2023 Best & Brightest Business Major: Jonah Miles Gavino, Villanova University

Jonah Miles Gavino

Villanova University School of Business

“A West Coast kid succeeding on the East Coast by always making others feel welcomed.”

Fun fact about yourself: I petted a kangaroo and surfed at Bondi Beach last summer as part of my study abroad experience in Sydney, Australia.

Hometown: San Diego, CA

High School: St. Augustine High School

Major: Accounting, Business Analytics Minor: N/A

Favorite Business Course: Although it was one of the more difficult classes I took here at Villanova, I truly enjoyed my Advanced Analytics class with Dr. Kathleen Iacocca. Not only did this class give me my first exposure to programming languages as I was required to learn R, but it also enabled me to better understand the role of analytics within business and how its presence can drastically alter the decision-making process if used effectively.

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles During College

Villanova University Augustinian Scholarship

Villanova University Filipino American Student Association (Internal Vice President) Villanova University Honors Program – Shaping a College Life (Teaching Facilitator) Villanova University Quizzo (Trivia Writer)

Villanova University Rock Climbing Club (Member)

Where have you interned during your college career?

Villanova School of Business – Communications & Marketing Department (Villanova, PA) – Student Worker

Hazard Construction (San Diego, CA) – Accounting Intern

Where will you be working after graduation?

KPMG (Seattle, WA) – Accounting Intern

Villanova School of Business – Master of Accounting with Data Analytics (Villanova, PA) – Full-Time Student

Who is your favorite business professor? Thinking back on all my classes over the last four years, my favorite professor would have to be my Financial Accounting professor, Dr. Stephen Liedtka. I remember going into his class thinking it was going to be quite difficult but his constant enthusiasm and his ability to connect with students made the class something I would look forward to attending each week. Ultimately, he was the reason that I decided to major in accounting.

What is the biggest lesson you gained from studying business? Although businesses are naturally competitive, there is something to be said about collaboration. Some of my favorite moments studying business have come from working in group projects. From the simulation project in Business Dynamics to BAM Accounting in Intermediate Accounting I & II, participating in group projects has allowed me to better understand the importance of leveraging each other’s strengths and hearing others’ perspectives as it can often lead to finding the best possible solution.

What advice would you give to a student looking to major in a business-related field? Two things: 1) Don’t be afraid of the “hard” professor; I’ve often found myself learning the most from them as they bring out the best in you. 2) Don’t be afraid to switch majors; I came into Villanova thinking I wanted to be a marketing major, but my willingness to be open to learning new things led me to majoring in Accounting and Business Analytics instead.

What has surprised you most about majoring in business? When I went to class on my first day at Villanova, I was expecting to be tossed into a highly competitive environment. However, my experience here at Villanova has been anything but competitive. I constantly find myself supported by my classmates as we problem solve and study together. Furthermore, the staff, faculty, and alumni here at Villanova truly want its students to succeed and will do what they can to make that happen from hosting networking events to providing mentoring.

Looking back over your experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently in business school and why? One thing I would do differently is I would network with professionals much more often. Villanova does a fantastic job of bringing in individuals to talk to students about their careers and industries. For most of my time here, I found these types of events to be too daunting and intimidating. I wish I was more confident in myself and had pushed myself harder to connect with professionals outside of the classroom.

What business leader do you admire most? When looking for business leaders that I admire, I am lucky enough that I only have to look to home to find two amazing examples in my parents. Both my mom and my dad came from very humble beginnings but still proceeded to put themselves through college. Never forgetting the hard work that it took to get to that point, they have kept up the same work ethic and have continually advanced in their career paths. However, throughout all this time, they never let business outweigh the importance of family as they have always provided my sister and me with the loving support to succeed in all our endeavors. They are true examples of what I hope to emulate in my  future.

Which academic, extracurricular or personal achievement are you most proud of? Being from San Diego, I came to Villanova knowing no one. As such, there was definitely a time where I didn’t know if I was quite fitting in and thought about transferring to a school closer to home. However, I stayed and, as a result, I have made some of the greatest memories and friendships I ever could – memories that I’ll remember forever and friendships that will last a lifetime. In the end, I feel a sense of pride in having overcome my intense fear and unease of attending a school so far from home, and the moments I have shared with those I have met while at Villanova are worth more than anything else I could ever personally achieve.

Which classmate do you most admire? When Sean Walsh was randomly assigned as my roommate freshman year, I had no idea that he would end up being my closest friend here at Villanova. He is one of the few people I know I can count on for anything, whether that be helping me understand an accounting concept or providing advice on a personal matter. I’d like to thank him for all that he’s done for me these past four years and for putting up with my 8:30 alarms that I always managed to sleep through.

Who would you most want to thank for your success? One individual I would like to thank for my success is my older sister, Noelle. Not only has she always been there for me, but Noelle has always had a certain level of confidence about her that has always inspired me. For instance, the braveness she showed in her decision to attend a university on the East Coast helped me realize that I have it within me to do the same and ultimately led me to Villanova. I would just like to thank her for having my back throughout all the years. “Bronah” would not be who he is today without you.

What are the top two items on your professional bucket list? 1) Complete my Master of Accounting with Data Analytics program next year and obtain my CPA license. 2) Help the next generation of accountants by becoming a professor and teaching my students all that I have learned over my career.

What are your hobbies? Longboarding, going to trivia, playing the ukulele, and rock climbing

What made Jonah such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2023?

“Jonah Gavino is an excellent student, creative thinker, positive person, and committed to making the world a better place. He is an Honors student and a recipient of the University’s Augustinian Scholarship. He lives the Augustinian ideals of Veritas, Unitas, and Caritas (truth, unity and love) every day. Jonah is incredibly thoughtful, and self-motivated, teaching himself new skills and taking on additional responsibilities as needed. Jonah impresses me with his maturity, positive attitude and willingness to learn.”

Cathy J. Toner, JD, MJ
Assistant Dean
Talent & Staff Development, Community & External Outreach


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