Before coming to WSU four years ago, Mihaela Berindei (’18 Acc.) was a full-time member of the Romanian women’s rowing team. Her dream was to become an Olympian and a professional athlete.
An unexpected call from WSU rowing coach Josh Adams changed all of that when he offered her an athletic scholarship to row for the WSU women’s team.
“Choosing to study at WSU was one of the best decisions I made,” says Berindei. “It allowed me to develop in a way that would not have been possible by staying in Romania. It helped me find new passions and academic interests. WSU connected me with a whole new level of global and cultural understanding—a priceless experience that really changed me and the way I see the world.”
Berindei’s career focus turned from becoming a professional athlete to becoming a business professional who could create opportunities for others.
HARMONY OF SKILLS BETWEEN ATHLETICS AND BUSINESS
“When I took my first accounting course in the Carson College of Business, I felt a natural affinity for it. I just knew that was something I could excel at and use to make a positive difference in the lives of others,” she says.
Berindei’s athletic and accounting programs were complementary in that they both emphasized essential skills such as networking, time management, selfdiscipline, and commitment. In both realms, she built relationships and grew as an individual by mentoring and tutoring other students. She also became an officer in Beta Alpha Psi, an international honor organization for financial information students and professionals. Berindei met weekly with business professionals and hosted recruiters from accounting firms such as PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), where she completed an internship in the risk assurance area.
“The PwC internship was my first introduction to the real life of a professional. It felt like when I first arrived in the United States—a culture shock,” says Berindei. “I was totally challenged, but by observing and learning from professionals, I quickly learned how to communicate professionally when interacting with clients, navigate a wide range of projects, and use shortcuts when utilizing different data applications.”
PLANS TO ANSWER AN INTERNATIONAL CALLING
After an intense recruiting process and the culmination of her internship, PwC offered Berindei a full-time position as a risk assurance associate before she graduated. She hopes to eventually work in PwC’s advising and consulting sector to prepare for two additional callings: assisting people who have been displaced due to civil unrest, war, famine, or other natural disaster, and creating economic opportunities for Romanian communities through micro-financing.
“As a former Eastern Bloc nation, the transition for Romania since the breakup of the USSR in 1990 has been difficult. I hope to provide services and philanthropy to expand opportunities for all Romanians to attain education, economic stability, health and wellness, and secure futures,” says Berindei.