2020 Best & Brightest: Ryan Houck, Syracuse University (Whitman)

Ryan Houck

Syracuse University, Whitman School of Management

“A hard-working and caring accountant who is all about giving back to the community.”

Fun fact about yourself: One of my hobbies is website design and I have been doing it since middle school.  

Hometown: Easton, PA

High School: Pen Argyl Area High School

Major: CPA Accounting and Finance

Minor: N/A

Favorite Business Course: ACC 481: Taxation of Business Entities

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles During College:

  • Beta Alpha Psi
    • Member (Fall 2017 – Present)
    • President (Spring 2019 – Fall 2019)
  • Beta Gamma Sigma – International Business Honor Society
    • Member (Fall 2018 – Present)
  • WhiTax – Volunteer Tax Preparation Service
    • Preparer (Spring 2018 – Present)
    • Reviewer (Spring 2019 – Present)
  • Orange After Dark Event Board
    • Member (Fall 2017 – Present)
  • Building Organizational Leadership Development (BOLD) Program
    • Program Development Intern (Fall 2019 – Present)
  • New Registered Student Organization Review Board
    • Member (Spring 2017, Fall 2018, Spring 2019)
    • Chair (Fall 2019 – Present)
  • Student Advisory Council for the Division of Enrollment and the Student Experience
    • Member (Fall 2018 – Present)
  • Deloitte FanTAXtic Competition
    • Participant (Fall 2017)
  • Phansteil Scholar
  • David E. Tosh Award (Spring 2019)
  • Horace Landry Undergraduate Scholar (Spring 2018)

Where have you interned during your college career?

  • Victaulic Company – Easton, PA
    • Tax Intern (June 2017 – August 2017)
  • Ernst and Young – New York, NY
    • FSO Tax Intern (June 2019 – August 2019)

Where will you be working after graduation? I will be working at Ernst and Young in New York City as an FSO Tax Staff.

What company do you admire the most? The company I admire most is EY because they strive to build a better working world by bringing together people from various backgrounds, with different ways of thinking and different knowledge sets to deliver exceptional work for their clients.

What did you enjoy most about your business school? The thing I enjoyed most about Whitman was the opportunities that are available outside the classroom. Whitman fosters this by running the IMPRESS Program. This program helps students develop skills that are not normally taught in the classroom, such as interviewing skills, how to dress professionally, tips on making networking easier, and many others. Thanks to these programs, I was better able to position myself when it came time to interview for internships and jobs for after graduation.

What is the biggest lesson you gained from studying business? The biggest lesson I learned was how all business-related fields are interconnected and that they all rely on each other for a business to run smoothly and successfully.

What advice would you give to a student looking to major in a business-related field? My advice would be to always keep an open mind, an optimistic attitude, and take advantage of any opportunities that will help you further develop your skillset.

What has surprised you most about majoring in business? I think what surprised me most about majoring in business is that even though I chose to major in accounting and finance, I will be graduating from Syracuse with a bit of a background in other business fields too. I think this is necessary because all business fields rely on one another for information to make sure that they can complete their tasks and projects. Understanding the connection of information from one field to another was what helped me understand the bigger picture of business.

Which academic, extracurricular or personal achievement are you most proud of? The extracurricular achievement I am most proud of is being part of the Orange After Dark Event Board. Orange After Dark is our university’s late-night programming group. As an event board member, I have been able to better develop the skills I will need when I enter the business world, such as time management, planning, and organizational skills. They have also helped me become more comfortable with public speaking, especially when in front of large groups of people. Through planning events, I have also been able to polish my professional communication skills as well.

Which classmate do you most admire? The classmate I most admire is Meghan Cherry, who is also an accounting major. Meghan is a hard-working and dedicated person. I have been lucky enough to work with Meghan both inside and outside the classroom and she is someone who I would say is a team leader. Meghan can quickly access a team and their skills and then divide tasks among the members, so the work is done to the highest quality and in the most efficient way possible. This was something I was able to learn from her and I can’t wait to see what the future has in store for her.

Who would you most want to thank for your success? I want to thank my parents for the success I have been able to achieve during my time at college. Without their love and support, I am not sure if I would have been able to achieve some of the things I have done in my college career. I also want to thank them for instilling in me a strong work ethic and making sure that I am proud of everything I do. My parents are and always will be the role models I strive to be every day and once again I can’t thank them enough for their love and support.

What are the top two items on your professional bucket list? The top two items on my profession buckets list are to pass the CPA Exam and then get a Masters in Tax.

What are your hobbies? My hobbies are volunteering, hanging out with friends and listening to music.

What made Ryan such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2020?

“Ryan Houck embodies all that is great about our students. He’s a leader in and out of the classroom, he’s bright, articulate and has a clarity of purpose in all aspects of his life. As great of a student as Ryan is he will only be a better professional accountant.”

John Petosa, JD, CPA
Professor of Practice, Syracuse University’s Martin J. Whitman School of Management


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