Coles Grad Selected for Exclusive KPMG Master’s Program

 Jalisa Mapp
Jalisa Mapp

KENNESAW, Ga. (Dec 20, 2017) — Like many recent college graduates, Jalisa Mapp chose to continue her education by pursuing a master’s degree. However, unlike most students, one of the world’s largest accounting firms is paying for it.

Mapp graduated from the Michael J. Coles College of Business this month with a bachelor of business administration degree in accounting. Next fall she begins working towards her master’s degree in data analytics at the University of Missouri as part of a program sponsored by the accounting firm KPMG.

The yearlong KPMG Master of Accounting with Data Analytics program includes two semesters of on-campus coursework in Missouri and a semester-long internship at KPMG’s office in Atlanta. At the conclusion, Mapp will then have a two-year contract to work for the company’s audit department with the potential for promotion at the contract’s end. The entire program – including room and board – is paid for by KPMG as a way to train the next generation of auditors.

Mapp, who grew up in the small town of Lumber City, Ga. and was valedictorian of her high school class, has been actively pursuing her finance career since her first year of college.

“I started going to career fairs when I was a freshman even though I didn’t qualify yet for any of the jobs,” she says. “I was able to network with a lot of recruiters that way.”

Keeping up with opportunities posted by Kennesaw State’s Department of Career Planning and Development eventually helped Mapp land an internship in 2016 with Textron, a global conglomerate operating in the aerospace, defense, security, and technology industries. She has worked in the accounts payable department of the Kennesaw office for the past year.

Mapp found out about the KPMG data analytics program thanks to her participation in the National Association of Black Accountants, which she has been a member of since 2014. She also served as vice president of the Kennesaw State chapter during her senior year. In 2016 she attended a NABA conference, where she interviewed with a KPMG recruiter. The company offered her an internship in the audit department of their New York office during the summer of 2017.

“That was a great experience,” she says. “I love living in Georgia, but I was excited to have the chance to branch out and try out a new city. As an intern, I could do that in a safe environment.”

Shortly after the internship ended, she received an email asking her to apply for the data analytics program. Two interviews later, KPMG offered her a seat in the exclusive program.

In addition to helping her learn about the KPMG opportunity, Mapp also credits NABA with cultivating the skills that made her an attractive candidate for the position.

“NABA helped me improve my professionalism,” she says. “They have helped me build my resume, develop my communications skills, and have introduced me to so many other accounting, finance, and economics students.”

She says that organizations like NABA are important because they give all students – regardless of background – the opportunity to learn about the accounting profession in a welcoming environment, adding that NABA shows its members how they can help each other achieve their goals.

Helping others is a large part of why Mapp chose to pursue a career in accounting.

“Accounting allows you to improve other people’s lives,” she says. “Many people grow up not knowing how to budget or plan for their financial futures. Becoming an accountant would allow me to reach people like this in a way that connects. My plan is to one day teach financial literacy to young children and high school students.”

Mapp has long had a passion for helping others. She previously served on the Odyssey Peer Mentoring Program, where she assisted three students in building their class schedules, helped them develop better studying habits, and simply provided the students with someone who would listen to their challenges.

“I felt like a big sister,” she says.

As Mapp prepares for her first semester at Mizzou, which starts in fall 2018, she wants to thank the faculty at Coles College that inspired her throughout her time at Kennesaw State, including Dr. Benedikt Quosigk, faculty advisor for NABA, and Professor Debra Benson, whose internal auditing course motivated her to pursue auditing as her accounting focus.

With less than a year to go before she starts the next chapter of her life, Mapp says she is going to spend the next several months enjoying her personal interests of writing and photography, the latter of which she took up while living in New York last summer.

“Right now is the time to breathe for a minute and enjoy life,” she says.