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Rafael Rodriguez
More Than I Imagined Seniors reflect on accomplishments and look ahead

Rafael Rodriguez

Graduation year: 2018

Majors: Accounting, business administration-finance

Internships: I started with two non-profit accounting internships, followed by a business management internship with Enterprise. I am currently interning as an accountant with Enterprise. In the summer, I will be doing a tax internship in Chicago with Deloitte.

Post-grad plans: Attending University of Illinois for my master’s. Then get my CPA. I’m hoping for an offer from Enterprise or Deloitte for a full-time job.

Why Augustana?

My uncle went to the school a long time ago, which is how I found out about Augustana. The reason I came here was because of football and academics. I really enjoyed my visit with the accounting department. I met Dr. Delaney, and he explained to me how well the accounting department sets up their students for careers after Augustana. 

Are you where you thought you’d be when you first came to campus?

The answer is no. The accounting department and CORE have allowed me to network, and get more opportunities then I ever expected.

Who helped you get to where you are now?

There are three main people who helped me get to the position I am in now. First Dr. Delaney—he has given me guidance in my career and my graduate program search. If there was ever a question I had, he would have an answer. I went to him for help on deciding which internships to take and what graduate schools to apply to.

Second is Nadia Schwartz—she started off as my first accounting teacher and is now my advisor. She has always asked how she can help me further my education and how to improve myself in my internships. She has been a great mentor during my career.

Lastly, Leslie Scheck—she helped me a ton with networking and completing my résumé. Without her, I don't know if I would have had as many opportunities.

Peak experience?

I don’t believe I have had a peak experience. If there is one thing I have learned from everyone who has helped me it’s that there are always more opportunities that can be better than the last one.

What surprised you?

I am better than I thought I was. I am very hard on myself no matter what I am doing, which leaves me to believe I am not as good as my peers. But going through these four years has shown me that I can be as good as my peers if I keep working hard.

What will you miss the most?

The accounting department. There are so many great teachers in this department.

Advice for the Class of 2022?

Don't be complacent, and take pride in your work.

“Rafael demonstrated an impressive skill set and drive when he signed up for several internships as a sophomore. He was actively seeking the real-life experience! I wholeheartedly agree with Rafael’s internship manager who stated, ‘Rafael has consistently gone above and beyond the requirements of an intern, surpassing even entry-level staff accountants. There is no doubt in my mind that with his passion and determination, he will succeed in all of his endeavors.’ I look forward to his updates from graduate studies in taxation and/or data analytics at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign.”

– Nadia Schwartz, assistant professor, accounting