College of Business

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Patricia Thompson ’76

Patricia Thompson
  • Major: Accounting
  • Degree: B.S. 1976
  • Position: Partner, CPA, MST, PFS, Piccerelli, Gilstein & Company, LLP

When you think about your experience as a business student at URI, what are some of the most valuable lessons you learned?

I learned the importance of time management, which continues to be important to me in my career as a tax specialist constantly meeting IRS and state imposed deadlines. I also learned the importance of being focused. There may be many distractions around you but you need to stay focused to accomplish the assignments before you.

What were the best parts of your URI experience?

At my first accounting class, I knew I had chosen the right career. The professor was outstanding, and all the other professors I encountered during my years in the College of Business Administration were excellent—available to answer questions and provide guidance as needed. In addition, living on campus allowed me to become more independent living apart from my family. It was comforting to know my family was never far away.

What is most interesting to you about business in today’s world? The most challenging?

The thing most challenging about the business world is also what makes it interesting. The business world is always changing and  you need to keep up to be successful. In most cases, you will be able to learn something new everyday. The changes may include technology, laws, regulations, business approaches and reactions to the environment. The borders of the business world have also expanded to the international market, which may be the case even if you are working in a small business.

What advice would you give to a student today considering a major in business?

Working in business is very rewarding. There are many avenues for you to consider—whether you decide to work in public, private, or education. Be prepared to collaborate with others to provide your perspective on how to improve the business environment. Your colleagues may have different perspectives on how to achieve the company goals, but each of them is aware of the goals and works toward meeting them. Be able to communicate directly with others. There is nothing better than person-to-person contact—using emails or text messages is impersonal and makes it more difficult for you to form relationships with others. There may be difficult times due to the economy. Stay focused, keep a positive attitude, be part of the solution and not part of the problem, be a team player, and adapt to the new environment. Be open to opportunities. I don’t think you will get bored. If you do, maybe it is time for a change in career path.

What do you believe is most important for a new grad entering the workforce to understand?

Your career is more than working from 9 to 5. Career success requires commitment to lifelong learning and the ability to adapt as the business environment changes around you. It is important to get involved in professional and community organizations that will give you the opportunity to meet interesting people who may open doors that might not otherwise be open to you. It’s also important to understand that doors may open for you but you are the one that has to walk through the door and perform. Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone or to make mistakes. The opportunities available to you are tremendous. Seek out a mentor. Have fun while you work at your career. Try to have work/life balance.

One final thought on selecting an organization to start your career. Much research has been done to determine what makes an employee successful in an organization. When selecting an organization to work for, look at the needs of the organization and the skills you have to offer. When the organization’s needs overlap with your skills, you will be able to add value. Adding value to the organization will ensure your success.

 

 

 

 

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