As the Class of 2021 prepares for Commencement, May 6–8, The College Today will highlight how some of our graduating seniors spent their time at CofC, and what the future holds.
It’s not often that you meet a 22-year-old who is passionate about accounting, but College of Charleston senior Emily Wiesler really lights up when she starts talking numbers and data.
“It’s really difficult to say you’re excited about accounting and people take you seriously,” she laughs.
When Wiesler first started at CofC, she enrolled in a few computer science courses when one of her professors encouraged her to take an accounting class. Numbers spoke to her as another language.
“You follow the formula and the systems and everything ends up where it’s supposed to,” she says.
When she came to the College, she knew she wanted to study abroad. When Wiesler was at orientation, she stopped by the French department where she met a student who was working in France over the summer, and Wiesler decided right then and there that she was going to do the same.
In fact, her love of travel actually helped sway her to attend CofC. When her family visited the campus from Charlotte, North Carolina, she took into account that it was very close to an airport. And she made her goal of having an international experience a reality when, during her sophomore year, she landed an immersive summer business internship in Paris working for a small startup called GeoCap. Since then she’s had three internships at different accounting firms working in assurance and auditing.
She’s also grown her business skills as the marketing director of the School of Business Ambassadors and the marketing intern for Charleston Hope, a local nonprofit that supports high-poverty schools in the Charleston area. Wiesler was also selected as a Schottland Scholar for her senior year, which offers participants leadership and networking opportunities with business leaders.
One of her proudest accomplishments at CofC, however, isn’t from crunching numbers in the business world. It was helping create the executive board of the Charleston Fellows Program (CFP) so that the Honors College program would have student leadership and a direct line of communication between students and Honors College faculty. Wiesler served as president of the Charleston Fellows Executive Board from the fall of 2019 through the fall of 2020.
“My main goals on the board were to create more of a community within the CFP program, help students develop real-world skills they’re interested in and solidify the requirements and trajectory of the program,” she says, noting that the board developed a series of fun events focused on helping students grow relationships with their peers as well as created a framework for a peer-to-peer mentoring program.
It was a lot of work, says Wiesler, but definitely time well spent.
“When I look back at college, my work with the Charleston Fellows will be the thing I’m most proud of,” she says. “I learned so much about being a leader, and the changes I worked on have lasting power. Students for years to come will be serving on the CFP executive board and enjoying the strategic plan, and I’m excited to come back and hear about their experiences.”
And all of Wiesler’s experiences paid off last August, when – a year before completing her degree – she was recruited by global accounting firm KPMG to work with them while they send her to receive her master’s in accounting with data analytics at the University of Southern California. She will attend courses for six months and intern with the firm in Charlotte for six months before going back to California for more courses.
When asked why other students should consider an accounting major, Wiesler thinks for a bit and explains, “Accounting is very stable. I know I’ll always have a job.”
Ultimately she hopes she will get to travel with clients around the world, which will combine her love of exploration, languages and leadership. And that’s a good formula to follow.