John Barrios '15

john barriosMajor: Finance
Hometown: Miami, FL

Describe your current job role:

I work in public accounting and consulting in the financial services industry performing internal audits and risk evaluations. My primary area of focus is the banking industry in which I work with clients to identify internal risks they face and advise them on how they can implement strategies to change or decrease those risks.

What professional experience(s) did you have prior to your current job role?

I completed two internships in different disciplines. In my first internship, I worked for Northwestern Mutual selling insurance and working with financial advisors to create comprehensive approaches to client financial portfolios. My second internship was with Sabadell Bank and Trust. My role included facilitating the loan officer in the underwriting of new loans and helping financial advisors conduct market research to analyze investments for trust client portfolios.

What do you know now that you wish you had known about being a working professional?

I received a degree in Finance, but for my current role, I wish I had taken more courses in accounting. Much of my work is accounting oriented and I had to learn quickly and develop deeper areas of focus. I believe it is crucial for students in business to be comfortable with accounting principles no matter where their career may take them.

"If you take on a challenge, work diligently as unto the Lord and you will find success."

How did PBA prepare you for the world of work?

Through access to business professionals via professors, I was able to connect with business leaders in the community of Palm Beach and gain a better understanding of what the professional work environment around me was looking for in a new graduate. Relationships with my professors is one of the best investments I made and one of the greatest benefits of attending PBA. You can get training, but having disciple, a strong work ethic, being a learner, and developing relationships can make all the difference in your career.

What advice would you give to current PBA students and/or young alumni who are about to start their first professional full-time job?

Do not be afraid to ask questions or ask to try something new. If you show your managers that you are a learner and a hard worker you will move up quickly. Many people do not take initiative. If you take on a challenge, work diligently as unto the Lord and you will find success.

Have you been mentored by anyone in your professional field since entering the workforce? If so, what impact has that had on you? 

I have not had one direct mentor, but I have had many advisors. I have found people that I look up to and trust, and I continually go to them for advice for both business and my spiritual walk. The proverbs talks about advisors and seeking wise counsel, so I have made it a point to establish a routine of seeking out people older or wiser than me for counsel. Proverbs 15:22 says, “Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisors they succeed.”

Spotlight posted in May 2018. For more information about John, visit his LinkedIn page.