2018 Best & Brightest: Bryan Simon, Penn State (Smeal)

Bryan Simon

Penn State University (Smeal)

The Pennsylvania State University, Schreyers Honors College, and Smeal College of Business

I have the fiery soul of a Latino but also an accounting and finance student who loves to smile and nap.”

Hometown: Willemstad, Curaçao

High School: Radulphus College

Major: Double Major in Accounting and Finance

Minor: Legal Environment of Business (BLaw)

Favorite Business Courses:

  • Advanced Financial Modeling (Fin 415)
  • Employment Law (Blaw 446)

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles During College:

  • University Park Student Fee Board (UPSFB) Committee member
  • University Park Allocation Committee (UPAC) leadership team member
  • Beta Alpha Psi (BAP) Beta Theta Chapter, Treasurer and Technology Chair
  • Penn State Volunteer Income Tax Assistant (VITA) Program Volunteer
  • Part of Beta Gamma Sigma (BGS) honors society
  • I am a Teacher’s Assistant/Grading Assistant for both the Accounting Department and the Finance Department. I have assisted up to four teachers concurrently in courses such as Intermediate Financial Accounting 1 (Acctg 471), Intermediate Financial Accounting 2 (Acctg 472), Financial Statement Analysis (Acctg 481), Oil & Gas accounting (Acctg 497b), and Advanced Financial Modeling (Fin 415).
  • Student Leadership Scholarship Recipient
  • Eric A. and Josephine S. Walker Award Recipient
  • President’s Freshman Award Recipient
  • President Sparks Award Recipient
  • Evan Pugh Scholar Award Recipient
  • Flaherty Trustee Scholarship Recipient

Where have you interned during your college career?

Ernst & Young LLP (EY), Financial Services Launch Intern, Philadelphia, PA, Summer 2015

Ernst & Young LLP (EY), Financial Services Launch Intern, Philadelphia, PA, Summer 2016

Ernst & Young LLP (EY), Financial Services Assurance Intern, Philadelphia, PA, Summer 2017

Where will you be working after graduation? I am glad to be joining EY full time starting in the fall of 2018 in their Financial Services Assurance practice specializing in Wealth & Asset Management and Banking & Capital Markets clients.

Who is your favorite professor? There have been five professors that I have kept regular contact with after no longer being a student of theirs. These five include Professor Fiona Greaves, Professor Lou Gattis, Professor Mallory Meehan, Professor Rick Laux, and Professor Sam Bonsall. In all of these cases I go to their office in and out of office hours to talk about anything and everything. I now realize that talking to these professors outside of a classroom setting has been as integral to my growth as being in the classroom. I am thankful to them for teaching me a lot.

What did you enjoy most about your business school? There are countless things that I am grateful to my school for that allowed me to enjoy my college career a lot. One being the friends I have made while attending here, another was being able to explore my love for teaching and the opportunities to be a Teacher’s Assistant and teach students.

What is the biggest lesson you gained from studying business? The most important lesson I learned from the business school is that integrity, communication, and friends are essential for success.

What advice would you give to a student looking to major in a business-related field? Welcome to the world of opportunity where your only limitation is yourself; set your goals and seek the path to achieving those goals. Welcome to a place where you can find opportunities to grow as a person and impact the community in various ways. Welcome to a place where integrity, respect, and friendships are valued, where we learn that the right path is not necessarily the easiest path to take.

If I didn’t major in business, I would be majoring in or studying…Biology to become a doctor because I enjoy being able to teach and help people.”

What has surprised you most about majoring in business? The push at Smeal to be full of integrity was the most surprising aspect of majoring in business at Penn State. Knowing that, everyone is committed to making sure we students make the right decisions for us and our peers. The second most surprising thing was the vast amounts of opportunities both professionally and socially offered at Smeal.

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? My father is the person who has influenced me most in my life. My father is an economist by trade and a commercial banker by profession. He became my role model at a young age and he still is today. Many of the decisions I make are influenced by what he would do or advice he has given me. In high school, I was able to take science courses and found out that the only science class I liked was math, which ruled out all science and engineering majors. I was then introduced to accounting while in high school and since then I have been interested in pursuing that material further.

Which academic, extracurricular or personal achievement are you most proud of? There are two extracurricular activities that I am proud of, one is being part of the University Park Student Fee Board (UPSFB) and the other is being part of the University Park Allocation Committee (UPAC). UPSFB is a completely student-run board comprised of 12 students who are tasked with setting and spending the Student Initiated Fee (a budget of more than $20,000,000) for the university. The Student Initiated Fee supports student-centered activities, services, facilities, and recreation to improve student life. UPAC is also a completely student-run organization of about 35 students that is tasked with assisting all recognized Penn State student organizations through funding. UPAC does this by effectively allocating a portion of the Student Initiated Fee collections (a portion of about $3,800,000) towards events, travel experiences, equipment, and any other items requested by University Park affiliated student organizations or individuals that will ultimately enhance student life, add value to the out of class experience, and improve the educational climate at the University Park campus.

If you were a dean for a day, what one thing would you change about the business school? I would allow more programs for double majors within the college of business, and I would add more student space for hanging out, studying, and a printing lab so that no one has to wait in line to print again.

Which classmate do you most admire? Throughout my college career, there have been many classmates that I have seen admiring qualities in. For example, I admire Kyleigh Goral for her dedication and love for what she does; Zain Jaffery for always seeming to be a relaxed, happy, and helpful person; and Aly Mohamed for always being true to who he is.

Who would you most want to thank for your success? I would thank my father for his advice when I ask for it; my mother for her unconditional support; my friends for always picking me up when I am down and keeping my head on my shoulders; and three specific professors who have taken an interest in me and supported me when I have asked them to.

What would your theme song be? “Happy” –Pharrell Williams

What are the top two items on your bucket list?

  • Go to all 7 continents (3 down, 4 to go)
  • Go skydiving (going to be crossed off soon)

Favorite book: Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card

Favorite movie: White Chicks

Favorite vacation spot: Aruba or Curaçao

What are your hobbies? Spending time with my friends, traveling, watching TV, reading, napping, and baking.

What made Bryan such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2018?

“Bryan has been both a student in my Accounting 404 Managerial Accounting course in the Integrated Masters of Accounting (“MAcc”) Program during the Fall 2015 semester and more recently a teaching assistant for both my Accounting 471 and 471 Intermediate Accounting I & II courses. Bryan is an outstanding student and TA, and was a pleasure to have in the classroom. He actively participated in class discussions, had no problem understanding the complex accounting concepts in the course and was a leader in the course. He became accomplished at helping other students understand complex accounting concepts, but even more so developed his natural leadership skills in the academic environment during his time in Penn State’s MAcc Program. He was so adept at helping others, it was natural for me to select him to be a TA this past year. He has done an outstanding job. Of all of Bryan’s positive attributes, the one that stands out most to me is his work ethic and positive energy. Bryan leads by example in and out of the classroom, and he has always been someone I could count on to help develop new initiatives in the MAcc Program. I would highly recommend Bryan for this prestigious academic recognition award.”

Ed Babcock
Instructor of Accounting
Director of Integrated Masters of Accounting (MAcc) Program