One semester after Natalie Matar transferred to Chapman University, she made the decision to add a second major (accounting) to her business administration degree. That decision, coupled with the goal to pursue a career in public accounting, brought her into the Argyros School’s Career Services office for assistance. From that first appointment, Natalie learned about the Accounting Recruiting Program and went full-speed ahead into fall recruitment – interviewing for several summer 2014 internship opportunities.

What Natalie wasn’t expecting was the offer of a winter 2014 internship instead. And not just any internship – this was a full-time, four month internship, working for the nation’s largest professional services and public accounting firm Deloitte in Costa Mesa, California.

While the offer seemed amazing, the risk of accepting a full-time winter internship would mean Natalie would have to leave school for an entire semester, and her absence from campus could impend her anticipated graduation date. However after a speedy research process, and reaching out to personal and campus resources, Natalie decided to take a leap of faith and accept the opportunity. In the end, her experience turned out to be extremely positive and resulted in a full-time employment offer upon her graduation in May 2015.  Natalie said that the internship was “extremely valuable” and that “they gave me room to challenge myself and provided me with a comfortable environment to learn and gain experience.”

Since this was not a “typical internship,” Argyros Career Services interviewed Natalie this summer, allowing her to share her story and highlight her recommendations for success.

What is your favorite quote? 

When you take risks you learn that there will be times when you succeed, and there will be times when you fail, and both are equally important.” – Ellen DeGeneres

How did you know that Chapman University was the school for you?

“I did my research and I reached out to other people who knew more about the school than I did at the time. I scheduled an appointment with an Admissions Counselor to tour the campus and talk about what the school has to offer. The moment I stepped foot on the campus, I knew Chapman University was the school for me. The student-teacher ratio was an important factor when I was considering Chapman.”

Transferring to a new college can be a daunting process.  What specific activities (academic/social/personal) did you do your first year to get acclimated?  

“Getting immediately involved in school/social activities when I transferred has been key to my experience here at Chapman. I started reaching out to classmates for class projects etc. and was able to start building friendships. Participating in classroom discussions made the conversations with others easier to start. I also made the decision my first year to pursue an Accounting degree and was introduced to members of the Accounting Society. Staying involved in the Accounting Society, joining the Business Fraternity Delta Sigma Pi, as well as tutoring other students allowed me to come out of my shell and meet some friends.”

What resources have been the most helpful to you at Chapman in general or within the Argyros School of Business and Economics?

“Here at Chapman University, we have a very large amount of helpful resources. The Argyros School of Business and Economics Business Career Center staff and the support they have to offer have been an instrumental part of my success. Meeting with Sandra Hague and Brittany Deneau to go over my resume, fine-tune my interview skills, and ask for help with career choices has allowed me to achieve the things I’d hoped to achieve. The Recruiting Program for accounting students is amazing and well put together. The teachers here at Chapman have also been extremely helpful. They have years of industry knowledge and experience to share with the students, which makes them some of the best resources available.”

What jobs or internships have you held during your time here at Chapman?

“Initially I was an Academic Tutor for Chapman and tutored primarily Accounting students. I secured a full-time winter Tax internship at Deloitte Tax, LLP at the beginning of this year. After my internship ended and throughout this summer, I tutored both MBA and Undergraduate students of Pepperdine University in Accounting.”

What is your overall strategy for success?

“My overall strategy for success has four key pieces. One, remain teachable at all times. It is necessary for me to continue to learn from people who have more experience than me. Once I think I know everything, I will stop moving forward. Two, accept constructive criticism. By accepting constructive criticism, I am able to fine-tune my skills and improve in areas that may be weaker than others. Three, continue to set realistic, reachable goals.  Setting goals keeps me moving forward as long as I know I can achieve them by working hard. Four, be persistent. Success doesn’t happen overnight and often failure happens first. The ability to be persistent in what you do despite failure truly makes one successful.”

As a transfer student, what is one thing you wish you’d done differently?

“As a transfer student, I wish that I had focused more on my plan of attack (when it comes to the planning of my college courses) earlier on. By the time I made the decision to pursue Accounting, I was rushing to get things done to be ready for Fall Recruiting. With the help of Sandra Hague and my professors, I was able to pull it together, however, I could have done without the added stress of not being prepared.”

What advice do you have for other transfer students out there?

The top 4 things I would suggest for other transfer students would be:

    1. Learn as much as you can about what Chapman has to offer and get involved socially in a club, group, or Greek life.
    2. Connect with your professors and establish a good working relationship with them.
    3. Ask for help and reach out when you need it.
    4. Plan ahead, be persistent, and continue to move forward.