January 28, 2011
When he receives an MBA from the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School in May, Jason Gianola, a 2006 B&E accounting graduate, will go to work for the Boston Consulting Group (BCG).
It is a leading global management consulting firm with 71 offices in 41 countries and $2.75 billion in revenues (2009 figures), that was recently ranked second on Fortune Magazine's list of the 100 Best Companies to Work for.
With his experience there and the knowledge and abilities he will add to his formal education, he could go anywhere. However, he hopes to return to West Virginia one day. A Cross Lanes, W.Va., resident and graduate of Nitro High School, Gianola said his plan is to augment his experience and education to become a senior leader and to eventually return to West Virginia. "Returning to my home state is very important to me," he commented.
"At BCG, I hope to continue to build my strategic thinking and management skills and to further leverage my accounting skills that I learned at WVU and built upon at PricewaterhouseCoopers," he said. Gianola is one of the many B&E students who found an internship to be invaluable education. He worked for PricewaterhouseCoopers in Pittsburgh during his junior year before accepting full-time employment with the international accounting firm upon graduation.
"I feel that my academic and other experiences at WVU positioned me well to compete with my fellow Wharton classmates from prestigious universities around the world," he said. "If you have the motivation to seek out and make the most of opportunities that are available, there is no limit to what you can achieve."
He has done that. In addition to his internship experience during his undergraduate studies, while at Wharton Gianola took part in a class trip to Ecuador where his class worked on a project with a "client" in the food industry. During his winter holiday break this past semester, he did a "leadership venture" on the Corwith Cramer, a sailing ship where participants must take on roles of leaders. In the spring, he plans to travel to Egypt with other Wharton students.
Despite his travels, he still misses Morgantown. "Most importantly, I miss being in close proximity to my family, friends, Mountaineer Field, and the Coliseum," he said. "I also miss the excitement of just being there—Morgantown has a special energy, especially at the start of the school year or during the week of a big game."
Gianola is also keen on giving back to his alma mater and believes it is something that graduates ought to plan for, whether it's dollars or donations in time.
"I think giving back to WVU and the College of B&E goes beyond obligation—you should take pride and find joy in helping shape the College's future success," he said. "Each graduate should be creative and consider the most rewarding way to give back and be involved in the B&E community. Some may volunteer their time; others donate money, while still others may be in a position to help graduates with internships and full employment."
Gianola was a Foundation Scholar at WVU, served on the Executive Board of the Mountaineer Maniacs, was president of Beta Alpha Psi and a WVU tour guide. Off campus, he was a volunteer tutor at Easton Elementary for three years.