Students You Should Know: Jake Lewis

What do you picture when you think of an accountant? Graduate accounting major Jake Lewis admits that he bought into the stereotype of someone who sits in a cubicle all day crunching numbers. However, his experiences at UNI shattered that perception and helped him develop a passion for accounting.

"It's a lot more client driven," said Lewis. "You consistently get to meet with new clients, talk to clients and that interaction is what I really like about it."

Jake Lewis
Lewis had the opportunity to travel to New Zealand while interning with PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Lewis took some entry-level accounting classes in high school, but intermediate accounting classes at UNI helped solidify his choice to study accounting. "Once I took those classes, I felt like I was in the right major," he said. "I was comfortable, I understood the material and I actually enjoyed it."

The classes did prove to be more of a challenge, but that helped to further motivate him. "Everything I did in my high school classes throughout the entire year we learned within the first two weeks of college accounting," he said. "The professors expect so much out of you and I really like that. I like being pushed and consistently being tested."

Another way Lewis challenges himself is by being heavily involved in a number of student organizations, including Connecting Alumni to Students (CATS), Student Admissions Ambassadors (SAA) and UNI Accounting Club. He's also served as an RA in Campbell Hall.

"The most influential was my RA experience," he said of his on-campus involvement. "You meet so many different people and learn so much about yourself in doing that. It kind of puts your life into perspective."

Career-wise, his most influential project was his recent summer internship with accountancy firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) in Minneapolis. One of the major benefits of this internship was having the opportunity to work with one of the "Big Four" accounting firms, but what Lewis appreciated most was the company's commitment to building relationships and embracing diversity.

"It's the people that you meet and the relationships you build. That's really why I chose it," he said.

The internship also gave him the opportunity to travel. Lewis went to Auckland, New Zealand, to work with clients and tour the city. It was Lewis' first international flight. "It was nerve-wracking but exciting," he said. "I finally felt like I was growing up."

Lewis is now getting ready to take the next step in his career. He will graduate in May with both his bachelor's and master's degrees, and he has already accepted a full-time position with PwC. He looks forward to working with PwC but hopes to return to school one day to get his Ph.D. and possibly become a professor. For Lewis, that's just another way to build relationships. "Being able to work with students and be that advising impact would be fun," he said.

He encourages current students to embrace relationships as well. "Of course, you always push for an A, you always push to do your best in every student organization, but you cannot neglect the friendships and the people that got you where you are today," he said. "Focusing on building relationships and staying positive, that's what you should focus on in life."