Lauren Castiglioni always knew she wanted to do something in business. â€śI was on the dance team in high school and a social officer planning parties and t-shirts.â€ť It was a lot of fun, but when she got to Rice, her interests leaned in a more studious direction. The Sugar Land, Texas, native majored in psychology and minored in business. â€śItâ€™s interesting to me. I love all the research we get to read in classes. Learning how people interact is fascinating, and all the professors are so great.â€ť
At 4â€™11â€ť Laurenâ€™s enthusiasm eclipses her relatively small stature. She matches her passion for psychology with service to the community in Rice Splash, a program for inner-city school students. â€śI teach a class called the Psychology of Harry Potter. Iâ€™m a big Harry Potter nerd, and Iâ€™m a psychology major so Iâ€™m teaching it again this year.â€ť
During Dr. Zeffâ€™s class she heard the business school had a MAcc program years ago, but it wasnâ€™t until the next semester that she heard about the re-launch. â€śThe advanced classes were taught by Dr. Lansford. Heâ€™s one of my favorite professors. After I took the accounting class I knew that was something I liked. That was when I found out.â€ť The MAcc was back.
Laurenâ€™s father, Randy Castiglioni, associate vice president, Administrative and Enterprise Systems & Services at Rice, had been a CPA. He was excited. So was Laurenâ€™s uncle. They both encouraged her to pursue the Master of Accounting.
As with all the Rice seniors applying to the MAcc program, Lauren interviewed for an internship on campus first with all the Big Four firms. She went for second round office interviews at EY, PwC and Deloitte. â€śThe main thing I used to make the decision had to do with the people I met. The people at EY were friendly, and the culture seemed open. They said the partners would come in and talk to the interns.â€ť
Her sincerity about the internship is palpable. â€śIâ€™m going to be auditing in the Houston office,â€ť she explained. But itâ€™s clear thatâ€™s more of a dress rehearsal. What does she hope to gain from the Master of Accounting degree? â€śA good foundation in accounting so that I can start my career with a solid understanding. I want to stay in public accounting for the next five years.â€ť