Jessica Afra ’19

Meet Jessica Afra! Jessica graduated from Chapman University in 2019 with a B.S. in Business Administration with a double emphasis in Finance and Marketing and a minor in Sociology.

As a first-generation college student, Jessica felt like she was initially struggling, not having the guidance and understanding of what college was supposed to be, what she wanted to do, or who to talk to. She decided to push herself out of her comfort zone and search for people that could help her find her footing. By doing research, going to her professors’ office hours, asking lots of questions, etc., Jessica built a network of support at Chapman. “I really leaned on my professors, academic advisor, the Career and Professional Development center, and my sorority sisters,” says Miss Afra. “Overall, my Chapman experience strengthened my professional development and networking.”

Jessica’s Chapman Experience

Campus Involvement

Jessica was mostly involved in two organizations: The First-Generation Program and Delta Delta Delta. The First-Generation Program held a special sense of community within the group and Jessica says that they were all able to support each other as they navigated an experience so new and unknown to all of them. “It was beneficial to have others who can understand that being a first-generation student can be difficult,” she says.

Additionally, Delta Delta Delta sorority was another great source of community for Miss Afra, and she says that she met the most amazing people through this group.

Classes & Professors

Entering the “real world” post-grad can be daunting. For Jessica, her finance classes were crucial to her learning for her career. She says “The material I learned in my finance classes felt realistic, tangible, and gave me a structure to understand my current position. A big thank you to Dr. Jack Broughton who gave me a lot of perspective.”

Jessica was very interested in her classes within the Argyros School and one of her favorites was Microeconomics with Dr. Kaycea Campbell. She says that “I think Microeconomics is a class that is essential to understanding for your personal and professional knowledge. I really appreciated how Kaycea made the material relate to real-world situations.”

Walk Down Wall Street with Dr. Terence Burnham and fellow Argyros Students

When it comes to professors and influential people, Jessica says that she has way too many to choose from, as she is very thankful to have had multiple mentors at Chapman. The first two that come to mind, however, are Dr. Luis Ortiz-Franco and Dr. Terence Burnham. “Some of my best memories of Chapman were made during Dr. Ortiz-Franco’s office hours,” she says. “He makes learning enjoyable and he helped me with a lot of my networking skills.”

Additionally, Jessica says she is grateful to have been a part of the Walk Down Wall Street course with Dr. Terence Burnham. “Dr. Burnham helped shape what I wanted to do after graduating, and the Walk Down Wall Sreet course was a big eye-opener to the ‘real world.'”

Jessica’s Career Thus Far

During her time at Chapman, Jessica had multiple internships. She interned with RE/MAX and Morgan Stanley, to name a few. She also loved working as a student-employee in the Office of the Provost on campus! She worked for NBCUniversal in Production Accounting on a TV series after graduation, but after production ended, she decided to move into a corporate role. That is when Jessica made her move over to her current employer: Sony Pictures Entertainment.

Jessica began her tenure at Sony Pictures Entertainment about two weeks before the COVID-19 lockdowns. She started as a Financial Analyst, was promoted to Senior, and has moved departments within the company as well. “As you may know, Sony Pictures has strong IP and we are constantly working on creating the best quality content for the world to see,” she says.

Additionally, she has been President of an Employee Business Resource Group called Emerging Professionals, a group that aims to foster professional and personal development through networking events, executive panels, and workshops.

Take Jessica’s Advice

If there’s any advice Jessica could give to students or recent graduates, it would be this: “I know you’ve heard it a million times, but networking is essential. When you are networking, be curious and interested in the topic and really engage in conversation. Also, remember that effective networking is not just about expanding your own network but also about providing value and support to others. By offering assistance, sharing knowledge, and connecting individuals within your network, you contribute to a thriving community where everyone benefits.”

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