Kayla Cameron (Ricci), a Chapman University alumna with a B.S. in Accounting and a B.S. in Business Administration with an Emphasis in Marketing, describes her time at Chapman as “one for the books.” Initially, Chapman wasn’t her top choice, but reflecting on her journey, she acknowledges it as “one of the greatest things that has ever happened” to her. She credits Chapman for introducing her to lifelong friends, influential mentors, and instilling the confidence needed to pursue a successful career in finance.

A Career in Finance

Kayla is currently the Manager of Corporate Finance at Splunk. In this role, she prepares global expense and headcount reporting and forecasting packages for the broader Finance organization and executive leadership. Her journey into the corporate finance space was built on a strong foundation in accounting and finance operations. Kayla explains, “Through this analysis, I provide insights to current business trends and risks, while driving alignment and coordination with broader Finance and Accounting teams during monthly and quarterly closes.”

Her career began with three summer internships at Deloitte during her time at Chapman, which led to a full-time position as an Audit & Assurance Associate post-graduation. This role allowed her to gain valuable experience in auditing SaaS technology companies. After two years at Deloitte, she transitioned to Splunk, where she has held various roles in finance and eventually earned her promotion to Manager, Corporate Finance.

The Launchpad for Success

Kayla attributes much of her professional success to the rigorous academic environment at Chapman’s Argyros School of Business and Economics. The demanding course schedule taught her essential skills such as time management, problem-solving, and effective communication. Kayla recalls, “Chapman’s business school was fully equipped with professors who would go above and beyond to make sure that your success was met.”

Among the influential faculty, Professor Lacy Willis stands out. Her classes, though challenging, were instrumental in teaching Kayla perseverance and problem-solving. Professor Hank Adler also played a significant role, particularly in boosting her confidence in public speaking and presentation skills, which are crucial in her current role.

Campus Involvement and Its Impact

Kayla was actively involved on campus, notably as a member of the Pi Beta Phi sorority and the Accounting Society. Her time as Vice President of Philanthropy for her sorority taught her how to work with diverse groups to achieve common goals. Additionally, her involvement in the Accounting Society provided networking opportunities that were pivotal for her career. Reflecting on her campus involvement, she says, “Being involved in both Greek Life and the Accounting Society while also pursuing a double major that entailed a rigorous course load helped me refine my time-management and communication skills.”

Pivotal Moments

One of Kayla’s proudest moments was earning her MBA while working full-time, a testament to her dedication and time management skills. She also played a significant role in Splunk’s integration with Cisco, marking a milestone in her career.

For current students and recent graduates, Kayla offers invaluable advice: “A major in Accounting or Finance can truly set you up for a long, diverse, and prosperous career.” She emphasizes the importance of leveraging Chapman’s resources, networking, and getting involved on campus. Kayla encourages students to seek help from professors, network at every opportunity, and enjoy the journey despite the challenges. “Don’t be too hard on yourself! At the end of the day, hard work pays off but sometimes it’s a long journey so remember to enjoy the view along the way.”

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