Accounting for Achievement
Jamie Rizzo (MS Accounting, ’13), Vice President, Aflac Global Investments
Jamie Rizzo (MS Accounting, ’13) credits a high school landscaping job with inspiring him to study accounting. Growing up, the Delaware native spent his summers maintaining the grounds of a private, 110-acre estate that belonged to a member of the du Pont family. It wasn’t that he disliked physical labor. To the contrary, “It was so much fun—very peaceful, being outdoors,” Jamie recalls. “But I used to watch the owner’s accountants pulling up in their BMWs and think, ‘Someday I want to be in that seat!’”
The product of a quintessential all-American upbringing—youngest of five kids, parents married 50 years, high school football and basketball—Jamie earned BA and MBA degrees and a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation, and worked for over a decade in banking and financial analysis. But he needed a more solid accounting background to take the next step into investments.
“Accounting is extremely important in investing,” explains Jamie, who is vice president at Aflac Global Investments. “You need to be able to read financial statements to decide whether a company is worth investing in. It’s like reading another language.” His decision to pursue Zicklin’s MS in Accounting degree was “a no-brainer,” he laughs. “The program was well regarded nationally and I knew several Zicklin grads from my jobs.”
The school’s greatest strength? The passion of its students, Jamie believes: “They’re more driven than any I’ve ever seen. It’s like they can’t get into the workforce fast enough.” Jamie’s own passion is helping them do just that. Not only has he written a career guide for business majors and offered advice as a hiring manager for a Graduate Career Management Center podcast, but he is also a mentor in Baruch College’s Executives on Campus program, through which two Zicklin students he advised this year got internships at BlackRock and Moody’s.
“People often approach me for advice and I always take the time to help them reach their goals,” Jamie says. “I was in their shoes once, looking for answers. I like rolling up my sleeves and getting into specifics.”