Emma Grossman C’11 is the Assistant Controller at Cydcor, an outsource marketing and sales leader that assists companies in converting leads, attracting and retaining customers in Los Angeles. Emma began her career in public accounting working for two top-10 national CPA firms in both audit and taxation, McGladrey and CBIZ MHM. She went on to hold several positions of increasing responsibility in accounting and finance over the last 8 years from entry-level financial analyst to now directly reporting to the Chief Financial Officer. She received her Master of Accounting, from the USC Leventhal School of Accounting, and her Bachelor of Arts in Business Studies from Drew University with honors. She is a licensed Certified Public Accountant (CPA).
THE VALUE OF DREW
Emma was born and raised in Southern California and was recruited to play varsity basketball at Drew. When she came out for a visit, she fell in love with the beautiful campus and the many opportunities Drew offered. She took one course in Economics, with the whole Guns and Butter Equation, and it clicked. She started in Economics but she became a Business Studies major when Drew added that as a major. She said, “The business courses I took were super attractive for me to learn what I wanted to do next in Business. I ended up doing the Semester on Wall Street, and taking courses in Corporate Finance and Accounting which ultimately was the path I went down. The exposure was invaluable.” After the Semester on Wall Street she thought she might want to be an Equities Trader, but when the Recession hit in 2008 and the banks started collapsing, she decided to choose accounting as a safer option.At the time, there were a lot of people dealing with job loss or stressful situations because of the mortgage meltdown.
She was part of the DREW ECONOMICS AND BUSINESS SOCIETY (DEBS) and Emma said, “DEBS was an interesting first step in understanding how connections were so important. My parents always said network, network, network, make sure you don’t forget people, and never burn a bridge. Economics Prof. Marc Tomljanovich could call someone on a Saturday and a student would have a job interview on a Tuesday. He could impact people’s lives. It was a good experience to recognize how important networking is to get a job.” Emma said that all the Economics and Business professors were excellent at Drew, but she said, Prof. Marc Tomljanovich and Jennifer Olmsted were particularly supportive.
Emma’s first internship was with a Los Angeles CPA firm, Clumeck Stern, where she assisted when needed. Her second internship was with Hartford on the property and casualty side learning how to do business underwriting. She felt she was hired at Hartford because she was a unique candidate from a small liberal arts college like Drew. She then went back to Clumeck Stern because she really enjoyed it and she became a CPA because of the influence of a mentor in that internship.
Emma played on the Varsity BASKETBALL team at Drew and it was a great experience for her. She said, “Being a student and a college athlete is difficult but it really built the foundation of my adult life. The structure, determination, and discipline that it takes to be the best at something taught me a lot about business. The intensity in college is greater than high school. In college you wake up at 5 a.m. and run in the gym with your teammates. It’s a humbling experience to play competitive sports in college because you’re not the best, you’re not going to be the best. There is always someone better than you, so you figure out how to work really hard just to compete. I love seeing people on a team working together because in your adult life you’re constantly working with other people to get things done.”
Her favorite memories of Drew involve spending time with friends who became family because she was so far from home. Emma said, “I feel a lot of the success I’ve had is because of Drew. I was not very academic in high school but when I got to Drew people actually thought I was smart and this built my confidence in reading and writing, curiosity and being able to problem solve. Drew taught me how to educate myself and learn. I would not have had those opportunities without the experiences I had at Drew.”
MASTER’S IN ACCOUNTING
What inspired you to go for your Master’s in Accounting at the University of Southern California?
I looked at the path to become a Certified Public Accountant in the state of California and I needed an additional 150 credit hours. I was short about a year of school work. A Master’s in Accounting would put me right down the path to be a CPA. I didn’t think I’d get in because at that time USC was the # 1 graduate school for accounting, but I did well during the in-person interview. It was a very challenging program.
What are your job responsibilities as Assistant Controller at Cydcor?
I’m responsible for the accounting and financial reporting for the company and report directly to the Chief Financial Officer. I ensure that the financial statements are accurate each month and my team is responsible for all the general ledger transaction details which make up the financial statements.
What do you think is the key to your success in the field of accounting?
I think being personable. A lot of accountants are very black and white and as you climb the ranks and you become a controller and more of a director and interfacing with executives, bankers, and lenders, you have to take off your accounting hat and put on a business hat. I can get into the technical aspects with people but I can also back out of them.
What advice would you give a student who is interested in a career in accounting?
Try to get an internship with one of the larger firms and take as many accounting courses as possible. Most people start with financial and managerial. Even if you don’t have an accounting major, you still have a shot at landing an internship at a smaller firm.
If you could attempt any other career other than your own, what would it be?
Real estate renovation. I always had a thing for real estate because there is design and artistry to it.
If you could travel anywhere tomorrow where would it be?
Are there any fun facts you would like to share?
I like to play guitar and I am an avid snowboarder.