by Darla Vasquez - Mar 27, 2017
Juanitha Makamwe is on track to graduate with her Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting from the Rawls College of Business in May 2017. Makamwe is the founding president of the Tech Chapter of the National Association of Black Accountants (NABA), a member of the Accounting Leadership Council (ALC), and a mentor/tutor with the Mentor Tech program. Throughout her time at Texas Tech, she has gained specific knowledge and skills that have prepared her to join the accounting industry upon graduation. In the Q&A below, find out more about her experience with the Rawls College and in the accounting field.
Why did you choose Texas Tech University, and more specifically, accounting?
In making my choice for college, Tech stood out the most because I wanted to be out of my comfort zone – more specifically, far from home and everyone I know. At the same time, I wanted to attend an institution that would provide me with an affordable quality education, and give me the chance to grow and stand out. Thanks to scholarships and the wonderful faculty, the Rawls College has done more than that for me.
I chose accounting for two reasons; the first one is that I felt I would enjoy the profession, and the second is that I felt it would best equip me with the financial skills I will need to pursue my nonprofit and entrepreneurial work in the future. I was born in Cameroon, and have a plan to go back and help build and give back to my birth country. I also plan on owning multiple businesses. I feel the accounting field gives me fair exposure to every aspect of different types of businesses, and being part of a prestigious program like that of the Rawls College has done more than prepare me for everything I would like to take on.
What student or extracurricular organizations do you participate in, and do you have any leadership roles? If so, what are your responsibilities?
I am the founding president of the up-and-coming Texas Tech Chapter of NABA. My duty is to expose our members to networking and professional opportunities in the industry. I also reach out to companies to seek sponsorship for our growing organization. On top of being a professional organization, NABA is a service group. Down the line, we hope to bring a few of the NABA specific community service programs like the Accounting Career Awareness Program (ACAP) to Texas Tech. Also, I am involved with the service-based branch of the Mentor Tech program.
How do the skills and knowledge gained at the Rawls College transfer to your experience beyond school?
I have undoubtedly gained technical skills that will be useful in my profession, but more importantly, I have gained people skills. Before transferring to the Rawls College two years ago, I had no notion of professionalism and less than mediocre communication skills. More than anything, Rawls has given me exposure through all the networking events I have attended and the people I have met – many of which are from all walks of life, share visions similar to mine, and have remained in touch with me. The most important thing I will take away with me after graduating is my ability to build meaningful, long-lasting professional and personal relationships.
What opportunities does the Rawls College provide to help you get ahead in the accounting field?
The Rawls College hosts numerous networking events and the Career Expo, which help to put students in contact with all kinds of firms. The program I have the most appreciation for is the Meet the Firms program specifically designed for accounting majors. Most schools don’t offer programs of the sort, so I am grateful for all the opportunities I have been offered through the process. There are also many student organizations that are there to help students and alumni uplift each other like Alpha, NABA, and the Accounting Leadership Council.
What do you enjoy most about studying at the Rawls College?
I enjoy the people more than anything. I was genuinely surprised by how much my professors have cared and gone out of their way to ensure that I do well. I know that it is rare to receive that sort of attention from professors from institutions as big as ours. I like that I am constantly being challenged, and I appreciate the family environment and comradely I share with other students. I felt this more than ever while founding NABA. I would have never been able to get it done without the help of many of my fellow students.
What advice would you offer students that are interested in studying accounting?
I would tell them to go into it with an open mind. Many people have a misconception of accounting and think of it as a strictly numbers-based subject, which causes them to go into it afraid and skeptical. They should know that, while accounting is in fact numbers based, there is a lot more to it than that. Those numbers tell a story and there is a bigger picture behind everything. It helps a lot when you start to view things on a larger scale. You should also know that everyone in Rawls is rooting for you to succeed. All you have to do is voice any concern you have, and there will most likely be more than one professor ready to help. The accounting program is definitely no walk in the park. It has been the most challenging experience in my life, but the end product is beyond rewarding and makes it all worthwhile.