Release Date: 5/12/2014
In three short years since graduating from University of the Ozarks with a degree in accounting and economics, Meagan Ponseigo finds herself as a freshly-minted certified public accountant for one of the top oil and gas companies in the world.
Meagan Ponseigo, a 2011 accounting and economics graduate, is working in the International General Accounting group for Marathon Oil Corporation in Houston, Texas, a job she landed just months after graduating from Ozarks.
Ponseigo, who graduated from Ozarks in 2011, began graduate school at Texas A&M in August of 2011 and had a job offer with Marathon Oil Corporation in Houston, Texas, just two months later. Marathon Oil is an international exploration and production company with operations in North America, Europe and Africa.
She earned a master's degree in accounting from Texas A&M in 2012 before starting work at Marathon and embarking on the rigorous four-part CPA exam. She passed her fourth and final CPA exam in February of 2014.
"It's really been a hectic past couple of years for me," said Ponseigo, a native of Plano, Texas. "It's been a lot of hard work, but it's definitely been worth it."
As an accountant in Marathon's new-hire finance and accounting rotational program, Ponseigo has the opportunity to try three different finance and accounting positions within the company over the course of three to four years. She is currently in the International General Accounting group. Her first rotation was in the Invoice Audit group.
"I even had the opportunity to take a temporary assignment in North America Production Operations Accounting group in San Antonio for three months in 2013," she said. "It's really been a great opportunity to get first-hand experience of how different areas work within the company and to find out what area you like the most."
Ponseigo said she is excited about a career with Marathon Oil, which paid for her CPA study materials and exam fees.
"I feel like Marathon has invested in me and I hope to build a career for myself there, while getting to see different aspects of the business," she said. "I am open to trying numerous opportunities that will help me grow professionally at Marathon, such as trying a job in a different department out of my comfort zone or perhaps even going on an assignment in one of Marathon's international locations."
She credited her undergraduate education at Ozarks for helping her land a position at an elite international company just months after graduation.
"My Ozarks education helped me land a job out of college by providing me with the necessary skills to compete: communication, confidence, and work ethic," she said. "Ozarks' small campus really provided ample opportunity for everyone to shine, which helped build my self-confidence. Having confidence in yourself is very important when looking for a job because it is that driving force to keep you going, regardless of whether or not you have a couple bad interviews or don't get an offer for every job you applied to. I also believe that group projects and presentations helped me hone my communication skills while at Ozarks, which is very important in the workplace as you are communicating or working with others in a team-setting on a day-to-day basis. Finally, I believe my work ethic that I gained while at Ozarks proved to be very useful in grad school, applying for jobs, and work itself. Applying for jobs while in school can be very time-consuming and tiring, but if you have the right work ethic, you will be able to get everything accomplished that you set your sights to. You will also need that work ethic once you get the job because you won't have someone over your shoulder telling you what to do every day."
Ponseigo lauded her business professors for helping her succeed at Ozarks and prepare her for graduate school and the CPA exams.
"My accounting professors, Ms. Deborah Sisson and Mr. Joel Rossmaier, were always there for me while I was at Ozarks," she said. "It was because of them that I kept at it. I believe that they provided a strong accounting foundation that I was able to continue to build upon in grad school. They also didn't sugarcoat the workload, and always kept us busy. At the time I'm sure I didn't enjoy the home work and projects every night, but it definitely helped me prepare for the work load at Texas A&M. Ms. Sisson was also my academic advisor, and she was there for me to talk to about classes, grad school applications, and my future in accounting. They both gladly provided me with letters of recommendation as well."
Ponseigo said one piece of advice she would have for incoming college students who want to pursue a career in accounting would be, "Don't just go into the classes looking for the grade."
"You really need to be able to understand business and accounting, not just be able to rattle off definitions or principles," she said. "The classes will challenge you, but that is what will help you grow as a business student. If you plan on continuing your education past Ozarks, you will need to have a strong foundation to build off of, so make sure you get everything out of your classes as you possibly can. You never know when that cost accounting or business strategy class might come in handy later down the road. All of my business classes have proved useful in grad school, preparing for the CPA, and in the work place."
Since graduating from Ozarks, Ponseigo said she has come to appreciate her Ozarks experience even more.
"I wouldn't trade my days at Ozarks for anything," she said. "I would describe my overall Ozarks experience in one word: involved. I always had something to do while I was at Ozarks because I, like most Ozarks students, was involved in many activities outside of classes. I was always busy with my course workload, work study in the Advancement Office, and extracurricular activities such as CAB, PBL, and Rotaract. By participating in student organizations, I was also able to take on various leadership opportunities to develop myself further as well. Not only were students involved, but professors and Ozarks employees were also involved in activities outside of the classroom at Ozarks. They really care about the school and students, and went the extra mile to be involved in the students' lives. It is such a close knit and welcoming environment."