HOBO Hike

Accounting, Business and Economics

Positioning Students for Future Success

Juniata’s accounting, business, and economics program prepares students to be leaders in the workforce.

Why Choose Juniata’s ABE Program?

Experience matters in business—whether it’s marketing, finance, or economics. Juniata’s accounting, business, and economics (ABE) program prioritizes experiential learning opportunities to prepare students to be leaders in the workforce. Juniata’s excellent student-to-teacher ratio allows for individualized attention and collaboration, and the Program of Emphasis (POE) approach allows students to individualize their degree and study within any combination of fields. Dominick Peruso, professor and chair of the ABE department, says "Juniata has the programs, people, and practices" to position students for future success.

Juniata’s commitment to the liberal arts means ABE students gain creative problem-solving and critical-thinking skills through interdisciplinary study. “Our graduates leave here fully prepared for business, but with an understanding of the environment around them,” explains Peruso. Speaking with alumni and current students, it’s clear Juniata’s ABE department offers a wealth of resources to students, including a team of professors who really care and offer their own professional experience (Chief Financial Officers and Vice Presidents of Marketing, for example). Their ongoing support is part of the learning process. Six faculty members in the department were previously employed at the Big 4 accounting and consulting firms, the four largest professional service networks in the world. Faculty partnership makes all the difference to the student experience. “The faculty have a high level of collaboration and cooperation with each other. This results in a comprehensive, cohesive, and supportive learning experience,” says Kathy Baughman, Swigart Associates Associate Professor of Business and Economics.

Some additional programs/practices that make Juniata unique are the HOBO Hike (a nickname for the hike in the Behavioral Analysis of Organizations course – the beloved tradition ABE alumni remember – where teamwork and group decision-making makes or breaks the outcome of the wilderness hike); the Eagle Fund in which students take three one-credit courses on investments and invest and manage $100,000 of Juniata’s money; and travel abroad with business trips to China where classes get to visit General Motors in Shanghai, the Coca-Cola plant in Beijing, and other small to mid-sized corporations to speak directly with management and gain first-hand knowledge about what it’s like to run such a company. Study abroad opportunities also include trips to Germany and France to study business and work for international clients. Students may also choose to participate in the Juniata College Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership (JCEL) and start their own business; and to pursue internships or further academic and extracurricular pursuits offered by Juniata. “The relationship between faculty and students is a differentiator at Juniata. We get to know the students well. By knowing them well, we can guide them and better identify opportunities that fit. True, the relationship starts in the classroom, but it goes far beyond that to help achieve student goals,” says Baughman.

Juniata also offers an MBA (accelerated 3+1 bachelor to master’s degree pathway also available); a master’s degree in accounting; a master’s degree in organizational leadership; and a healthcare administration concentration within the MBA.

What interests you about the fields of accounting, business, and economics? How can Juniata help you achieve your goals? Learn more and schedule a time to talk about studying at Juniata

Alumni and current students share their stories.

Joey DiGangi III ’18

Joey DiGangi III ’18

POE: marketing management, with a secondary emphasis in communication; currently pursuing MBA

CEO & Founder, AssureTech, LLC

Global Marketing Specialist, Kdan Mobile

As a high school student, Joey says he liked everything but wasn't passionate about anything. He couldn't find that one thing he wanted to do, so he began with an exploratory POE. “My professors helped me realize I have this entrepreneurial bug I never expected,” he admits. Joey graduated in 2018 with a bachelor’s degree in marketing management, with a secondary emphasis in communication. His individualized POE let him combine all of his career interests including marketing, product development, and professional writing. He earned his MBA at Juniata in 2021. He recognizes that his education at Juniata prepared him for the real working world. “The biggest thing about Juniata is the out-of-classroom experience, whether it’s through professors sharing their professional experiences or actually working with clients directly.” Juniata’s support has been evident since day one, with Joey’s participation in the Juniata College Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership (JCEL). Mentoring and capital support from JCEL helped Joey launch his own business, AssureTech. The EpiCenter App for Food Allergies from Joey’s company quickly garnered attention in the marketplace. You can find it on the Google Play Store and Apple App Store. The start-up company was also recognized by Ben Franklin Technology Partners, an economic development agency in Pennsylvania. In addition to his role as CEO and Founder of AssureTech, Joey is a Global Marketing Specialist with Kdan Mobile, a Taiwan-based software company. He credits Juniata for having made both his current roles possible through experiential learning opportunities. The class Entrepreneurial Creative Thinking pushed him to think of a problem in his life and a viable business solution. AssureTech was born. Through class work, and his background in marketing, entrepreneurial pursuits, and business training, Joey had the opportunity to join Kdan Mobile and helped the organization establish a U.S. presence. Additional experiences while at Juniata include a Junior Associate role in Juniata’s marketing department where he managed media relations and social media for both internal and external audience communications. The innovation encouraged and displayed by students and graduates like Joey is fully ingrained in the ABE program. After graduation and before beginning his MBA pursuit, Joey spent nine months in Taiwan working for Kdan Mobile. It was his first time out of the country. Joey recommends that anyone considering ABE at Juniata look for opportunities through the college. “All you have to do is ask and then be eager to apply the support and resources available to you.”

Kwe Parker ’16 and ’17

Kwe Parker ’16 and ’17

POE: finance; masters in accounting

Senior Associate in the Consulting and Advisory department, PricewaterhouseCoopers

Studied Abroad at York St. John University in the U.K.

Kwe worked at Baker Tilly as a Senior Consultant and is now a Senior Associate in the Consulting and Advisory department of Price Water Cooperhouse (PwC). Kwe graduated with his bachelor’s degree in finance in 2016 and his master’s degree in accounting in 2017. He chose Juniata’s ABE program because it felt personalized with the POE approach and he felt classes were tailored to his own personal needs. In the graduate program, he notes that the experience was personalized and he formed relationships with professors and got to know them on a deep level. The faculty support and the work Kwe and professors did together propelled him forward with his studies and his future career. Kwe says, “The professors did a great job. I gained a fundamentally sound understanding of finance in my undergraduate studies and one of accounting in graduate school. But it’s more than just that, the professors want to see you excel and exceed. They provide you with resources and bend over backwards to ensure you have opportunities. They are incredibly supportive.” This kind of attention and the intimate setting of Juniata classes is so unique. Kwe goes on to explain that the way the professors approach learning is so different at Juniata—there is the memorable HOBO hike. There are case studies with businesses in the community on finance and growth-related opportunities. “I have talked to a lot of my counterparts who went to bigger schools, they did not have these kinds of opportunities.” They were taking Scantron tests while Kwe and other ABE program students were immersed in a hands-on approach to learning, one in which Kwe notes not only was he getting his hands dirty, so to speak, but so were the professors. He had many experiential opportunities while at Juniata: one was helping a local company, Seven Points Marina at Raystown Lake, with marketing and growth, including web design; the experience was real, part of Kwe’s personalized curriculum and it had a direct and positive influence on the community. Kwe calls the experience immensely satisfying on a personal, academic, and professional level. He also credits it with building his understanding of the importance of establishing relationships and networking; both as a student in finding opportunities, and now as a professional. Another unique opportunity was having dinner with Steve Sheetz, chairman of Sheetz, Inc. “Juniata makes these kinds of opportunities happen,” Kwe says. He gained a tremendous amount of professional insight from the experience. Kwe also studied abroad at York St. John University in the U.K., which gave him perspective on the differences in international business. Kwe’s advice to future students? “There is power in your network. Now is an unprecedented time where virtual connections are imperative and landing your future position could depend on it.” Kwe thanks Juniata for instilling in him the power of the network, by offering a wide array of client experience and hands-on learning within the community and on campus.

Courtney (Biggs) Fones ’03

Courtney (Biggs) Fones ’03

Courtney got some good advice when she started her studies at Juniata — to consider majoring in accounting as it was a good fit for her analytical mindset. Her inkling that she may one day work in government proved true, and the methodological thinking and processes learned through her accounting degree from Juniata gave her the education she needed to rise in the ranks at the Department of Defense Office of the Inspector General. Courtney started with the Department after graduation in 2003 as an auditor. She now manages more than 20 people conducting performance audits across the Department. Juniata taught her that “accounting means that you can also do management jobs, not just finance and accounting, but any sort of business-related work you want to do.” She values the insight and notes that her role as assistant to the ABE department gave her the opportunity to get to know the faculty, which she says, “was one of the most impactful parts of college.” “The faculty is there for you. They actually care about you. You’re not a body in a classroom.” Courtney worked with professors one-on-one, talked with them about theory and ideas, and was influenced by them to take more classes outside of ABE for a well-rounded education, above the requisite liberal arts requirements. “You can never underestimate the people teaching you. The interactions I had with them and the support and guidance were the main benefits of my Juniata experience.” She also found her experience in using Microsoft Excel, gained through the ABE department, extremely valuable. Courtney is surprised that new hires in her organization often do not have this skill. She also notes that her experience with professional writing at Juniata is a beneficial skill she uses daily. Additional experiential opportunities included doing federal tax returns her senior year (helping her realize she did not want to go into tax accounting); and an internship with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in Washington, D.C. Courtney also studied abroad in the three-week immersion course in Muenster, Germany, where she learned basic German and took business classes taught by German professors at the Fachhochschule Muenster. She continues to travel to Germany on vacations and continues to offer her time to Juniata with plans to speak to classes about career opportunities in performance auditing.

Rachel DesFosses ’21

Rachel DesFosses ’21

POE: professional writing with marketing, with a secondary emphasis in visual arts

Local Clients: Standing Stone Coffee Company, Kish Bank, and Huntingdon Cinema's Clifton 5

Interned with Juniata Marketing Department

Rachel embraced Juniata’s POE as an opportunity to create a truly customized education and degree. She graduated recently with a bachelor’s degree in Professional Writing with Marketing, and with a secondary emphasis in Visual Arts. “Juniata has a lot of unique courses, and there is a lot of interaction with professors and with community members, “said Rachel. As part of her marketing courses, Rachel has learned the classroom theory but also been able to apply teachings and marketing strategies to local businesses including Standing Stone Coffee Company, Kish Bank, and Huntingdon Cinema's Clifton 5. Her client experience during undergraduate years includes advertising and promotion management and market research and analyses. Rachel additionally notes “there are opportunities at Juniata to develop your professional experience that are not offered at a lot of colleges, but it’s important for students to be proactive and take advantage of the opportunities.” She has interned with the Juniata Marketing Department where she participated in strategy meetings and made social posts. She has written for the Juniata alumni magazine including the current role of maintaining the class notes, and was the Juniata Associate for Grants and Contracts, where she applied her professional writing and marketing skills. Rachelalso studied community connections between students and college marketing materials for her final project. She conducts qualitative research and works closely with the Marketing, English, and Integrated Media Arts departments to develop her project. After graduation Rachel plans on working in the industry and continuing on to graduate school.

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