Ceaseless Effort Brings Great Success

GMU Korea graduate Yulia Lee works at one of “The Big Four”


Yulia Lee, a class of 2017 accounting graduate, is one of the first George Mason University Korea graduates who landed a spot at Klynveld Peat Marwick Goerdeler (KPMG), an accounting firm, in Virginia. Her story is splendid and fulfilling news for Patriots, as KPMG is one of the top four companies coveted by Accounting majors. The Voice celebrates her achievement and interviewed her about her time at Mason Korea and journey to KPMG.

Yulia entered George Mason University Korea in 2014 as one of the first batch of freshmen, and graduated Magna cum laude in Accounting, at the Fairfax campus in December of 2017. The opportunity to work at KPMG was given when she was studying at Fairfax.

KPMG provides multidisciplinary firmware that delivers accounting, management and financial advice based on the world’s highest level of information in the Audit, Tax and Advisory areas. It is known as one of the ‘Big Four Auditors’ that anyone majoring in accounting would dream of working at. Yulia mentioned that her goal was also to work at one of those companies, because she wanted experience in public accounting with a firm that can offer intensive training. Furthermore, she believed that an environment with like-minded people that are passionate and career-driven would be valuable. Therefore, she tried to find opportunities to have an internship at KPMG while she was studying at Fairfax.

With the submission of her resume and two interviews, she was offered an internship at KPMG that would start after she graduated in Virginia. During the internship, she slowly built her skills in the tax department, working directly with people at KPMG Korea. In the last week of the four-month internship, she was offered a full-time position in the tax department, focusing on clients who are expats and inpats of US companies that do business globally in KPMG.

However, the journey to this outcome has not always been smooth. Being the first generation of GMU Korea made it hard for her to get necessary support for career development due to the lack of job educational systems. Especially, when she was in GMU Korea, the Accounting major was not offered yet. Therefore, she had to change her major to Accounting later as the necessary courses were lacking at that time. Despite these difficult conditions, she tried to study hard at GMU Korea and built her job experience by directly applying herself and her desires to internship positions when she was at the Fairfax campus. She could move one step closer to her dream through passion and continuous effort.

In an interview with The Voice, she advised students in the business school that GPA can be a key point to impress employers. She emphasized that when searching for a job in America, looking for opportunities and seizing those is important. She states, “Updating LinkedIn, attending networking events are good ways to put your foot in the door.” During her time at Mason Korea, she was studying and preparing for her dream in a relatively infertile and unstable environment when compared to current students. She believed in her infinite potential and continuously challenged herself. “Knowing how to sell yourself and appeal to certain people is key to building connections and to walk out of a job interview with an offer. Just make sure to act confidently.”