Upon graduating from Chapman University in 2019 with a B.S. in Accounting and a B.S. in Business Administration with an emphasis in Finance, Alexandra Freres embarked on a journey that showcased the power of campus involvement and a robust educational foundation. In this blog post, Alexandra reflects on her Chapman experience, her role as a Senior Consultant at Deloitte, and the pivotal moments that shaped her career.

Chapman Experience: Packed and Unregrettable

“My Chapman experience was jam-packed, and I don’t regret it one bit,” says Alexandra. She emphasizes the importance of getting involved in extracurricular activities, stating that it introduces students to new interests, and different communities, and helps solidify strengths.

Alexandra’s involvement in various extracurricular activities shaped her college experience. From managing a $75,000 portfolio in the Janes Financial Center Residency Program to competing in the CFA Institute Research Challenge, her journey also included a leadership position on the Chapman Alpha Phi Executive Board.

In Alpha Phi, Alexandra served as Chapter President. “In this role,” she says, “I oversaw the establishment and implementation of strategic goals for the chapter, identifying key areas of focus and improvement. In addition, our chapter successfully led fundraising efforts for the Make a Wish Foundation and Alpha Phi Foundation supporting women’s heart health. We were able to raise $30,000 at our annual Red Dress Gala back in 2019.”

Further, Alexandra dedicated her time as a Moneythink Mentor at Orange High School, where she engaged with high school seniors, imparting knowledge on financial management and personal finance. “Through this mentorship, I aimed to empower students to set and achieve not only financial but also academic and personal goals,” she says.

One pivotal moment in Alexandra’s career was participating in the CFA Institute Research Challenge at Chapman. Leading her team to present findings on a publicly traded stock to a panel of esteemed judges, the experience opened her eyes to a career beyond accounting, solidifying her interest in finance and preparing her for the level of work required in her current role.

Journey to Deloitte: Building a Strong Foundation

Starting as an Audit and Assurance Associate at Deloitte in 2019, Alexandra recognized the importance of public accounting as a strong foundation. Her hard work and good reputation at the firm paved the way for her transition to the Mergers, Acquisitions & Restructuring Services group.

Currently, Alexandra is a Senior Consultant at Deloitte. She says the role of her position and department is to “help our clients through various types of financial transactions including, buying and selling companies.” Alexandra primarily works with large private equity clients who specialize in the technology, media, and telecommunication industries. “Conducting financial due diligence provides the acquiring or investing entity with a comprehensive understanding of the financial aspects of the target company,” she says. “This helps our clients make informed decisions, negotiate favorable terms, and mitigate potential risks associated with the transaction.”

Chapman’s Preparation for Post-Grad Career

Alexandra credits Chapman, especially the Argyros College, for preparing her for her postgraduate career at Deloitte. The intimate class sizes and challenging coursework facilitated enduring relationships with peers, a luxury not experienced by some colleagues from larger universities. The accounting program played a pivotal role in her success in studying for and passing the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) exam.

Professor Hank Adler and Professor Fadel Lawandy left a lasting impact on Alexandra. “He was always in my corner providing career and academic advice,” she says of Professor Adler. “We still catch up periodically.” Further, she says that Professor Lawandy’s commitment to real-world knowledge and technical skills played a significant role in preparing her for her postgraduate career.

Alexandra’s favorite class, “A Walk Down Wall Street,” provided insight into life after Chapman by connecting finance theory to real-world application. The educational trip to New York City, meeting business leaders and Chapman alumni, added a practical dimension to her finance education.

Advice for Students and Recent Graduates

Drawing from her experiences, Alexandra offers the following advice to students and recent graduates:

    1. You can’t go wrong with a degree in accounting, the career opportunities are plenty and a background in accounting is useful for almost anything.
    2. Chapman provides a tailored educational experience, so ask for what you want and find professors/staff who will support you in your professional and academic pursuits. Chapman made it possible for me to intern in Australia the summer of my junior year through Deloitte. This is one of my all-time favorite professional memories and it is thanks to the administrative staff at the Argyros College of Business for helping me meet the Australian immigration requirements.
    3. Whatever you choose to do right after college most likely won’t be what you end up doing for the rest of your life, so don’t put too much pressure on yourself to find the perfect first job.
    4. Get involved on campus in as many things as you can. You’ll meet friends that last a lifetime and it may open doors to new career possibilities.
    5. Hard work is rewarded, but it may not be right now so stay positive and know that it will come. Success often takes time and perseverance is key.

In closing, Alexandra extends a warm invitation to students and alumni, encouraging them to reach out with questions anytime. Her journey from Chapman to Deloitte stands as a testament to the enriching possibilities that arise from a well-rounded education and active campus involvement.


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