Andrew Rivera was the President of ISACA SJSU of Spring 2014. Andrew worked very hard, often behind-the-scenes, to make our student group valuable and helpful to our members. Andrew is an AIS major and has interned with PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP and has accepted a full-time offer there. Here, Andrew shares with us his story and advice:
Why did you first join ISACA SJSU?
I joined ISACA because I was new to San Jose State and didn’t really know anyone at the time. I also had no idea what AIS was about or anything about what career choices were out there and how to get there. Knowing that student clubs could help me answer some of these questions, before transferring from De Anza I looked to see what clubs I should join. I came across ISACA and it sounded interesting.
Where have you interned, or where are you currently interning?
I have interned at PwC, twice actually. The first time I interned in their sophomore internship program which is more general business related. The second time I interned in their junior internship which is more related to the service line I am interested in, Risk Assurance.
What did you learn/do during your internship?
The first internship I did with PwC was their sophomore program known as Start (http://www.pwc.com/us/en/careers/campus/programs-events/start.jhtml). During this internship I worked with the HR team. This internship, since it is geared toward freshman and sophomores, was with the firm’s supporting business units and not their service lines. This was a great opportunity to learn more about the firm as a whole and the different service lines offered.
The second internship I did with PwC was their Risk Assurance Internship: (http://www.pwc.com/us/en/careers/campus/why-pwc/what-we-do-assurance.jhtml) In this internship I helped audit the accounting systems of a public company. I worked with a team from PwC and a team from my client to constantly learn the system and ensure that we were all on the same page. The best part of this internship was using the knowledge learned from my AIS courses for real work and not just an assignment.
You have competed in the ISACA Research Competition. Any tips for the current competitors?
Well for starters don’t wait until the last minute. With any project starting too late can really be damaging. Another common theme with group projects is to divide the work. Unfortunately this leads to having a paper/presentation that doesn’t flow. To combat this we gave each person two different parts with different people, so one person would have two parts and work with two other group members. Overall double check facts and don’t be afraid to say you don’t know something.
You recently passed the CISA exam. What advice do you have for students interested in studying for the CISA exam?
Learn the material – don’t just memorize the answers! The practice questions database is a good learning tool but can create the bad habit of memorizing the answers. When practicing, know the answers and why they are right or wrong. Trying to explain the answers to someone who doesn’t really know the subject is a great way to see if you know it, and this can really reinforce what you do know.
Do you plan on sitting for the CPA exam, and why?
Yes I do. Well first of all, I like accounting. Secondly, I like client-facing work and want to do what I can do help that client. I think the combination of the CISA and CPA will be great tools for me to do that.
How have you benefited from ISACA SJSU?
Friendships, increased knowledge of the industry, increased network, oh yeah and a job. In ISACA I have met many nice people that have been willing to help with anything from recruiting help to which classes to take. ISACA has helped me prepare for the recruiting process and what to expect in an interview and internship, which has led to my full time offer from PwC. The friendships I made in ISACA have lasted through school and hopefully will continue after graduations.
Overall, do you have any advice for students who want to achieve what you have achieved, academically and professionally?
START NOW! When I first interned I interned alongside freshman and sophomores. There are students out there that start the recruiting process when they start college and you should too. Look for opportunities and take advantage of them. For academically, I guess just try and remember that each class should help you be a smarter person, even upper GE they say.
Anything else you’d like to add?
The ability to communicate well is one of the most important things that recruiters are looking for, so do whatever you can to improve public speaking, writing, etc.