Homecoming royalty finds outlet for the liberal arts in accounting

While Jonathan Muth’s involvement on campus landed him a spot on the Student Homecoming Court last weekend, it’s his unique education background that gave him a leg up during this internship with KPMG -- a global network of professional firms providing audit, tax and advisory services -- this past summer.

During his eight-week internship in New York City, Muth applied his coursework as a Smeal student in accounting and finance to his work in the organization’s advisory department. However, it was his skills from his Spanish major and versatile liberal arts background that allowed him to thrive there. Muth is currently in his last semester of the master of accounting program with a dual degree in Spanish.

“I spent most of my internship working in a small team, applying my strengths to best serve our goal of providing a service to the client,” said Muth, an Ellicott City, Maryland native. “The most important attribute to our team's success was communication, such as knowing when to ask questions and how to present your findings. I practiced both of these in each Spanish class I took in the College of the Liberal Arts.”

While at KPMG, Muth worked and participated in various training sessions. During the summer, he asked for more work and earned the credibility to end up working with a Fortune 30 client in Florida, invaluable experience for a student getting ready to graduate and looking to break into the industry.

“My path to KPMG must begin by proving myself to the firm through hard work and learning quickly so I can prepare myself for the opportunity to provide excellent service to clients in a foreign language,” he said.

After graduating in December, Muth plans to bike across the country before beginning a career in accounting. He hopes to work in KPMG’s Madrid office one day and attributes that interest to the world view his coursework as a Spanish major instilled in him.

“The problems European firms face can be unique to problems I helped clients solve during my internship, but the ability to adjust to unique environments will allow me to solve those problems.”

Because of the impact his liberal arts studies had on him, Muth recommends other liberal arts students be just as receptive to opportunities as he was, given their adaptive value across industries.

“KPMG, at its core, is a service-oriented firm. Service requires diverse backgrounds and unique skill sets. Although it may be an accounting firm, each project requires insight that accountants alone cannot provide.”

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Last Updated November 30, 2017