2023 Best & Brightest Business Major: Katie Sharp, Florida Southern College

Katie Sharp

Florida Southern College School of Business

“A bright student with a love for traveling, dancing, numbers, and helping others.”

Fun fact about yourself: I danced with a studio for 15 years and learned a variety of styles including tap, jazz, ballet, hip-hop, lyrical, and drill pom.

Hometown: Iota, Louisiana

High School: Bartow Senior High School

Major: Accounting

Minor: N/A

Favorite Business Course: ACC 3705- Accounting Information Systems

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles During College:

I am involved with several organizations on campus, which include: Beta Alpha Psi, Delta Sigma Pi, Phi Eta Sigma, Beta Gamma Sigma, and Dean’s Advisory Council. I was recently accepted into Omicron Delta Kappa, the prestigious leadership honor society. I have held the following leadership roles: President, VP of Community Service, and VP of Candidate Coordination for Beta Alpha Psi; VP of Pledge Education for Delta Sigma Pi; and President for Phi Eta Sigma. I also serve as a Board Member for the Dean’s Advisory Council, which is a select group of business students that meet with the Dean of the business school once or twice a month, so we can discuss new events that we will help run and also general improvements for the school of business. During the 2022 tax season, I served as a VITA volunteer on campus, which is a program under the IRS that allows student volunteers to file tax returns for low-income families. We were able to file 100+ tax returns last tax season, which exceeded our goals and expectations. I was awarded the President’s List Honor for the fall 2020, spring 2021, and spring 2022 semesters; the Dean’s List Honor for the fall 2021 semester; and the High Achiever Award in Managerial Accounting for the spring 2021 semester.

Where have you interned during your college career? I have interned with Binder, Dijker, and Otte (BDO) USA, LLP in the Tampa Bay Office as a Core Tax Intern.

Where will you be working after graduation? I will be working at BDO USA, LLP as a Tax Associate for Core Tax Services. 

What is the biggest lesson you gained from studying business? One lesson I gained from studying business is that growth happens when you step outside your comfort zone and try new things. If you do the bare minimum in school without attempting to join extracurriculars or take advantage of networking opportunities, your growth will be stagnant.

After my first year, I was invited to an event in downtown Tampa called Meet the Firms, a networking opportunity between accounting and finance students and professionals from various firms. I was very nervous about attending as it would be my first professional development opportunity, and I didn’t have that much experience with interviewing or making connections. I can safely say that stepping out of my comfort zone by attending Meet the Firms has allowed me to obtain an internship and job offer, improved my communication skills, public speaking, and motivation to succeed academically.

What advice would you give to a student looking to major in a business-related field? I have two pieces of advice for someone looking to major in a business-related field: first, start with a business administration degree if you haven’t pinpointed which area you enjoy the most. As part of a business administration degree, you must take classes in various business areas, including accounting, marketing, finance, economics, and entrepreneurship. If you find a subject matter that you enjoy more than the others, I recommend changing your major to focus your studies on that topic. The business administration degree overlaps with many other business-related majors, so you won’t be behind by switching paths.

Second, take advantage of the professional development opportunities at your school. These opportunities will help you grow as a business student and lead you to a successful path post-graduation. Most of these opportunities are free, and the benefits are great. You’ll learn interviewing skills, get resume help, make life-long connections, and receive internship and job offers. You can also join business-related organizations on campus to make new friends, boost your resume, network with professionals, and gain valuable skills.

What has surprised you most about majoring in business? One thing that I am surprised about after majoring in business is the number of networking opportunities and internships availability. Florida Southern College hosts “Moc” Interviews once or twice a semester for all business students, so they can connect with local professionals and build their interviewing skills. I received my first internship offer with BDO after participating in a “Moc” Interview. Business students also have a wide selection of internships, including accounting majors, since there is a need for more talent. I was surprised at being offered a paid internship at the beginning of my sophomore year because I only had a little work experience and a few semesters under my belt.

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 while in business school is to further my friendship with classmates by hanging out with them outside of school-related obligations. These four years of college pass by quickly, so take the time to make lasting memories. It could be simple things such as grabbing food together off campus, going to an arcade, or joining an intramural team. Many college graduates will reminisce on the fun memories and friendships they made rather than their coursework.

Which academic, extracurricular or personal achievement are you most proud of? One extracurricular achievement I am most proud of is doubling the FSC Beta Alpha Psi chapter membership during my first semester as the VP of Candidate Coordination. As VP of Candidate Coordination, I was responsible for setting up recruiting events, interviewing new candidates, and keeping track of our chapter’s attendance and point policy. During the fall 2021 semester, I recruited six Baby Betas and five candidates, which was a fantastic accomplishment since we only had eleven members. Doubling the chapter membership after newly acquiring my executive position was a significant moment for me, and I continue serving Beta Alpha Psi as the President. I love knowing that I made an impact on BAP and was able to help it grow and thrive for future members.

Which classmate do you most admire? I admire my classmate John Martin because he is a great friend and incredibly dedicated to his studies. I have worked with John on various group projects, and I can always rely on him to go above and beyond on his portion of the project. John is always smiling and cracking jokes which make for a fun atmosphere. I admire John’s willingness to help other business students when they are struggling with specific courses, and he’ll work with you step-by-step until you understand the concepts.

Who would you most want to thank for your success? I want to thank my mom for my success and for providing the resources that allow me to earn my degrees at Florida Southern College. My mom has sacrificed a lot to help me go to college and graduate debt free with both my Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees while also making sure I get a high-quality education. I couldn’t have gotten where I am today without my mom’s support.

What are the top two items on your professional bucket list? My top two items on my professional bucket list are to become a Certified Public Accountant and a tax partner at a large public accounting firm.

What are your hobbies? I take adult dance classes, enjoy reading books, and binge-watching NCIS.

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

“As one of Katie’s accounting professors, I have witnessed the exceptional contributions she has made to our accounting program and campus community. From her first day in my class freshman year, I knew she was special; she is one of the brightest and hardest working students to come through our accounting program. Not only is she a dedicated student, but she is also committed to positively impacting those around her. With Katie’s help last tax season, we were able to provide free tax services to more than 100 individuals and families. Through her various positions in our campus’s professional student organizations, she has helped organize and execute accounting-related events, has inspired other students to major in accounting, and has helped her accounting peers and our program flourish. She is dependable, efficient, positive and effective in all she does. While at Florida Southern, Katie took advantage of the various networking and professional development opportunities we provide and, to no surprise, her invaluable contributions during her summer internship landed her a full-time job in tax after graduation. I am exceptionally proud of what she has accomplished, and cannot wait to see the amazing things that I know are to come.”

Professor Caroline Love
Instructor of Accounting

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