2017 Best & Brightest: Nicholas Whetstone, USC (Marshall)

Nicholas Whetstone

University of Southern California, Marshall School of Business

“I may not be the most interesting man in the world, but I’ve done his taxes.”

Fun fact about yourself: My Spotify username is the great FASB. I like to believe that both F. Scott Fitzgerald and Janet Yellen would appreciate it.

Hometown: Thousand Oaks, CA

High School: Westlake High School

Major: Accounting and Business Administration

Minor: Philosophy for the Professions

Favorite Business Courses: Accounting Research Methods, Investments, Accounting Information Systems

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles during College:

  • Secretary General – TrojanMUN
  • Corporate Director – Model United Nations of Southern California
  • Marshall Student Ambassadors
  • USC Renaissance Scholar
  • Global Leadership Program
  • USC Marshall Departmental Honors
  • Boeing Case Competition – Intercollegiate Winner
  • Teaching Assistant – Introductory Accounting
  • Dean’s List – All semesters

Where have you interned during your college career?

  • Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, Los Angeles, CA: Public Policy Intern
  • Essex Property Trust, Woodland Hills, CA: Operations Intern
  • The Walt Disney Company, Burbank, CA: Corporate Financial Planning and Analysis Intern
  • The Walt Disney Company, Glendale, CA: Accounting Rotation Intern

Describe your dream Job: My dream job is being the owner and head waiter at The South Seas Club, the jazz club from the movie The Rocketeer. This place had it all: style, class, a 30-piece band playing “Begin the Beguine,” and fancy ice sculptures. What a place to spend the evening!

Who is your favorite professor? Dr. Julie Suh of the Leventhal School of Accounting was by far the most influential person in my college career search. She introduced me to the field of empirical research in accounting and the entire economic consulting industry.

Which executive or entrepreneur do you most admire? Robert Iger of the Walt Disney Company. He has a clear vision for his organization and a unique ability to consistently execute successful mergers.

What did you enjoy most about majoring in a business-related field?  The best part about being an Accounting and Business major was being able to learn something in the classroom and then immediately apply it during my internships. Additionally, the wide scope of subject matter covered in my undergraduate business education made it easier to determine which specialties within the broad field of business I found most interesting.

What is the biggest lesson you gained from studying business? The best way to distinguish yourself is by your ability to improve the lives of others.

Where would you like to work after graduation? I will be working at Analysis Group in Los Angeles as a Research Analyst.

What are your long-term professional goals? While at Analysis Group, I hope to develop my research interests and determine what types of empirical questions I find most compelling. I eventually plan to pursue an advanced degree, most likely an MBA or PhD. After graduate school, I hope to find a career which allows me to translate academically-driven analysis into real world economic outcomes.

What advice would you give to a student looking to major in a business-related field?

Your business education will be very practical, and you will be able to quickly translate it into a career. That said, don’t be hesitant to engage with more abstract subject matter as it will make you a more well-rounded thinker.

“I knew I wanted to major in business when…I took my first accounting class. It was challenging at first, but then all of the sudden it made sense. Debits on the left were paired in harmony with credits on the right in eternal adherence to accounting’s fundamental equation.”

“If I didn’t major in business, I would be…a Philosophy major with minors in History and Statistics.”

“Before I entered business school, I wish I had known…professionalism does not have to come at the expense of personality.” 

Which academic, extracurricular or personal achievement are you most proud of? Managing TrojanMUN 2017 was one of my proudest accomplishments of college. TrojanMUN is USC’s annual collegiate Model United Nations conference, and it is consistently ranked among the best fall conferences on the west coast. This year-long process involved forming a 501 c(3) corporation and getting it recognized by the state of California and the IRS. After months of marketing and detailed planning, my team of about 50 students and I hosted 313 college students from schools around the United States. Our conference was well reviewed by attendees, and we came in significantly under budget. I am very proud of what my team accomplished, and I am thankful to everyone who contributed their time and talent to make TrojanMUN 2017 a resounding success.

What animal would you choose to represent your professional brand? I would choose the Pembroke Welsh Corgi as my brand ambassador because the corgi can do anything it sets its mind to.

Who would you most want to thank for your success? I would like to thank my mother for supporting my education, my professors for taking a genuine interest in my academic success, and the many USC donors whose scholarship contributions helped me attend this amazing university.

What would you like your business school peers to say about you after you graduate from this program? “Nick was dedicated to his studies and wanted others to be as excited about the subject matter as he was.”

Favorite book: The Fundamentals of Ethics by Russ Shafer-Landau

Favorite movie: Star Wars (in order of preference: V, IV, VII, VI, R1, II, III, I)

Favorite musical performer: Frank Sinatra

Favorite vacation spot: Geneva, Switzerland

What are your hobbies? Going to jazz performances and USC sporting events

What made Nicholas such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2017?

“As a professor (and multiple dog mom), I try not to have favorites but it’s hard not to with Nick. He is one of those students who remind me every day why I have the best job in the world – he is one of the brightest, most motivated, and responsible students I have ever taught, and I am sad (and proud) that he will be leaving the nest and moving on to litigation consulting. As a student in my Honors class, many times I forgot that I was chatting about research with an undergraduate student, and not a fellow Ph.D. As my TA this semester, he goes over and beyond what I ask him to do, and always looks for ways to make my life easier. For example, I had a stack of papers I had put aside to grade later, and Nick went ahead and graded them for me. I’ve given him a standing offer to come back and be my TA forever if the corporate world ends up being unfulfilling, but I have a feeling he will one day come back as a colleague instead.”

Julie W. Suh, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Clinical Accounting
USC Leventhal School of Accounting



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