2020 Best & Brightest: Simon Finnie, University of San Diego

Simon Finnie

University of San Diego School of Business

My elevator pitch is way too nerdy for fifteen words.”

Fun fact about yourself: Like every other Canadian, I played hockey for 15 years before coming to college, and I love maple syrup and bacon.

Hometown: Vancouver, British Columbia

High School: Collingwood School

Major: Accounting and Finance

Minor: N/A

Favorite Business Course: International Business Negotiations

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles During College:

  • Delta Sigma Pi: Vice President of Finance, Vice President of Pledge Education
  • Beta Alpha Psi: Vice President of Reporting, President
  • USD Men’s Rowing Team freshman and sophomore year
  • Dean’s List First Honors every semester
  • Multiple Bachelor of Accountancy program scholarships
  • PCAOB Scholar Scholarship
  • Various community service events through Delta Sigma Pi and Beta Alpha Psi
  • Deloitte FanTaxtic National Competition Winner

Where have you interned during your college career?

  • Deloitte Tax, San Diego, CA, Tax Intern
  • Pemberton Insurance Corporation, Vancouver, BC, Processor
  • Avino Silver & Gold Mines, Vancouver, BC, Finance Intern

Where will you be working after graduation? Deloitte Tax, San Jose, CA, International Tax Consultant

What company do you admire the most? The company I admire most is Lululemon. I admire them because not only do they make some of the best workout and casual products out there, but they have figured out how to charge a premium while still having customers see value in their products. That is what I hope to achieve when providing services as a professional. I want my services to be so consistent and useful that I am able to charge a premium for them, all the while the customer still sees value in purchasing those services.

What did you enjoy most about your business school? What I enjoy most about the USD School of Business – and what I also think is the biggest strength of our business school – is the relationship you can have with a professor. Every single one of my professors was always available to sit down and chat during their office hours and they were always willing to shed some light on whatever was on my mind that day. Even though lectures account for most of our learning, the ability to ask questions and to have intelligent faculty answer those questions in a one-on-one setting is absolutely priceless in an educational setting.

 What is the biggest lesson you gained from studying business? The biggest lesson that I’ve learned – and that I’m still grappling with – is how complex the business world is. Without an education, someone would see a business as quite simple: selling a product or service. With an education, I have some grasp of all the inputs that go into the business – the strategy behind management decisions, the analysis behind financial decisions, and the reporting required for all sorts of purposes. I hope to continue to grow my business acumen as I join the workforce.

What advice would you give to a student looking to major in a business-related field? I would give them two pieces of advice: meet as many people as you can and stay as up-to-date as possible with current events. Networking is a huge part of business and it never hurts to know somebody.  Always be willing to sit down and grab coffee or lunch with someone because you never know who will give you an interesting career idea, mentor you, or someday give you a job. Second, business and world events are so intertwined. You seem so much smarter when you are able to talk about global issues and give your thoughts on it, so stay current with what is going on in the world.

What has surprised you most about majoring in business? What has surprised me most is how diverse people who study business are. I think that a lot of people are misled about business, thinking that it is only for stuffy people who want to wear a suit to work every day, and if they don’t want to do that, they should find something else. I have made so many great friends at the University of San Diego School of Business who come from a wide range of backgrounds, have different personalities, and pursue different interests.

Which academic, extracurricular or personal achievement are you most proud of? The achievement I am most proud of is winning the Deloitte FanTaxtic National Competition as a sophomore.  The competition was all about being able to understand a case and present it to a client.   believe there were 63 teams from all over the nation and we finished in first place.  This was a great achievement because only a maximum of five students each year can say that they have won this competition. It showed that even as a sophomore, I had already developed significant analytical and critical thinking skills and that I had the ability to present what I knew in a compelling way to a third party. To this day, I still have the trophy on my desk at home and tell people about winning this competition.

Which classmate do you most admire? The classmate I admire the most is my friend Peyton Mallory. I admire him because he is different than me and gives me a whole new perspective, all the while still being one of my best friends. He’s someone I can laugh along to jokes with, tackle hard material in school with, and most importantly share a golf cart with. I’ve really enjoyed sharing the latter portion of my college experience with him. Even though we are moving to different cities, I am certain we will stay in touch.

Who would you most want to thank for your success? I would like to thank my parents for my success.  They are both such hard-working and intelligent people. I strive to be as accomplished as they are every day. They always treat people with the utmost respect and put the most amount of effort into whatever they are doing. I hope that I can be as successful as they are at some point in my career.

What are the top two items on your professional bucket list? The top two items on my professional bucket list consist of one which is described by status, and one of which is described by the scope of my work. I would really love to be in charge of a business someday, whether that be as an owner, CEO, partner, or managing director. Secondly, I want to work on projects that have a positive global impact. I love the challenge of understanding a global problem and being able to implement a strategy to not only solve that issue but also profit from it.

What are your hobbies? Some things that I love to do outside of school are yoga, golf, running, reading, cycling, cooking, wine, and watching sports.

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

“Simon’s performance at the University of San Diego School of Business has been nothing short of stellar. Taking on two difficult majors (finance and accounting) and maintaining a 4.00 GPA is hard enough, but Simon has achieved equivalent excellence in his extracurricular activities as president of Beta Alpha Psi and through multiple community service events. Simon’s performance in classes has been marked with academic excellence, confident and effective participation, highest-quality work in teams and individually, and generally being well-liked by his professors and peers. Some faculty members have said Simon was the best student they have ever taught, even when the same faculty has been teaching for over a decade. It is not surprising, therefore, that Simon has already secured a full-time position with one of the top accounting firms in the country after completing his internship. Simon is an exceptional student who has an incredible career ahead of him.”

Marko Svetina
Associate Professor and Chair of Finance
University of San Diego School of Business



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