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Company Culture

You may know exactly what you want your future job to be, but have you thought about what workplace setting you might prefer? We often think of our future careers in terms of job title or specialization. However, company culture can have a significant impact on your day-to-day role. To better understand company culture, I reached out to two UBWA alumni, Hayley Dougherty and Morgan West. While both work as accountants, they operate in two very different workplaces. Hayley has experience in the public accounting and restaurant industries, specifically, Bibibop and Chipotle. Morgan has experience working at a non-profit higher education institution, namely THE Ohio State University.


Hayley Dougherty graduated from OSU in 2015 with a BSBA in accounting. During her four years in UBWA, Hayley served as the VP of Programming and President of UBWA. Her involvement gave her a chance to develop her leadership skills, learn about different career paths, and meet some of her closest friends. Hayley spent three years in public accounting audit before working in the fast-casual dining industry. She is currently a Senior Financial Accountant at Chipotle.


Hayley would describe the company cultures at Chipotle and Bibibop as casual and adaptable. One reason for this is because the companies were founded more recently. According to Hayley, “When a company doesn’t have 100 years of history and tradition to lean on, it develops a culture and identity reflective of the time and the initial leaders, and is also more able and willing to pivot and make changes.” One way these companies have embraced change is by focusing on employee satisfaction and well-being. For example, allowing flex time and a more relaxed work environment. As Hayley states, “Chipotle specifically does an outstanding job of not just saying ‘take care of yourself’ but also backing it up.” Additionally, younger companies are more likely to prioritize values such as DE&I and mental health.


In contrast to the restaurant industry, Hayley describes public accounting as more formal and regulation-based. This difference is due to the client-facing nature of public accounting firms. “That’s not to say that public [accounting] doesn’t do happy hours or casual Fridays, but being that it’s client service, the goal is to always present the most polished and professional experience to clients,” says Hayley. The goals of internal accounting, such as accounting for a restaurant, and public accounting also differ significantly. Internal accounting focuses on analyzing data for use within a company. As Hayley explains, “when dealing with internal data, there is always a focus on finding new, better, more creative ways to do business and get more accurate information.” Conversely, public accounting firms focus on external accounting, providing information to third parties. As such, external accounting tends to have set procedures and regulations.


Morgan West graduated in 2017 with a BSBA in accounting and minors in Legal Foundations of Society (Law) and Economics. Morgan joined UBWA as a freshman and served on the Buckeyethon Committee and as VP of Member Relations. Through UBWA, Morgan was able to connect with other business majors and support pediatric cancer research. Morgan began her career at Ohio State as a student in the Accounts Payable department of the Office of Sponsored Programs. She is currently a Senior Accountant in the Grants Accounting department of the OSP.


Morgan has many good things to say about working at the Ohio State University. According to Morgan, “Ohio State cares about their employees well-being and strives for employees to be the best version of themselves.” The university offers many employee benefits including free tuition, health and wellness training, and mental health days. Morgan describes her team’s culture as supportive and inclusive. As Morgan states, “In the area I work in, there is a great sense of pride since we are assisting researchers in solving the world’s biggest problems like COVID-19, cancer, energy, etc.” Above all, Morgan finds working for a non-profit institution rewarding because the primary goal is making the world a better place.


​Both alumni shared some excellent advice for undergraduate businesswomen on finding the right job fit. First, be open to trying things outside your major and talk to others about their careers. As Morgan says, “You won’t know if it’s right for you unless you give it a chance.” Second, focus on finding the right job fit for your goals, personality, and values. As Hayley illustrates, “It can be similar to dating and relationships: someone can be a good person but not be right for you if your values and goals don’t align.” When searching for the right workplace, it helps to know what is truly important to you. Hayley recommends identifying your “three absolutes you have to have.” Lastly, remember that no company culture is perfect, but don’t be afraid to leave if you realize it’s not the right job for you.

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