Civic Scholar. I am passionate about giving back to my community. Through the Civic Scholars Program, I became an Education Ambassador at the Rutgers IGNITE After-school program, and later transitioned to office staff at the office of Civic Engagement. In the after-school program, we incorporate STEM into activities and assist students with homework. We strive to help them develop into the outstanding leaders they are meant to be.
5. RUC students are known for their community service and it sounds like you blew that out of the water. So turning to your major, what made you choose Accounting?
Right from my childhood, I have always loved numbers – thanks to my dad. He encouraged me to further my analytical skills and accounting just seemed like the right path for me. Coming from Nigeria, I was aware of some troubles in the financial sector and Government accounting (recording, accounting & reporting), and my desire to one day help the country solve her issues with accounting and transparency further pushed me to study accounting.
6. We have some terrific partnerships in the Accounting industry. Have you been able to take advantage of any of those relationships?
Yes, I had the amazing opportunity to intern at KPMG last summer, and currently I am a Tax intern at Baker Tilly. I am also an upcoming PwC intern. To me, it is important to make connections with various individuals in the Accounting industry and get some form of experience relevant to my field of study. With these internships, I believe my path in the accounting industry and journey to become a CPA has become more clear.
7. Sounds like you’re building a great resume! What has surprised you the most about Rutgers – Camden from the time you arrived?
I would say the opportunities here. From Day 1, I have been pushed and turned in every way which always leads me to a place where I am able to improve myself. From professors, to the Academic Advising and Learning Experience centers, everyone wants you to succeed. All I can say is that I am blessed and overwhelmed by the generosity here at Rutgers–Camden
8. If you were standing in front of a group of international prospects, what piece of advice would you give them?
I would say – be yourself and never be afraid to take on challenges. You should always believe in yourself because at the end of the day you are your biggest advocate. I would remind them that not everything is easy, and it is at those difficult times that you have to remember to stand tall and not back down. Remember also to have fun! College is all about having new experiences. Like my mom always says, “Work hard, Play hard!”.