“A Silicon Valley girl finding her way in a Wall Street world.”
Fun fact about yourself: I am proficient in Farsi.
Hometown: Palo Alto, California
High School: Palo Alto High School
Favorite Business Course: Accounting Research Seminar: Sustainability
Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles During College:
- Phi Kappa Phi (2017 – Present)
- William E. Boyle Society (2016 – Present)
- O’Shea Foundation Scholarship (2015 – Present)
- Dean’s List (2015 – Present)
- Matteo Ricci Seminar (2015 – 2016)
- Woolworth Award (2015)
- Manresa Scholars Program (2014 – 2015)
Community Work/Leadership Roles:
- Freshman Academic Advisor – (2017 – Present)
- SASB Symposium – Student Ambassador (2017)
- Women in Business Retreat – Event Coordinator (2016 – Present)
- Undergraduate Curriculum Committee – Student Representative (2016)
- Gabelli School of Business – Student Ambassador (2015 – Present)
- New Student Orientation – Orientation Captain, Orientation Leader (2015 – Present)
- Gabelli Book Club – Participant (2015 – Present)
- Fordham Dance Marathon – Fundraising Chair (2015 – 2016)
- Residence Halls Association – Vice President, Programmer (2014 – 2016)
- Middle School Tutor – Our Lady of Mount Carmel School (2014-2015)
Where have you interned during your college career?
- Tesla Motors (Palo Alto, CA) – Recruiting Intern
- Tesla Motors (Palo Alto, CA) – Data Analytics Intern
- Lightspeed Venture Partners (Menlo Park, CA) – Finance and Accounting Intern
- DWNLD (now called Verst) (New York, NY) – Business Operations Intern
- Fordham Gabelli School of Business (New York, NY) – Communications Intern
- Blackstone Group (New York, NY) – Corporate Finance Summer Analyst
- KPMG (New York, NY) – Incoming Tax Intern (Summer 2018)
Where will you be working after graduation? After graduating in May 2018, I will first complete a summer internship at KPMG in New York City in its tax practice. I was selected by KPMG to attend the University of Mississippi from August 2018 through August 2019 to earn a Masters in Taxation and Data Analytics through KPMG’s Masters in Accounting and Data Analytics Program. This is a fully-funded Masters program, which includes an internship in the winter semester. I will join KPMG full-time in September 2019 in the New York City tax practice.
What did you enjoy most about your business school? It was a combination of Fordham’s location and community that was most beneficial for me as a student. Fordham’s location in New York City afforded me unparalleled access to resources and opportunities. I quite literally had the (business) world at my fingertips; I visited companies of varying size and industry, networked with alumni across various fields and learned from extraordinary professors and guest speakers as I explored what each industry and business function had to offer. If it were not for Fordham’s rich network of alumni and professionals throughout New York City, I would not have been able to have as many opportunities to interact. Every time I reached out to a Fordham alumnus with a question or for coffee they responded enthusiastically, willing to not only offer me their expertise, but to refer me to someone else who knew more. I cannot be grateful enough for these connections and resources, and am eager to offer the same enthusiasm and support as an alumna.
What is the biggest lesson you gained from studying business? Sustainable business models are incredibly cost-effective. Small changes in the way a company operates will have a tangible impact on its bottom line, and on the environment. There are a handful or organizations leading the way and setting great precedent for how organizations can and should be run. The resources we collect from the environment are limited, and the companies that are adopting better ways to either utilize the resources they already have or use alternatives will end up on top.
What advice would you give to a student looking to major in a business-related field? Do not be afraid to ask questions, and start asking them early. I sound like a stereotypical business student, but it is truly never too early to start networking. Message people on LinkedIn, take people out to coffee, and explore the variety of functions and industries the business world has to offer. I have found that, for the most part, people are more than willing to share their stories with you. It took me over two years, a few internships, and countless informational interviews to decide to major in accounting, but I am both sure of and happy with my choice.
“If I didn’t major in business, I would be majoring in or studying…gender studies. The challenges facing women in the workplace are at the forefront of my intersectional interests and extracurricular efforts; an academic understanding of the psychology and sociology behind these challenges would be spectacularly beneficial. I have still managed to entertain these interests in my business curriculum: I lead the annual Women in Business Retreat, and network with female peers, faculty, and alumni to further my understanding.”
What has surprised you most about majoring in business? Fundamental financial literacy is not so difficult, and very important. I had a very elementary understanding of the markets when I started my business education, and I anticipated a steep learning curve. My first finance class taught me a basic understanding of the macro economy, common investment vehicles, and how to assess both of these with critical thought. It was an inch-deep, mile-long type of course, but it proved to be incredibly beneficial both personally and academically.
Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? I grew up in the heart of the Silicon Valley, surrounded by individuals making tangible contributions to create a better, more connected world. It didn’t take much for me to realize that I wanted to do the same. I didn’t know how to do it – I still don’t know quite how – but I thought business school was a good place to start. I had always had ideas, and I had always loved the logistics behind executing these ideas. To gain a practical understanding of how the economy and its players operate, and the basic skills behind the various business functions, seemed like the best foundation to accelerate myself into a meaningful career.
Which academic, extracurricular or personal achievement are you most proud of? Gabelli’s Women in Business Retreat brings together undergraduate and graduate business women for a weekend of discernment, networking, and dialogue. I attended the first retreat as a sophomore. In 2016 I co-led the second; this year I will lead it again. This achievement truly combines my interests in both my career and in my personal life, and gives me the opportunity to provide a venue for women across fields to discuss the issues facing women today. We carefully craft workshops, presentations, and discussions based on feedback from professionals and students so that the retreat is most relevant, and it is an accomplishment I am truly proud of. Last year I designed my own workshop based on both research and my own experience that covered perceptions of women in the workplace. It received great feedback in the anonymous surveys, and I am expanding it this year into a longer session. These experiences have not only allowed me to delve into my interests, but also to challenge myself and to learn more about specific issues facing women today.
If you were a dean for a day, what one thing would you change about the business school? While the Gabelli School of Business is openly committed to addressing the challenges facing women today, currently the undergraduate business program does not have a formal Women in Business platform. This is not to say that there are not clubs or programs dedicated to empowering women and challenging women’s issues – our chapter of Smart Woman Securities is a great example of one – but there is no universal platform that insures activity across all major disciplines and interests. As a leading undergraduate business school, especially one that is sending a majority of its students to male-dominated fields (e.g., accounting and finance), it is crucial that women’s issues are addressed, discussed, and challenged. A formal platform would allow partnerships with clubs that are already making strides in this area and those that are not, to ensure that women across all disciplines are equipped with the knowledge, skills, and network necessary to face the many challenges remaining in the workplace. It would also provide more pointed resources toward developing skills and dialogue around women’s issues.
Which classmate do you most admire? Olivia Greenspan is a year below me and is wholeheartedly committed to her interest in improving food systems. There are not many resources at Fordham dedicated to the food and sustainability intersection, but Olivia has pioneered her own and created resources for students. Her ability to take agency and leadership over her passions is so admirable, and I respect her tremendously for it.
Who would you most want to thank for your success? First, my parents. My dad for challenging me academically and always telling me that I am capable of changing the world, and my mom for exemplifying persistence, strength, and a level of compassion I will forever seek to achieve. Second, the school’s senior associate dean, Green Jason-DiBartolo. She meets all of my ideas with curiosity, all of my questions with answers, and has consistently provided me the support to carry out my goals: personally, academically, and professionally.
What would your theme song be? This was the hardest question of this interview and I was not sure how appropriate my answer had to be, but here we go. Nicki Minaj’s verse in “Monster” is a masterpiece. Her brand of feminism is empowering and fun, and I am so here for it.
What are the top two items on your bucket list? Travel to Iran, see Elton John live
Favorite book: Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling
Favorite movie: Almost Famous
Favorite vacation spot: La Jolla, California
What are your hobbies? Traveling (I try to visit a new country every year), eating (I love the process of finding and trying new restaurants), crafts (I have recently taught myself calligraphy) and hiking (something I miss about California)
What made Kate such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2018?
“Kate is a remarkable person, and I am privileged to know her. Having her in my classroom has enriched her fellow students and has elevated my own enthusiasm for teaching. Kate is always willing to contribute to class discussions and to engage her classmates and professors. Her inspiring ways extend beyond the classroom. Kate is a woman of competence, conscience, compassion, and commitment to the service of the human family. Kate is tireless in her pursuit of knowledge and relentless in her search for innovation. In her many roles, including an admissions ambassador for the Gabelli School of Business, one of our student representatives to the Sustainable Accounting Standards Board, a captain of New Student Orientation, and an advising assistant for new freshmen, Kate has selflessly donated her time and skills for the enrichment of others.
Her academic accomplishments are unparalleled. A distinguished member of the Fr. William E. Boyle Society, she has also been honored by the Woolworth Award and recognized on the Dean’s List. Kate also holds a membership in Phi Kappa Phi. Her scholastic endeavors have opened the door for her to internship opportunities at Tesla and Blackstone; she proudly represented the Gabelli School of Business at both. She will further honor her alma mater as she joins KPMG’s New York tax practice this summer.
Of all of Kate’s numerous admirable characteristics, her passion for life and her compassion for others are the most distinguishing. Kate is bothered by injustice, poverty, and inequality. In fact, she possesses a quality that Fordham’s university president, the Rev. Joseph M. McShane, SJ, calls “bothered excellence.” This means that in every aspect of life, she identifies areas where social problems can be resolved, rejects complacency, and seeks to serve the good of the world. The paramount objective of a Jesuit education is developing “men and women for others,” and Kate is the embodiment of that mission.”
Barbara M. Porco, PhD, CPA, CFF
Bene Merenti Clinical Associate Professor of Accounting and Taxation
Director for The Center for Professional Accounting Practices
Director of the MS Accounting Program
Comments or questions about this article? Email us.