Carl H. Lindner College of BusinessCarl H. Lindner College of BusinessUniversity of Cincinnati

Carl H. Lindner College of Business

Determined to Succeed

First-generation college student excels in accounting.

The year he finished high school, Chris Michel (BBA '10, MS-accounting ‘11) wasn't sure that a bachelor's degree was in his future. “At that point, I had to take a year off to save enough money to go to college,” he recalls.

Thanks to hard work and diligent planning, Chris began coursework at UC in 2006. But it wasn't until he took an elective financial accounting class that his potential in the business world began to shine through. With the support and encouragement of professor Ginger Clark, Chris decided to pursue a career in accounting.

When he first applied for internships in his field, it quickly became obvious that accountancy was a perfect fit—he received offers from 10 out of the 12 companies he'd applied to. He chose PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) and spent summer 2009 working with Fortune 500 clients in four major cities. Chris will continue the PWC internship while pursing his master of science in accounting and has a full-time job waiting for him after he graduates in 2011.

In the MS-accounting program, Chris continues the tradition of classroom excellence he established during his undergraduate years. Named the Accounting Department's 2010 outstanding undergraduate student of the year, he made the dean's list every quarter and graduated summa cum laude in the top 10 percent of his class, all while working full- or part-time to pay for his education. Excelling in both work and school has required careful planning, but Chris' motivation to succeed keeps him on track.

 “I'm representing my family in the business world,” he says, “changing our direction from blue-collar to white.” Chris is the first member of his family to earn a four-year degree, and he dreams of making them proud while honoring the memory of his father, who passed away in his freshman year. His father had once pursued an accounting degree before leaving college to join the army during the Vietnam era.

Now, Chris is determined to achieve distinction in the profession his father aspired to. “Every decision I make, I ask myself, ‘Is this putting me on the road to where I want to be in five years?'” he says. “You can either let things overwhelm you or do what it takes to succeed.”