Our Best & Brightest Go Abroad

“International accounting standards was a hot topic when I was an undergraduate student,” said Kathleen Bakarich, who graduated with an accounting degree from the Charles F. Dolan School of Business. “Germany had recently adopted EU standards and I was interested in what the effect would be.” A strong Fulbright proposal grew out of her curiosity.

Bakarich was interested in doing research internationally following a positive intersession trip to Florence between her sophomore and junior year. She felt confident that a Fulbright would be a good way to gain more international experience. As a student in Fairfield’s Honor’s Program, Bakarich, (with the help of her accounting advisor, Dr. Joan Van Hise), developed her Fulbright thesis in her junior year and completed much of the initial research in advance of when it was time to formally apply.

At the University of Frankfurt, Bakarich lived in a dorm with other German students, where she quickly improved her language skills. “I took German in high school, but switched to Spanish in college,” she explained. Prior to arriving in Germany she brushed up on her skills but noted, “When I was in Germany, I was at a much higher language level.”

In addition to her independent research on accounting standards, she took several courses (taught in German) on comparative German accounting, senior-level accounting, and corporate finance. Her research, which she submitted to the Fulbright commission in Germany, discussed the changing mindset of German auditors and accountants, transitions which, she reported, were difficult for the more conservative culture.

While her research was often independent, she gained valuable experiences at the German university. “It was great getting to know the people. I made many good friends, and living in the dorm really gave me a chance to interact with everyone,” she said. “You really feel like an ambassador, which is in line with the Fulbright goals.” Bakarich would often chat with Germans about U.S. culture, social norms, and especially politics because she was in Germany during the 2008 U.S. political elections.

Upon her return to the U.S., she began a position at McGladrey, a public accounting firm in Manhattan. She had already interned there while at Fairfield, and was offered a job following graduation, which she deferred for the Fulbright scholarship. She worked for three years as an auditor for McGladrey and in that time received her CPA for New York.

Last August, Bakarich was accepted to a Ph.D. program in international accounting at the City University of New York. Ultimately, she wants to teach at the university level. “I tutored in accounting while I was at Fairfield and it’s always been a goal of mine. I wanted to work for a few years and get experience and my CPA, but teaching is what I’ve always wanted to do.”

Left: Kathleen Bakarich ’08 in Germany; Right: Michael Davis ’08 was able to continuehis practice of Brazilian Jui Jitsu during his Fulbright experience in Sao Paulo.

Left: Kathleen Bakarich ’08 in Germany; Right: Michael Davis ’08 was able to continue his

practice of Brazilian Jui Jitsu during his Fulbright experience in Sao Paulo.

China

Matthew Ryder ’07

A population’s chance for assimilation found within

Matthew Ryder was already in China when he applied for his Fulbright scholarship. He had graduated in 2007 and, following graduation, worked over the summer to save money for a semester at Beijing University, rent, and a one-way ticket to China. Once there, he lived in a former communist work unit (not the most comfortable of places) and began his research on education opportunities for Chinese

moving to Beijing from elsewhere.

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