From Charleston to China: Being Involved Can Help You See the World
Junior Accounting Major
Hometown: Charleston, Illinois
Activities: Study Abroad, Student Government,
Blair Jones, a junior accounting major in the School of Business, is what many would consider a "townie." She graduated from Charleston High School in 2009 and decided right away that she would attend the School of Business at Eastern Illinois University. Even though Blair chose to stay close to home while attending college, that does not mean she did not have the ambition to see the world. She soon signed up for a semester-long study abroad trip to China. The first two weeks were spent in Beijing at the University of International Business and Economics, where students on the trip attended lectures and took classes. In addition, they were able to travel to different businesses, which provided a great opportunity to see the difference between Eastern and Western business cultures. They were also exposed to the small town life in China when they traveled to Zhuhai, before finishing the trip in Hong Kong. "I highly recommend students take advantage of the opportunity," she says, "I thought I wouldn't want to be gone for a whole semester, that it was too expensive, etc. But there are ways around those things. There are financial aid options and scholarships."
Study Abroad in China also helped Blair to put into perspective how accounting can be different in businesses in different countries, which of course is important to her as an accounting major. She first gained an interest in accounting after taking basic accounting classes in high school. Blair said, "Accounting came really easy to me, and I enjoyed doing it. I never found anything else that interested me as much as accounting." Her fondness of accounting led her to EIU's School of Business which holds AACSB accreditation for both business overall and the accounting program specifically.
Blair is a member of several organizations, including Beta Alpha Psi, the Honors Accounting Fraternity. "EIU is great. All of the professors are amazing," she explains, "especially in the Accounting Department and Beta Alpha Psi where all of the professors are extremely knowledgeable about what is going on and are very helpful with resumes, cover letters, and really anything that students might need help with." As a member of Beta Alpha Psi, Blair is required to achieve a certain number of service and professional hours, so she participates in the different accounting luncheons and regular business meetings hosted by the fraternity. For service, Blair tutors financial and managerial accounting students, and has also helped with a donation drive at Rural King. By staying active with Beta Alpha Psi, she is able to supplement her education from the School of Business with participation in events like Accounting Day which provides opportunities for accounting students to network with professionals and recruiters in their field. Blair has also participated in CPA Service Day.
Blair is also active in Student Government, where she is a student senator, and she also serves as the liaison between EIU students and the Charleston City Council. Her main duty is to maintain a positive channel of communication between EIU students and Charleston community members. Blair points out, "Being from Charleston, I can appreciate what goes on here. I know that there is more to Charleston than just EIU, that there is a whole community out there. Students can do good things for the community ."
Blair is currently pursuing several different public and private internships, including BKD in St. Louis. She is currently undecided on her preference between public and private accounting, but she anticipates that after completing an internship she will find it easy to decide between the two career paths.