In an interview from 2018, Anthony Fragapane reflects on the lessons he learned during his time at St. Edward's University, and how extracurricular activities and travels shaped his college experience.
- BBA in Accounting Information Technology (AIT), Class of 2018
- Participated in KPMG’s Summer 2016 IT Advisory Internship Program
- Accepted a full-time offer to join KPMG’s IT Advisory Team upon Graduation
Why did you choose to major in AIT?
Going into college, I was Finance major with a minor in Computer Science. I knew I wanted to do either finance or accounting, and I also knew that I had a passion for technology. I didn’t even know the Accounting Information Technology program existed until I spoke with Professor Catherine MacDermott about what I wanted to do with my career. She told me about the career opportunities this double major opens up for students, and after talking with Dr. Louise Single, the chair of the Accounting program, I determined that this was the best major for me, considering my interests and skill sets.
What do you enjoy about your coursework?
I enjoy the small class sizes. For me, the class sizes allow me to get to know my professors very well. This has resulted in many of my professors turning into mentors, providing me with opportunities to grow professionally, both on campus and in the business world.
What are some lessons you learned from professors or mentors in the business school?
In my Business Communication class, Dr. Michelle Region-Sebest taught me how to market my skill sets at recruiting events and network with professionals in my field. These invaluable skills helped me develop contacts at KPMG, and eventually, interview well enough to receive an internship offer.
How should business students build their networks?
Although St. Edward’s is a small university, the alumni network offers many connections in the business world. A great way to seek out these connections is going through your professors. The way I got my foot in the door with KPMG was through a KPMG associate named Alex Patterson, who graduated from St. Ed’s with a degree in AIT in 2014. I was introduced to Alex by Dr. Single, and he was beyond helpful ever since I met him. Alex was the guy that got me my first interview, the guy that helped me go the extra mile during my internship, and the guy that eventually pitched to the partners that I should be offered a full-time position. He’s a great mentor who has helped me excel both as a student at St. Edward’s and as a professional.
Have you participated in any extracurricular activities during your time at SEU?
I am the president of the club lacrosse team, an officer in the Accounting Club and a member of Delta Sigma Pi, a business fraternity on campus. I am also a member of the university’s Honors Program. Last summer, I was able to participate in a university-led study abroad program, where I was able to spend two and a half months studying in Japan, Malaysia and Thailand.
I’ve interned on the asset management team at Vida Capital, which is a hedge fund in Westlake, Texas, and I’ve interned on the IT Advisory team at KPMG. I recently accepted a full-time offer to rejoin the IT Advisory team in KPMG’s Houston office after I graduate in 2018.
Have these experiences helped you clarify what you want to do after graduation?
Studying abroad helped me discover my passion for learning about and experiencing different cultures. I now hope to complete a one- to two-year rotation in a KPMG office outside of the United States.
What advice do you have for current SEU business students, particularly those about to start an internship?
Attitude is everything. As an intern, the company you’re working for isn’t expecting you to do everything correctly the first time around. However, they’re expecting you to demonstrate that you can learn from your mistakes, ask good questions and work well with others. These are skills that are easy to develop with a positive mindset and strong work ethic.
Also, you’re never too young to do an internship. There are tons of companies that are willing to hire underclassmen and give them real business experience, as long as they show their eagerness to learn and work hard. I had a preconceived notion that I would not be able to complete a Big Four internship until my junior or senior year at the earliest, and now I am signed with one of the Big Four before I even start my upper-level accounting and IT courses.