2021 Best & Brightest Business Major: Anabel Cordano, Wake Forest

Anabel Cordano

Wake Forest University School of Business

A competitive perfectionist, I work daily to couple grit and determination with balance and intuition.”

Fun fact about yourself: When I was nine years old, I co-founded a home-based summer camp with my sister and two friends. This “Fairy Camp” turned into a thriving business which we ran for six years, with multiple camp sessions for young girls each summer. This was my first foray into entrepreneurship and it sparked my fascination and interest in the business world.

Hometown: Ridgefield, Connecticut

High School: Ridgefield High School

Major: Accounting

Minor: Psychology

Favorite Business Course: Intermediate Accounting

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles During College:

  • Lead Teaching Assistant for Introduction to Accounting (ACC 111) classes (May 2020 – Present)
  • President of the Wake Forest Accounting Society (January 2020 – January2021)
  • Vice President of Finance, Alpha Delta Pi Sorority (January 2019 – January 2020)
  • Executive Board, Club Tennis (August 2018 – Present)
  • Treasurer, Future Business Leaders of America Phi Beta Lambda (December 2017 – December 2018)
  • Group leader, Deacon Camp Wake Forest Pre-Orientation (August 2018 – August 2020)
  • Local virtual community tutor with Winston-Salem elementary schools (March 2020 – September 2020)
  • Honors and societies:
    • Beta Gamma Sigma, The Internal Business Honor Society
    • Omicron Delta Kappa, The National Leadership Honor Society
    • Mortar Board, The National College Senior Honor Society
    • The National Society of Leadership and Success
  • Undergraduate Scholarships:
    • Burke M. McConnell Excellence Scholarship
    • Jack Wilkerson Scholarship
    • Phillip Wilson/KPMH Scholarship

Where have you interned during your college career?

  • Connecticut Against Gun Violence, in Danbury, Connecticut (Summer 2018), Policy Intern
  • Americares, in Stamford, Connecticut (Summer 2019 and 2020), role: Accounting/Finance Intern, and in 2020 Accounting/Finance team support
  • PricewaterhouseCoopers, in New York City (remotely during the winter of 2021), Deals Intern

Where will you be working after graduation? Following graduation, I will continue at Wake Forest University in their Masters in Accountancy program, and graduate with my MSA in 2022 before starting work full time.

Who is your favorite professor? Professor Jennifer Hudson at Wake Forest has been my favorite professor, although it is hard to name just one, as she introduced me to accounting, and it changed my course of action and future path. Coming into college, I knew I wanted to go into ‘business’ of some sort, but it was not until I took Introduction to Financial Accounting with Professor Hudson that I discovered how much I loved technical accounting. As result of her class, I declared an accounting major. In the process, I became a teaching assistant for her class and the president of the Wake Forest Accounting Society – not to mention I got a PwC internship. She was more than a professor. She became a role model and exemplar of an accounting professional who has dedicated her life to sharing her passion through teaching.

What is the biggest lesson you gained from studying business? The biggest lesson I have gained from studying business is that all too often, people box themselves into a category like “accounting” or even “business” without realizing the limitless potential within that very word. Coming into school, I was unaware of just how far one can go with a career in business of any kind. Coming out of it at graduation, I have learned of just some of the possibilities that await. Don’t not limit yourself to the confines of what we imagine our career to be, what we had previously envisioned it to be, or what someone told us it has to be. Allow yourself the opportunities to grow and find our true place and career in the broader world after we leave school.

What advice would you give to a student looking to major in a business-related field? My advice to a student looking to major in a business-related field would be to give every type of major or class that is offered a fair chance. All too often, we have pre-associated thoughts and possibly reservations with a certain major or class, such as accounting or finance or marketing. It is only when we can put all the unsubstantiated ideas behind us that we are able to truly experience each class and learn to appreciate it, whether or not that ends up becoming your career or major. Going into a class with a preset idea of what it is going to look like will generally only lead to disappointment or stress, as you are playing catch-up to reconcile to the idea in your head. Instead, embrace the class as it comes.

What has surprised you most about majoring in business? Majoring in business, I was initially intimidated at the sound of it. What has surprised me most is how accessible it is and how –

through hard work and determination – it is possible to succeed in what might feel like the most trying and challenging circumstances. There are always going to be difficult classes or exams. What surprised me is that at the end of a semester, the knowledge to come from studying and welcoming the newness of each class is boundless. Along these lines, a surprise I will carry with me past graduation is that even after a class is over and the final exam is complete, that subject has infinite more within it. Within business, learning is so constant and evolving that you are truly never done (as with many other careers). My love of learning was met full force with the never-ending growth of business and has shaped my view of my future within it.

Looking back over your experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently in business school and why? Looking back over my years in undergraduate business school, one thing I wish I had done differently was try to take more classes outside of my major. Coming from a school with specific “tracks” by major, and a few core classes within other majors, I did not have the opportunity to take as many finance or computer science classes as I would have liked. I have high hopes that in my Master of Accountancy program, given its data analytics focus, many of these wishes for new digital skills will be met.

Which academic, extracurricular or personal achievement are you most proud of? I have been incredibly fortunate throughout my experience in college to have had many opportunities with extracurriculars and academics. However, the accomplishment I am most proud of is maintaining a 4.0 GPA for all of my time at Wake Forest University. Despite my extracurriculars and heavy course hours, my dedication to my studies has remained resolute since I was a freshman. It is something I hope to carry with me into my Master of Accountancy program and into the workforce. To me though, a 4.0 is more than just a number, it is a mark of the passion I have for learning, for the sacrifices I have made for school and for my drive to learn and give everything I have.

Which classmate do you most admire? Although I admire many of my classmates, the one I admire most is Sam Ostmann, Class of 2019. Although Sam was a few years ahead of me, Wake’s accounting major cohort is small, so we became friends easily. We ended up in the same sorority, and she paved the way for me in the Master of Accountancy program. Today, Sam is an associate with PricewaterhouseCoopers. She has been a tremendous inspiration throughout my journey in both finding accounting, coming to love accounting, and during recruiting for internships. Her passion for the field of accounting and for sharing that with anyone she meets is admirable. She has made a great impact on both my time at Wake, and my future career. Sam’s guidance, kindness, and intellect have set her apart over the years I have had the privilege of knowing her.

Who would you most want to thank for your success? I would want to thank my grandfather, Papa C, the most for my success – and for many ways he might not even realize. For my entire life, he has been a constant support, coming to sports events and birthdays, always there when I needed him. Since I have gotten older, I have been able to appreciate a deeper relationship with him. After I declared my major as accounting, I learned that he had in fact started his career as a CPA. After this discovery, we have been connected through accounting and he is my top career support. He is my favorite person to call after work to discuss the day, to hear his stories from his work, share accounting jokes, and hear his take on life. He is truly a gift to all who get to know him, and I could not be more grateful for his support in my journey.

What are the top two items on your professional bucket list? The top two items on my professional bucket list are both under the umbrella of working for a public accounting firm. They are to 1) go on an international rotation in London and 2) make partner in the deals practice.

What are your hobbies? When I am not studying, I enjoy playing tennis, running, reading, writing and volunteering. I am most in my element when I am volunteering with children, whether it is teaching or coaching.

What made Anabel such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2021?

“Anabel was a student in my Professional and Ethical Responsibilities of Accountants course last fall. In this course, students do a good deal of reflective writing as well as ethical dilemma case analysis. They are also expected to come to each class session ready for discussion, both in their learning teams and in the class at large. Anabel excelled across all dimensions of the course. I found her to be bright and intellectually curious, outgoing and personable, responsible and conscientious, highly motivated and disciplined, and always engaged and engaging.

I also had the opportunity to work with Anabel last fall in ACC 111 — Introductory Financial Accounting, where I taught one section of the course and where Anabel was the lead teaching assistant across all eight sections of the course. Without exception, her work as lead teaching assistant exceeded my expectations. Finally, Anabel is enrolled in my ethics practicum course in connection with her accounting internship this spring. Students are required to submit a series of reflective written reports on a variety of ethical and professional issues over the course of the internship, and Anabel’s work in this practicum absolutely lives up to the high standard she set for herself last fall.”

Jack Wilkerson
D. Wayne Calloway Professor in Accounting


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