5 lessons from First Ascent alumna Anfissa Silva Smith

The David Eccles School of Business recently invited alumna Anfissa Silva Smith, CPA and former Senior Audit Manager of KPMG, to speak to First Ascent Scholars as part of their Alumni Dinner. This annual event allows students, faculty, and mentors to connect over dinner and shared experiences.

Silva Smith shared her international journey — from Italy to Brazil to Utah — as she spoke about the transformative power of education in her life and the importance of diversity in the workplace. In addition, she spoke to students about her experience in the business world and offered valuable guidance.

  • Networking. Think of networking as an opportunity to get to know people and build relationships. These relationships are crucial as you grow and pivot in your careers.
  • Campus recruiting opportunities. Take advantage of the recruiting events and other services currently offered through Business Career Services. As a student, you have unique access to tools that are rarely available once you’ve entered the workforce.
  • Hard work pays off. As you start your career, be willing to tackle smaller tasks that seem outside your job description. Even small assignments can create opportunities to learn and grow. Pair that with a teachable attitude, and leadership will take notice.
  • Difficult decisions. Don’t be afraid of hard decisions, but don’t make them on your most challenging days. Instead, take time to examine why you are making them. Don’t compromise your integrity. If your ethics are at the core of your choices, you will never regret them.
  • Reach for excellence. Measure your success against personal growth, not what your peers are doing. Focus instead on your goals and where you are headed.

“I appreciated hearing Anfissa speak. She opened my eyes a little more after hearing about her journey in the business world,” said first-year scholar Edith Molina. “As I continue to move through the business school, I plan not to shy away from opportunities and be more open to other majors in business. I am thankful she could come and speak to First Ascent and allow us to hear her story.”

The First Ascent Scholars Program cultivates, encourages, and enables academically focused students with significant financial need to attend the Eccles School and connect with the University of Utah, local, and global community while reaching their full academic potential. For more information, visit Eccles.Link/first-ascent.

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