2024 Best & Brightest Business Major: Lucas Rich, Lehigh University

Lucas Rich

Lehigh University College of Business

“A dedicated and hard working baseball, accounting and chess enthusiast with a passion for leadership.”

Fun fact about yourself: I wrote a poetry collection as my senior project in high school titled “Incoherence.” It consistent of thirty different poems, including a villanelle and a sestina.

Hometown: Califon, New Jersey

High School: Newark Academy in Livingston, NJ

Major: Accounting and Finance

Minor: Spanish Language Studies

Favorite Business Course: Accounting 307 – Introduction to Federal Income Tax

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles During College: I am the captain of the Lehigh University Varsity Baseball Team, and have been a four-year Patriot League Honor Roll member. I am a proud member of the Beta Alpha Psi Honors Society, and have been tutoring for 3 years with Lehigh’s Center for Academic Success. I was also a recipient of the Lehigh Business Nelson Leighton Bond Memorial Prize in the spring of my junior year. Most recently, I was nominated by the Lehigh University Accounting Department to apply for the FASB Postgraduate Technical Assistant Program, and I am currently going through the interview process.

Where have you interned during your college career? I played summer baseball my first two collegiate summers in the New England Collegiate Baseball League, and the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League. Over these summers I was in Keene, New Hampshire and Albany, New York respectively. This past summer, I worked out of the PricewaterhouseCoopers Florham Park, NJ office as an audit intern.

Where will you be working after graduation? After graduation, I will be working at PricewaterhouseCoopers as an assurance (audit) associate.

Who is your favorite business professor? My favorite business professor is Robert Duquette. Professor Duquette teaches both introduction and advanced tax policy at Lehigh, and he has been an extremely influential figure throughout my academic career. Professor Duquette has the unique ability of taking the topics of taxation and engaging an entire classroom in a discussion that facilitates both passion and understanding. Professor Duquette has exposed me to eye-opening topics related to the United States federal debt, and has increased my economic and global literacy tremendously. Professor Duquette truly cares about every one of his students, making himself accessible for conversation to help answer a student’s questions or to just talk about the world of taxation as a whole. Professor Duquette is a tremendous mentor.

What is the biggest lesson you gained from studying business? The biggest takeaway that I have had from my study of business is the importance of communication skills. No matter how brilliant one’s ideas may be, unless that person is able to effectively explain and communicate those thoughts to another person, that knowledge ceases to hold any value. Being able to present to a group, explain a concept or theory to a peer, or teach a critical skill to those around you is critical for success in the business world. Business is – by definition – centered around interconnectedness, and without communication, it is impossible to forge these critical connections. Being able to express ones ideas effectively is of equal importance as the ideas themselves.

What advice would you give to a student looking to major in a business-related field? Staying consistent with my thoughts regarding communication skills, I would give any student pursing a major in a business-related field the advice to network and communicate with as many people as possible, no matter the setting. Business is about connections, and forging these connections early on will allow for greater success in the classroom and when searching for opportunities that reach beyond education. Similarly, working on these communication skills will not only allow a student to build their personal network, but will build the toolkit for future endeavors related to intercompany and client communication.

What has surprised you most about majoring in business? I was most surprised by the networking opportunities that majoring in business provided. Not only does Lehigh focus on career building events to give each student a foundational footing in the search for a career, but business school students and alum are always ready and willing to talk about their classroom experiences and career trajectory. The business world at Lehigh is full of resources, and it is astounding how helpful and influential utilizing these resources can be.

Looking back over your experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently in business school and why? If I could have done one thing differently throughout my business school experience, I would have taken more advantage of networking and career building events early in my Lehigh career. Even before knowing that I wanted to do an accounting and finance double major, I wish that I had gone to as many recruitment and company “meet and greet” events that fit within my schedule. I started utilizing these resources towards the middle and end of my business school career, and I feel as though I could have formed an even broader network and forged stronger corporate connections had I started earlier.

Which academic, extracurricular or personal achievement are you most proud of? I am most proud of being nominated by my fellow peers on the baseball team to be the team captain. I have not always had the highest degree of success on the baseball field, as piching is a one of the most difficult positions in all of sports, yet I have never let wavering success on the mound break my commitment to my teammates. Through four years of collegiate baseball I have put my teammates before myself and embraced a leadership role. Being officially nominated as a captain for my final season at Lehigh has been my proudest achievement as it has confirmed my sense of personal leadership and unwavering commitment to Lehigh baseball.

Which classmate do you most admire? I most admire my classmate Caleigh Cantalupo. I met Caleigh Cantalupo in my first semester at Lehigh, and she truly exemplifies perserverence and dedication both in and out of the classroom. Being an engineering student and a mechanical engineering major, Caleigh has to deal with a rigorous course load that would leave anyone’s head spinning. She handles this triumphantly and is a true model for perseverence through the face of academic adversity. She has never backed down from a difficult assignment or exam, and she knows that more important than any grade is the learning and experience that comes from the classroom.

Who would you most want to thank for your success? I would like to thank my older sister, Indiana. Indiana graduated from Lehigh in 2022, and she is a large reason as to why I decided to pursue both academics and athletics at Lehigh. While Indiana was a psychology major – far from the business world – she was always a prime example of what it would take to succeed at Lehigh, and how to balance academic pressures with extracurricular activities and a fulfilling social life. Indiana was – and still is – a roll model for success and academic achievement, but more importantly, for being a strong and caring person. Indiana brightens the moods of everyone around her, and excels at lighting up a room. I have learned from her many of the communication skills that I utilize each and everyday and for which I pride myself.

What are the top two items on your professional bucket list? I would like to become the CFO of a major corporation, and then I would like to start my own consulting and advisory business.

What made Lucas such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2024?

“I have known Lucas since Fall 2022, as a student in my Intermediate Accounting course. His academic achievements have consistently placed him at the top of his class, showcasing not only a deep understanding of accounting principles but also an ability to apply them in practical scenarios. What truly sets Lucas apart is his remarkable enthusiasm for the subject matter and his leadership skills. He approaches each assignment, project and class discussion with energy, motivating classmates and contributing to a positive and collaborative learning environment. He was always actively engaged in class discussions, reflecting a genuine passion for accounting that is truly inspiring. He also demonstrates excellent communication skills, he is articulate and concise, and can convey complex financial concepts in a clear and understandable manner. His knowledge in accounting, coupled with his communications skills, and work ethic make him an asset in any organization.”

Raluca Chiorean
Assistant Professor, Accounting Department

“I wholeheartedly endorse Lucas Rich for the FASB/GASB Postgraduate Technical Assistant Program. Lucas’ performance, both academically and interpersonally, places him well within the top 1% of students that I’ve had the pleasure of teaching. His keen intellect and passion for accounting became obvious within the first two weeks of class. He continually contributes answers and important questions to class discussion, and I even started creating challenge questions with him specifically in mind. Alongside his academic talents, Lucas is personable, engaging, and well-liked by his peers, and some of my other students have begun planning their schedule to make sure they can meet with him for Beta Alpha Psi tutoring. I am convinced he is prepared to conduct thoughtful and thorough research, and his communication skills make him equally well positioned for outreach and beneficial collaboration with colleagues. While many candidates are likely strong in particular areas, it is Lucas’ excellence across all areas that make him stand out. More broadly, I am extremely confident he will become a future leader in the accounting profession.”

Jacob Zureich,
Assistant Professor, Accounting Department

“Lucas is the highest performing student in our Fundamentals of Federal Income Tax course this Fall with a solid A before any curve! This is exceptional since this course is regarded as the most intense in our  program as it covers almost all CPA exam tax content objectives in one semester. Lucas somehow finds the time to focus on these tough accounting courses despite his demanding contribution to the Lehigh baseball team. He not only is earning the highest grade, he is the most engaging with me of the entire class, probing for clarification, affirming silently he understands what is being taught, as well as critically thinking about the other hypothetical permutations of the law. I can always count on him to help break the ice each day, regardless of the subject matter difficulty, and setting the bar high for all others to follow and overall perform better as a result. He is a natural leader, setting an outstanding example for everyone else: always personable, respectful, collaborative, and has a consistent positive attitude. He will obviously succeed in, and eventually lead, whatever organization is fortunate to have him on their team.”

Robert Duquette
Teaching Full Professor, Accounting Department

“Lucas is by far one of the most meticulous students when it comes to details and planning. He always has a high level of energy and motivation when describing his academic and professional goals.  He is also a student athlete on the Lehigh baseball team. As such, he has done an outstanding job of planning what is needed to achieve both his academic and athletic goals during his time at Lehigh. Lucas has a wonderful sense of curiosity and enthusiasm.  I very much enjoyed our advising sessions. He possesses all of the great qualities we see in our finest Lehigh students.”

Joseph M. Manzo
Teaching Full Professor, Accounting Department


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