Accounting and Finance
If a model timeline of an international student’s academic career could be drawn, it would closely resemble Wenran’s list of achievements at Iowa. From hardworking student to club leader to peer mentor, she has broken through the language barrier to not only succeed personally, but to assist others in their success here.
Originally from Nanchang in southeast China, Wenran chose the University of Iowa for its high quality business program and the strong network of support for international students. Coming to Iowa with no prior experience in the US, she decided early on to step out of her comfort zone.
"I strived to catch every chance to improve my communication skills, and that’s my advice for international students coming to Iowa," said Xie. "Make friends with people that have different cultural backgrounds. Then participate more in class. If you know something, say something. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes.”
She took her own advice to heart and quickly got involved in student organizations at Tippie and the University, serving as Chair of Finance for the Financial Management Association, Orientation Leader for International Student Orientation, and as an Honors Peer Advisor for the Honors Program. But she wasn’t done there.
"After a few years’ experience, I felt like I wasn’t simply satisfied being the leader of a group of people," said Xie. "I realized that being a leader is also about serving people according to their needs, and I wanted to make a direct impact on my fellow students."
Wenran found an opportunity for service initially through the Career Center, where she served as a Career Peer Advisor, assisting students with their resumes and cover letters (an incredible feat in a second language).
She also held group tutoring sessions for Statistics for Business students through the University’s tutoring service. This led to the unique opportunity to serve as an undergraduate Teaching Assistant for the Financial Accounting and Reporting course, where she assisted the faculty member in preparing course assignments, coordinating graders, and holding additional tutoring sessions outside of class.
Wenran’s leadership and service on campus led to her being named as one of Tippie’s “21 under 21” for 2012.
In addition to her involvement on campus, Wenran also took advantage of study abroad opportunities, studying International Entrepreneurship in the Netherlands in the summer of 2013 with students from four continents.
She looks back on that summer as transformational.
"In this small class setting, I was immersed in the epitome of cultural diversity," said Xie. "I was amazed by how people from different countries, facing different problems, shared the same values about accounting.”
Her experience helped copper-fasten her career goal.
"I would like to become a partner in a public accounting firm’s assurance practice, with a focus on international financial service clients who have business units in the US," said Xie.
In keeping with that plan, Wenran accepted a position with Ernst & Young in Chicago, which will begin in January 2015. In the meantime, she is completing a Masters of Accounting at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia.
As she reflects back on her time at Iowa, her pride in her alma mater stands out.
“A degree from Tippie gave me a solid understanding of the accounting industry, pointed me in the right direction for my career, and prepared me to stay confident and competitive," said Xie. "An education from Tippie also helped me build a global vision. I share Tippie’s belief that business connects people, a belief I personally tested in summer 2013 in the Netherlands.”
For all her achievements, Wenran hopes to be remembered for her service to her fellow students.
She simply states, “I have done a lot of peer mentoring. I hope my students found my help to be beneficial.”