Olivia Wilson, Startup Moxie Class of 2017

October 10 , 2018

Meet Olivia Wilson, a double major, Accounting and Finance, sophomore at Manchester University. She joined Startup Moxie in 2016, graduating from the program in 2017. Below she shares her story of courage, transformation, and, ultimately, determination.

In Her Own Words…

My experience with Startup Moxie was intense, stressful, and exciting. I, along with many of my classmates, wanted to leave South Bend and the surrounding areas and never look back. While immersed in Startup Moxie, I learned so much about my community and I truly believe this is a wonderful place to live and work.

What did I learn in Startup Moxie?

  1. Great networking skills which led me to gain more confidence in myself. I always thought I was a naturally outgoing person until I had to introduce myself and hold conversations with people with business influence from the South Bend – Elkhart region. Gradually, I became more comfortable with my surroundings and was able to form great connections.
  2. It is important to really get to know people you work with. Everyone has different strengths and different ways of getting work done. If you know how people work, plans get done effectively.
  3. Planning a large-scale event and starting my own business taught me real time management skills, and how to finish high stress projects. I always thought I was great at time management. I was in sports and had good grades my whole life. Once I became involved in Startup Moxie, I realized that was not the case.
  4. Every class I took had something to offer me if I chose to see it.
  5. The importance of company culture. If you like the people you work with and the company matches your values, your job will feel less like work.

How did I apply what I learned?

  1. All skills I learned in Startup Moxie prepared me for college more than I could have imagined. Classes were a breeze since I knew how to manage the work that needed to be done. Many students complained about having to take classes that were outside of their major, but I was able to embrace the fact that those classes make us more well-rounded individuals.
  2. The business professors had to beg for the other freshmen to attend the Accounting and Sales Mixers and Career Fairs, and I was excited to get my foot in the door. The other students were nervous, and I was confident. After attending my first mixer and using the skills I learned in Startup Moxie, I was invited to tour and connect with accountants at Kruggel Lawton. Typically, freshman aren’t able to get internships at accounting firms, so the recruiter for Kruggel Lawton suggested that I find a local business and intern with their accounting department.
  3. Securing an internship at Bradley Company.

My Internship Experience

I was originally hired at Bradley as an accounting intern, but was asked if I would be able to work with Lease Administration. As a freshman, I knew I couldn’t be picky, and I wanted to gain experience in any way I could.

I spent the summer auditing leases and entering clauses into an online software. My boss, Sarah Eddy, taught me what to look for when auditing and what to enter, but for the most part I worked by myself. No one treated me like I was just some “kid intern,” and I never had to get coffee or “do their dirty work.” I was given a lot of responsibility and was able to work at my own pace, without someone else micromanaging. I learned what an office setting is like, what to expect out of team meetings, and how to interact with people of all ages and positions.

My time with Bradley Company gave me career experiences in a warm and inviting environment, empowering me to deliver my best work every day.

“Olivia quickly gained a working competency for lease language and our software programs. I was thoroughly impressed with her aptitude to understand the terms, her attention to minute details and greatly appreciated the ease in which she handled challenges and changes.  She approached the project with integrity, ambition and was fully committed to hitting our team goal by the end of her internship. She kept meticulous records, allowing her to answer and ask questions quickly, accurately and thoroughly. Weekly, she provided the Commercial Real Estate and Accounting teams with a recap of her progress and items that required further attention. Thanks to Olivia’s strong work ethic, ability to work independently and aptitude to get the job done right the first time, we were able to reach our goal.

Olivia is a true shining star and one that any company who values quality talent is sure to want on their team. With her skill sets and demeanor, nothing but success is in her future.” – Sarah Eddy, Lease Analyst, Bradley Company

The Future

At the end of summer, I met with Crowe’s Talent Acquisition Manager and I was invited to the Learn to Lead program in the summer of 2019. This program is a two-day networking and team building event where students are able to meet with the people at their preferred Crowe office. This can also lead to an internship offer, and eventually a full-time position.

I am very hopeful and excited for this experience, as I would love to work at the South Bend Crowe when I graduate. At this year’s Accounting and Sales Mixer, I have secured an interview with Kruggel Lawton for an internship this summer. I have been asked to return to Bradley, but I would love to gain experience at an accounting firm. Next year, I plan to study abroad in Barcelona, Spain for the fall semester. I want to become as fluent in Spanish as I can and learn a new culture. I also plan to graduate with a double major, with 150 credit hours, in four years, so that I can immediately prepare to take the CPA exam.

Notes from RISE about Olivia: To say she has determination is selling short the level of perseverance and sheer grit she possesses. She embraces the culture of RISE through her willingness to take advantage of every opportunity presented to her, her ability to learn from failure, and her commitment to putting in the work – ensuring she is the author of her future story. One of Olivia’s sisters, Grace, is currently participating in the Startup Moxie Class of 2019 and while their passions are at opposite ends of the spectrum it is clear the “grit-factor” is a Wilson family trait!