Building Confidence: Leigh Salzsieder and Alejandra Rodriguez

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Photo Credit: Dan Videtich Photography

Leigh Salzsieder’s teaching philosophy is twofold: meet students where they’re at and help them get where they want to go. In Alejandra Rodriguez’s (B.S.A. ’16) case, meeting Salzsieder in her introductory accounting class connected her to a mentor who would instill in her the confidence to land a job with one of the world’s largest accounting firms.

Originally an architecture major, Rodriguez decided to pursue a business degree her sophomore year. She signed up for a mandatory accounting course, worried about having no prior knowledge of the concepts.

“I initially connected with Dr. Salzsieder because I would regularly attend his office hours for help with classwork,” Rodriguez says. “I was struggling at first, but he explained the material in a way that was much easier for me to understand.”

Ultimately, Rodriguez performed well, and after discussing with Salzsieder the opportunities the industry had to offer, she decided to pursue an accounting degree.

Semester after semester, Rodriguez and Salzsieder would keep in touch.

“Dr. Salzsieder is really well-known at the Bloch School, but he always made an effort to reach out and see how things were going, even when I wasn’t enrolled in his class,” Rodriguez says.

Fast forward to her junior year, Rodriguez received an offer for a two-year internship with PwC, a prestigious accounting firm with more than 180,000 employees worldwide. Her performance in the internship program led to a full-time job offer with PwC’s Chicago office following graduation. Though excited for the opportunity, Rodriguez was initially intimidated by the prospect of working for such a large organization.

“I really value Dr. Salzsieder’s opinion, so I often reach out to him when I have to make big decisions, and this instance was no different,” Rodriguez shares. “I tend to underestimate myself, but Dr. Salzsieder’s advice gives me the confidence to really go for what I want.”
This self-assurance is exactly the impact Salzsieder always hoped he would have on Rodriguez.

“Alex has always been mature and risen above her peer group,” Salzsieder explains. “Even with those qualities, she has a hard time realizing how good she is and that she has earned every opportunity afforded to her.”

This article is included in the 2016 Bloch Magazine. To read the full edition, click here.

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