2018 Best & Brightest: Phillip K. Newsom, University of Tennessee (Haslam)

Phillip K. Newsom

University of Tennessee (Haslam)

“An introvert who constantly puts himself in situations requiring an extrovert’s personality.”

Fun fact about yourself: I love aeronautics and anything having to do with flight; earning my pilots license is at the top of my bucket list.

Hometown: Memphis, TN

High School: Christian Brothers High School

Major: Accounting

Minor: Finance

Favorite Business Course: Investment Fund Management (FINC 495), The Firm in a Global Context (BUAD 361), Federal Income Taxation (ACCT 431)

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles During College:

  • Haslam College of Business Student Leadership Council (President, Vice President)
  • Student Government Association (Student Body Presidential Candidate, Haslam College of Business Senator, At-Large Senator)
  • Sigma Alpha Epsilon (Treasurer, Judicial Board Member, Finance Committee Member)
  • AIM Accounting Alliance (President, Secretary)
  • Beta Alpha Psi (Treasurer)
  • Haslam College of Business Ambassador
  • Tennessee Capital Markets Society
  • Unite UT – Student Political Party (President)
  • Challenge – Student Political Party (Treasurer)
  • Emerald Youth Foundation – Volunteer Mentor
  • HCB Leadership Council Service Project (Emmett Elementary School – Bristol, TN)

Where have you interned during your college career?

  • Green Square Capital, LLC. (Memphis, TN)
    • Wealth Management Summer Analyst
  • Haslam College of Business Undergraduate TVA Investment Fund
    • Portfolio Manager

Where will you be working after graduation? This upcoming summer (2018), I will intern in PricewaterhouseCoopers’ Assurance practice in New York, New York. After the completion of my internship, I will return to The Haslam College of Business to complete my Masters of Accountancy and hope to return to PwC’s Assurance practice.

What is the biggest lesson you gained from studying business?The most influential part of my business education has been gaining an understanding of how individuals’ decisions affect every aspect of a business. There was no specific “ah-ha” moment, but as my education comes to its close, the causal relationships between different units or divisions of an organization has become readily apparent. Some students may be frustrated by slight overlaps in coursework, but I believe the most valuable aspect of a business education is gaining a macro understanding of business functionally by learning to quantify and evaluate the potential effects of even the most minute transactions on other business units, employees, and shareholders.

What advice would you give to a student looking to major in a business-related field? Begin your education with an open mind. My idea of what a supply chain or finance career actually entailed was entirely different as a freshman than as a graduating senior. There is an area of study for everyone, but you may not find yours until you’re exposed to upper level classes.

“If I didn’t major in business, I would be majoring in or studying…Political Science and Economics. While I greatly enjoy the study of accounting, my true passions lie in understanding government policy and functionality coupled with the tangible, economic effects of these policies on everyday people.”

What has surprised you most about majoring in business? The overlap with other disciplines, particularly math and English. Before beginning college, I was most excited about leaving both of these subjects in the rearview mirror. However, they have both been an integral part of my education, and I’m better off because of them.

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? I can’t say there was any specific person who alone influenced me more than others, but a common thread possessed by the leaders of our community and society was an understanding of business functionality. This alone illustrated for me the importance of a business education and pushed me to pursue an education focused around the “language of business.”

Which academic, extracurricular or personal achievement are you most proud of? Without hesitation, my participation in our student government. While my formal education has provided a more than useful base of knowledge to begin my career, the lessons learned from leading a group of students, developing a policy agenda, and speaking publically for what I believe in far outweigh any collection of information about “leadership” that could be garnered from a body of text.

If you were a dean for a day, what one thing would you change about the business school? From my experiences providing feedback to our deans, I think we would agree on what would be implemented immediately if it were possible. If given the opportunity to create more professorships that would allow our college to add to our already excellent faculty members thereby furthering our capacity for research and the instruction of our students, it would be a no brainer. Stating the obvious here is the easy part, finding the funding is far more challenging.

Which classmate do you most admire? Rather than singling in on one person in particular, I admire a certain type of student. For some, the material being studied, or all material for that matter, comes naturally and requires little to no effort to understand. For others, it requires countless hours of study outside of the classroom and weekly visits to office hours, all for a letter grade that may be lower than the student who exudes minimal effort. These are the student I respect the most.

Who would you most want to thank for your success? To be completely honest, there were several times my freshman and sophomore year that I was “held back” by specific people or programs. Looking back, these challenges provided me with a motivation that probably would not have existed without them. In the moment I was frustrated, but over time I became more than thankful for the path these obstacles eventually led me down.

What would your theme song be? I wouldn’t say I necessarily have a theme song, but one of my favorite songs at the moment is “Rise” by Eddie Vedder off of the soundtrack from the movie Into the Wild.

What are the top two items on your bucket list? I’ve already mentioned one (obtaining a pilot’s license), but another is to live aboard for an extended period.

Favorite book: The Undoing Project, Michael Lewis

Favorite movie: All the President’s Men

Favorite vacation spot: Anywhere with unique, local food

What are your hobbies? My favorite hobby is playing golf. Spending four hours solely focused on getting a one-and-a-half-inch ball into a four-and-a-quarter-inch hole 200+ yards away in a limited number of strokes provides an escape from the stresses of everyday life.

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

“I first met Phillip Newsom when he was nominated to participate in the leadership development program for Beta Alpha Psi, the Haslam College of Business’ honors society for accounting and finance majors. As a participant, Phillip already exhibited leadership qualities and attended the regional meeting with myself and the current officers. Phillip is now serving his second term as Treasurer for the organization and has had a tremendous impact on the society as a whole. Phillip has an aptitude for communication and is able to build relationships with peers, faculty, and professionals. He is committed to service and shows professionalism in everything he does. I would definitely classify Phillip as one of our Best & Brightest.”

Alycia Winegardner
Faculty Advisor – Beta Alpha Psi and AIM Accounting Alliance
Department of Accounting & Information Management
Haslam College of Business


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