As a soon-to-graduate high school student in Islamabad, Pakistan seeking undergraduate studies in accounting, Sarah Zeb searched for academic opportunities in the United States, a place she felt to be the “land of opportunities.” With relatives living in Alexandria, Virginia, George Mason University not only offered the programs she desired, but was perfectly situated to allow Zeb to remain connected to family as she made her move to a new country.
Entering Mason as a freshman in the fall of 2011, Zeb was quickly overcome with Patriot Pride. She was astounded by the warm welcome of her peers and professors and their genuine concern for her well-being. She regularly encountered members of the faculty, staff, and fellow students who went above and beyond her expectations to ensure she felt comfortable and connected to resources available to make the most of her college experience.
Like many students at Mason, Zeb has taken advantage of on-campus employment opportunities to alleviate a portion of her tuition payments. Currently, Zeb works as an undergraduate teaching assistant for an upper-level financial management course and as a finance assistant in the Dean’s Office for the College of Science. Prior to her current roles, Zeb worked as an office assistant for the Office of Special Projects and Summer Term, a program aid for Learning Services, and an undergraduate learning assistant for an Environmental Science and Public Policy course.
Aside from working in various capacities around the university, Zeb is involved in several extracurricular activities in an effort to develop her skills as a young professional. Zeb is a member of the Golden Key International Honor Society, the Accounting Honors Program, and The International Honor Society of Beta Gamma Sigma.
In addition to her extracurricular involvement, Zeb makes sure to take advantage of networking opportunities and regularly attends events hosted by the School of Management. In October 2013, she was selected to attend The 8th Annual Business Alumni Celebration as a finalist for the undergraduate Emerging Business Leader Award, which recognizes students who have demonstrated the aptitude to become outstanding business leaders and distinguished alumni of George Mason University’s School of Management. While at the event, Zeb was given the opportunity to interact with Baker Tilly associates, managers, and partners giving her insight into life as an accountant from several different perspectives. In March 2014, she was chosen to receive a sponsored student ticket to attend the Women in Business Initiative’s VIEWPOINTS series kickoff event featuring University President Ángel Cabrera by Public Company Accounting Oversight Board member Jeanette Franzel, MBA ’92. When asked about the event, Zeb recalls the gratifying experience of discussing her career aspirations with Franzel and leaving with a feeling of affirmation in her desire to pursue a career in public accounting.
Zeb is not only grateful for her involvement in extracurricular activities designed to enhance her current academic and future career success, she often credits the aid of her academic, career, and financial aid advisors for having a profound impact on her life. In an effort to publically support the work of these offices, Zeb chose to share her experience and opinions about career services on college campuses by serving on the very first student panel at the Virginia Association of Colleges and Employers (VACE) Annual Conference. During the three day conference, Zeb shared her suggestions for increasing the visibility of career services across college campuses in Virginia.
As a result of her hard work both in and out of the classroom, Zeb has been recognized on several occasions for her success as a Mason student. In addition to being honored as a finalist for the 2013 Emerging Business Leader Award, Zeb’s academic prowess has earned her the James R. Beers Endowed Scholarship, which recognizes six of the top accounting students each year, the Northern Virginia Chapter of VSCPA Scholarship, and the Ruth A. and Gilbert E. Merten Endowed scholarship. She is also a regular recipient of the Provost Achievement Award.
Zeb expects to graduate in May 2015 with a BS in Accounting & Finance with a minor in economics. She plans to sit for the CPA exam and earn a position at one of the ‘Big 4’ public accounting firms. She attributes her success and accomplishments gathered along her undergraduate journey to her professors as they, in her words, “not only taught me, but also encouraged me, supported me, and provided me with advice.”