Cutler Scholarship Has Long-Term Impact

by Michael Taylor, Konneker-Cutler Scholar ‘05

As I think back on the past six years since graduation, I can see how each aspect of the Cutler Scholar program has influenced my path.  The most direct impact of the Cutler Scholar program was my internship experience during my senior year.  I interned in Columbus at PwC, a public accounting firm.  As an accounting major, this internship gave me the opportunity to get a realistic picture of working as a public accountant.  At the end of the internship, I received an offer to start work full time after graduation.  I have been working at PwC in Columbus for almost six years.  A year after graduation, in July 2006, I married Delana Eichinger (BBA ’06) in Athens.  In the fall of 2008 we purchased our first home and settled into the Upper Arlington community.

Clarinets My first Cutler Scholar experience, Outward Bound, which included a week white-water rafting in Idaho, taught me the value of embracing new experiences and not being afraid to take on new challenges.  After my freshman year, I spent time volunteering at the March of Dimes Central Ohio Chapter in Columbus, Ohio.  As a business major, it was great to learn the business side of a non-profit organization.  I also learned the importance of giving back to my community of Columbus.  Working at PwC has given me the opportunity to participate in many community activities, including meals on wheels, a cleanup day at the Columbus Zoo, and Junior Achievement, which seeks to teach financial literacy to students.  I also participate in Accounting for Kids Day, which is an opportunity for those in my field to go into elementary schools and teach students about financial management through interactive activities. 

In my current role at PwC, I coordinate with international teams that report back to my team in Columbus.  I think back to my international experience and how it has helped me to communicate and work effectively with people from other cultures.  My international experience was a consulting project in Ancona, Italy, through the College of Business Global Competitiveness Program.  I worked with three Italian students on a development plan for the local airport.  We visited the airport and met with the director to understand his vision for growing the airport. Our team then developed proposals to expand the service offerings that the airport could provide.  Learning to communicate with students who don’t speak English as a first language was an exciting challenge.  The Italian students also helped emerge us in the culture, from grabbing a slice of pizza at lunch, to enjoying a home cooked meal at our team members’ apartment.

My Cutler Scholar experiences, especially the weekly colloquium, gave me great appreciation for different perspectives and motivations.  I also realized that there is often not an easy solution to complicated problems.  In 2009, I spent five months consulting at General Motors in Detroit.  It was fascinating to be involved in the culture of Detroit and to understand the concerns of the people I met, from not being able to sell a house, to worrying about jobs in a struggling auto industry.  It was also interesting to learn about the macro problems facing the community, including a former mayor on trial for corruption, and a downtown area full of abandoned buildings due to a footprint too large for the current industry.  Evaluating difficult issues in colloquium sessions gave me a great appreciation for the complicated challenges facing Detroit, and an admiration for those attempting to make a difference in the community.

I am grateful for each of the opportunities I received through the Cutler Scholar program, which have helped me succeed in my career as well as appreciate my community in Columbus and the greater global community.

Photo: Michael Taylor, Cara Lawless (sister-in-law), and Delana Taylor. Michael and Delana have been back for Homecoming every year to play with the alumni band; last fall was his sixth time and her fifth.

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