Jeannette Ma: Bridging the Gap Between Accounting and Technology

Today’s spotlight is on FIU accounting major Jeannette Ma, who is interning at the Small Business Administration (SBA) as a financial examining intern this Summer 2016. Through extensive public-private partnerships, the Small Business Administration aids Americans to “start, build and grow businesses” as well as to protect their interests throughout the U.S., Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and Guam.

We visited Jeannette at her office in the SBA to learn a little bit more about her internship experience and time in D.C., and how they in turn have shaped a shift in her professional future.

What exactly does the Small Business Administration office do?

SBA is a federal agency that allocates grants to our various small business development centers; these centers around the U.S. work directly with small businesses, providing them with counseling and grants. What my department does is look at the financial statements of these various centers to make sure that they’re using their money properly.

Tell us about your internship experience at the SBA this summer.

I started my internship in the financial examinations department. There, my team taught me about the EDMIS system, which is the database through which they store the various services that the SBA centers provide for their clients. This database allows us to know what each center has spent their time on, how many jobs were created, how many jobs were retained, and more. In an effort to get more hands-on experience with that tech part of my internship, I began working with the SBA program manager. As a result, on my off-time I learned Standard Query Language (SQL) online; it took me a couple of days, but I was very excited about this.

What has been the highlight of your internship for you?

One day, my project manager was encountering some problems with error messages within the system, so I suggested we build a macro! I told my project manager I’d never had any experience before working with macros, but that I’d try my best. For about two weeks, I started to learn how to write macro and program language. A 10-day free trial and some YouTube videos later, I was finally able to build the macro that we needed to solve the issue.

Where do you see yourself in the future?

After this internship, I’ve really shifted my career focus. Originally, my plan was to go into tax accounting. I’ve already worked at a CPA firm, and that’s what my world was back at Florida. But now, I’d really like to shift into accounting information systems. Learning SQL was kind of just dipping my toe in the world of the tech side.

When it comes to my future, I was originally just going to get my CPA and focus on taxes, but now I want to also get the CITP certificate. I’m thinking maybe I can go into systems design since I’m very problem-solving oriented. I want to be able to create solutions. My goal is to bridge the gap between accounting and technology with my background and my interests.

Interested in living and working or interning in D.C.? Contact FIU Career & Internship Success Manager Ethan Starkey at ethan.starkey@fiu.edu. To learn more about FIU in D.C., go to washingtondc.fiu.edu or follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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