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Let’s hear it for Part 2 of the Faces of JSOM series with Mary Beth Goodrich, who has been breaking the accountant paradigm for more than 20 years.
Q: Going back to when you were our age, in your 20s, what were you like?
I was, believe it or not, a super serious student. I made really good grades but was still pretty immature. I always held down jobs. In fact, one time I had three jobs, was taking 21 credit hours and was president of the accounting society.
I was extremely driven, as a 20-something-year-old, but I also really, really liked to have fun. Those things were always in conflict for a lot of my life, but I still managed to be magna cum laude for undergrad and honors in grad.
My grades were good, but I still wished I had been more mature back then. I was also president of the MBA Association, I was treasurer of the Newman Club and treasurer of the pre-law and politics society. I did all this because I really didn’t know what I wanted to do. I took plenty of aptitude tests in college, and they suggested that I might enjoy being an IRS agent — I already told you, I hated tax — or perhaps a funeral director. I laughed out loud when I first saw that on my aptitude test.
Q: That's a bit morbid...
Well, think about it. Loving people is probably one of the things I really enjoy the most. In my down time, I don’t want to be by myself, I want to hang out. [Being a funeral director] involves people that are very good at communicating, helping people at the hardest time possible, and I’d probably be pretty good at it, and genuinely cry with everyone who came in.
I went and did an informational interview with a funeral director, and he explained how personable you have to be. The downside is that you have to be prepared to be ready at any time, 24/7, and then you have to help prepare the bodies, and at that part, I realized there was no way I could do that!
Q: If you were to write a book, what would the title of that book be?
Well, that's easy. I'm actually writing a book right now, which is Business Process Configuration, with SAP-ERP, which will be out pretty soon.
The book I really want to write is an international student's guide to thriving in the U.S. What are all the tips that an international student needs to know? I was going to call it a thrive guide — how to thrive as a student in the U.S. The first version would be aimed at Chinese students with some Chinese terminology and talking about bridging the gap, and how I was able to bridge the gap with the Chinese student population. After that, I would open it up to doing a more general book for all international students.
Q: I know you are very active in the employment area of social media, including Twitter. Why is that? This is not very common for professors, especially in accounting...
It’s not normal. The reason I do it is because I think there’s a huge opportunity especially for the student population that I teach to differentiate themselves through social media in a good way. I'm very passionate about using social media to help further your career, and I think a student should, for example, start a blog of experiences, like transitioning from IT to accounting. When you are interviewing for a job, you can say, “Well, I have some of my articles on my blog.”
There’s so much free marketing available to students, LinkedIn is one, but it’s not the only one. I think Twitter is getting super hot, and it’s a great way to differentiate yourself. A goal of mine is to possibly become a LinkedIn LION LinkedIn Online Networker), which is having at least 10,000 contacts, but first, I would like to get 1,000 follows on Twitter.
Q: So, on to some top three’s, starting with your top three favorite movies?
1. Office Space
2. Steel Magnolias
3. My Big Fat Greek Wedding
Q: Top three favorite foods?
2. Mexican food, or anything related to it, like Tex-Mex
Q: Top three things on your bucket list?
1. Visit all 50 states, only have three left
2. Write the “thrive guide” book
Q: Top three things that make you happy?
1. My husband and my kids, seeing them develop skills that they can use as adults
2. My faith, and being involved in my church, and pushing myself to be a better person overall
3. My job, thinking about “Could I make an impact on someone today?”
Q: Anything to add for those reading the JSOM Perspectives page?
If you’re part of our UTD family, I would take full advantage of all the opportunities. And if you’re not, you should seriously consider becoming a part of it as a student or faculty; it’s a great place to be. Employers should really take advantage of the quality of students we have here for positions because the students are a really rare breed of super professional and really smart.