2022 Best & Brightest Business Major: Chaney Wollaston, University of San Diego (Knauss)

Chaney Wollaston

University of San Diego, Knauss School of Business

“I am a dynamic individual whose body is 97% composed of coffee and pad thai.”

Fun fact about yourself: I’m currently training for the San Diego Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon in June.

Hometown: Quincy, IL

High School: Quincy Senior High School

Major: Accounting and Business Economics

Minor: Business Analytics

Favorite Business Course: Accounting Information Systems

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles During College:

Leadership Roles:

​​VP of Finance, Beta Alpha Psi

Co-President, Economics Council

Economics tutor, University of San Diego

Career Ambassador, University of San Diego

VP of Scholastics and Awards, Delta Sigma Pi

Member, Kappa Kappa Gamma

School Awards and Honors:

USD Dean’s List (2018, 2019, 2020, 2021)

USD First Honors (2018, 2019, 2020, 2021)

Knauss School of Business 2021 John Ronchetto Scholarship recipient

2021 SDFEI Academic Scholarship recipient

Outstanding Service Award for my participation in the Economics Council (2020,2021)

EY Excellence Fund Scholarship 2021

Community Work:

English tutor at Saint Rita’s Elementary School, Math tutor at Kearny Mesa Juvenile Hall

Where have you interned during your college career? Last summer, I interned for EY in San Diego in the audit department.

Where will you be working after graduation? I will be starting a full-time position in the fall at EY in San Diego as an audit staff 1.

Who is your favorite professor? My favorite thing about USD is that the business school is composed of intelligent, accomplished, and inspiring professors. The professor who has made the greatest impact on me is Professor Mark Judd. I took Professor Judd for my introductory accounting classes. I can say, without a doubt, that he is the reason I was able to intern at EY and he is the reason that I will be starting a full-time job in the fall by encouraging me to explore a career in accounting and to apply to Big 4 firms when they were recruiting. Professor Judd cares so much for his students which is made evident through the effort he puts into the accounting department and through Beta Alpha Psi to make sure all students feel prepared and supported during the recruiting process.

What advice would you give to a student looking to major in a business-related field? I would advise students not to fear the unknown. If they don’t know what they want to do with their lives, I want to reassure them that we have all been there. I am still there. I even originally came to USD thinking I wanted to study medicine. Eventually found my passion after randomly being placed in introductory Economics and Accounting classes freshman year. Thus, I want to reiterate to others that they will eventually find a passion and career where they belong, try to enjoy, and not rush the process.

What has surprised you most about majoring in business? After 4 years of studying at a liberal arts school, I have learned the true importance of learning from all different sources and facets of life. I have taken courses in a wide range of topics during my time at USD from People, Plagues, and Microbes, to Acting 101 to Behavioral Economics. All of these classes, even when they seemingly didn’t relate to my future career, have helped shape me into being more well-rounded and better prepared in all aspects of my life, including my knowledge of business and my ability to network with different kinds of people.

Looking back over your experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently in business school and why? If I could do one thing differently in my experience at USD’s Knauss School of Business, I would have applied to the one-year Master of Accountancy program. I think getting my master’s degree could have been incredibly beneficial to my future career in accounting.

Which academic, extracurricular or personal achievement are you most proud of? A personal achievement that I am most proud of is graduating high school a semester early to move to Colorado. In Colorado, I worked at a ski resort where I skied every day, went on hikes, and explored Colorado thoroughly. This experience helped to ease the transition between living in Illinois for my whole life and moving to the West Coast for school. It was also a great life experience that I will always get to look back on fondly.

Which classmate do you most admire? The classmate I most admire at USD is Brittney Dong. Not only is Brittney extremely intelligent, but she is also incredibly well-rounded and charismatic. She is the person I think of when I envision someone who truly has their life together. What I admire most about Brittney is her ability to maintain a balance in all aspects of her life, including in her social life and her academic commitments. Often times I find that I can be one-track-minded and get lost in the stress of an upcoming event. Brittney is always the person I count on for making me consider the other aspects of my life I tend to neglect when I solely commit myself to one thing.

Who would you most want to thank for your success? I most want to thank my mom for my academic success to date. I recognize that it has taken a lot for me to get to this point in my life where I can graduate from a top-tier business school and will soon be starting a full-time career. I know wholeheartedly that without her unwavering dedication and support to my academic aspirations I would not be where I am today.

The earliest memory I have of studying includes my mom quizzing me with multiplication flashcards on road trips. Today, my roommates could tell you that I have a slightly unnatural obsession with using flashcards to study. In this regard, I fully contribute my work ethic to my mother for instilling upon me at a young age to not give up even when I find a topic challenging, but to continue to work on myself and to never stop learning.

What are the top two items on your professional bucket list?

  1. Pass the CPA exam
  2. Become an expert in the field of forensic accounting

What are your hobbies? My hobbies include skiing, playing tennis/pickleball, going for runs, watching Audrey Hepburn movies, and reading mystery novels.

What made Chaney such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2022?

“Chaney is an outstanding student who holds a perfect GPA while pursuing a double major and minor. She embodies USD’s liberal arts education, both through her academics and her extracurricular activities. In the classroom, Chaney is always the first one to raise her hand or initiate group work, as well as a great leader for her student class groups. Chaney’s academic path has given her the opportunity to take on internships with prestigious companies, while also being very involved on and off campus as a resource to other students. In her sorority, she served in the Diversity and Inclusion committee and joined several outreach programs in San Diego through school connections. Her success in and outside the classroom is evidenced by the many awards she has earned.”

Adriana Vamosiu
Associates Professor of Economics and Department Chair of Economics
University of San Diego, Knauss School of Business



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