Kristina Cheung

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BA 2016, Business Administration and Latin
Albert Suskin Prize in Latin, 2014, 2015, and 2016
Masters Candidate in Accounting, Stern School of Business, New York University

I came to Carolina with no intention of declaring a Classics Major.  After all, what was the point if I wanted to start my career in business?  As a first year, however, I registered for my first college Latin class (Vergil) as a way to ease the transition from high school to college.  As the semesters went on, I continued to take more and more classes in Murphey Hall and enjoyed every minute of them up until I graduated in May 2016.  Currently, I am a graduate student in a Masters in Accounting program.  After graduating in the spring, I will begin my career at a large public accounting firm.

People are always shocked when I mention that I was a Classics major.  “Classics and Business?  That’s an interesting pair,” they always say, then laugh when I try to argue that the two aren’t so incompatible.  Studying Classics has prepared me for my future business career in innumerable ways.  While translating Horace’s Sermonesand performing selections of Plautus’ comedies in class did not directly relate to accounting’s credits and debits, studying Latin grammar and writing essays for these classes helped improve my written communication and allowed me to thrive in my Business Communications class.  Being a more introverted individual, discussing and giving presentations on Delphi in my Junior Seminar gave me much needed practice in public speaking and made me more comfortable in challenging others’ opinions–something that is rare, yet very important, in a career where simply following last year’s example could result in serious consequences.  Furthermore, I found that employers value the versatility of a Classics major, as well as the different approaches to problems that a humanities major presents.

Studying Classics at UNC was easily one of the best decisions I made during my undergraduate years.  In my courses in Murphey, I not only learned more about ancient language and culture, but also developed communication skills that allowed me to succeed in business.  The professors challenged me to think critically, but offered support every step of the way.  I know the countless hours spent over tea and goodies in the Common Room with my fellow majors and minors will be something that I cherish for the rest of my life.

For anyone who is considering Classics, I would definitely urge you to explore your options with the department.  Talk to upperclassmen, ask professors your questions, enroll in a class.  Don’t be afraid if what you study doesn’t directly relate to your future career!  I can say personally that my interest in and study of Classics has enriched my pursuit of a career in accounting.

August 2016