2022 Best & Brightest Business Major: Maria Espinoza, Villanova University

Maria Espinoza

Villanova University School of Business

“A faithful, ambitious, driven, empowering, and joyful woman pursuing a life with impact.”

Fun fact about yourself: I can play the guitar! Hometown: Philadelphia, PA

High School: Little Flower Catholic High School Major: Accounting

Minor: Spanish

Favorite Business Course: Financial Accounting

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work, and Leadership Roles During College:

  • Villanova School of Business Peer Tutor | Subjects: Financial Accounting, Intermediate Accounting, Principles of Finance
  • Church Cantor at St. Martin of Tours | January 2021- Present
  • President and Co-founder of The Society of Women of Color in Villanova’s School of Business | January 2021- May 2022
  • President of The National Association of Black Accountants (NABA) | June 2020- May 2021
  • Marketing Chair for the Latin American Student Organization (LASO) | June 2020- May 2021
  • Martin de Porres Scholar (Full tuition scholarship at Villanova) | 2018-2022
  • Maguire Foundations Scholarship | 2018-2022
  • 2021 AICPA Minority Scholarship, 2021 PICPA Scholarship, 2021 ALPFA Scholarship, 2021 NABA National Scholarship, & 2021 NABA Philadelphia Scholarship
  • Dean’s List Recipient Fall 2018, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, and Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Fall 2021

Where have you interned during your college career? (

Goldman Sachs Regulatory Reporting Controllers Intern | June 2021-August 2021| Jersey City

  • Worked on reconciliations and functions to calculate the firm’s daily reserve formula
  • Participated in an intern project to automate a Product Control workflow
  • Completed a threshold analysis in order to determine if adjustments were needed

PwC Audit Intern | January 2021-April 2021 | Philadelphia

  • Worked on an Insurance client during the busy season & helped accomplish team goals
  • Prepared EGA’s, oversaw various FSLI and attended client meetings
  • Utilized Alteryx and Tableau to clean, analyze, and visualize client data and overdue items

PwC Start Intern | June 2020-July 2020 | Philadelphia

  • Collaborated with a team of four to analyze FirstRobotic’s data set to provide insight on how to improve yearly retention rates of Event Volunteers, Coaches, and Mentors
  • Pitched our strategies and insights to PwC Professionals and FirstRobotics

Federal Credit Union | Finance Intern | May 2019 -August 2019 | Philadelphia

  • Advised on best loan promotion opportunities for members using demographic data mining
  • Conducted market research on past loan promotions to create the loan business plan
  • Discussed remittance plans for loan bankruptcy with the VP of Finance and Analytics

Where will you be working after graduation? PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PwC) as an Audit Associate

Who is your favorite professor? My favorite professor is Dr. Anna Moreland who taught the Theology course on “Shaping an Adult Life.” Dr. Moreland challenged me not only academically, but in all aspects of my life. She encouraged me to get outside my comfort zone, to take risks, and to form good habits so that I can become the best version of myself now. Dr. Moreland has not only been a great professor, but she has been a great mentor and support throughout my senior year.

What is the biggest lesson you gained from studying business? The biggest lesson I have learned from studying business is that no matter how hard you work or how smart you are on your own, when people come together as a team, that is when you can reach a greater goal and get the best outcome. We all need to work together and need the diversity and perspectives of many people so that we can truly make an impact on the world.

What advice would you give to a student looking to major in a business-related field? I would encourage them to spend a lot of time with an open mind and to explore all different possibilities before focusing on one specific major right away.

What has surprised you most about majoring in business? One thing that surprised me the most about majoring in business, specifically accounting, is the internship opportunities that we get to experience. As an accounting major, I was not aware that firms encouraged students to intern several times to gain real-world experience. It was a great surprise and it has prepared me well for my full-time role this fall.

Looking back over your experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently in business school and why? The one thing I would choose to do differently would be to take more classes outside my major so that I could get more knowledge on different subjects and open my mind to new ways of thinking and learning. I would take more Philosophy, Humanities, and Theology courses.

What business executive do you admire most? The business executive I admire the most is my father. My father immigrated from Costa Rica when he was 24 years old and had a dream of building a great life here in America. He did not let the language barrier, his socioeconomic status, or his lack of a college education discourage him from achieving his dream. He now has his own landscaping business, which he is extremely proud of and passionate about. I have learned from him that no matter the obstacles that are put in your way, if you believe in the power of your dreams — nothing is impossible.

Which academic, extracurricular, or personal achievement are you most proud of? I am most proud of dedicating my time to learning how to play the guitar a year ago. My motivation for learning was to become a cantor for my church. By practicing a little each day, and pouring my time, effort, and passion into it, I was able to learn how to play and serve my church community. This is one of the very few non-academic goals that I set for myself and made it my mission to learn so that I can grow and try something new while also being able to use this new gift to serve others.

Which classmate do you most admire? I admire my friend and peer Alicia Langan (Class of VSB ’22). I met her while studying abroad in Italy my sophomore year. She has inspired me to be more creative, take risks, and think outside the box. She has faced adversity with grace and perseverance and she manages to be a great friend, student, and daughter. Her artistic talent and her admirable authenticity inspire me every day.

Who would you most want to thank for your success? I would like to thank my parents for the person I am today. Their united supportive force in my life has guided me and motivated me to succeed. I would not be where I am today without the sacrifices and hardships my parents had to face daily. They gave up their dreams so that I could have mine. They have taught me what love, patience, persistence, and passion truly are, and for that, I am forever grateful.

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

  1. Become the first Latina CEO of the company I work
  2. Become an Entrepreneur

What are your hobbies?

I play guitar, love to read books, like to go hiking and travel, and enjoy trying new foods. I am always up for any adventure. I also enjoy going on church pilgrimages.

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

“Maria has advanced diversity at Villanova more than anyone I know. Maria founded “The Society of Women of Color,” which now has 40 members, and was a founding officer of Villanova’s chapter of the National Association of Black Accountants. Maria brought our entire business school together for candid conversations about race as well as for opportunities to simply laugh and celebrate with each other. With Maria’s guidance and support, student organizations across our business school pledged to become more inclusive and counteract racial discrimination. The fruits of those efforts already are obvious. Maria has organized academic, financial, and social support for countless students and has done all this with love. I am infinitely better for knowing her.”

Stephen L. Liedtka, Ph.D.
CPA, Associate Professor of Accounting



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