Jonathan Felsher, ’10, came to Richmond with a strong interest in business. When he graduates this spring, he’ll leave with the knowledge and skills necessary to excel as an associate with Big Four auditing firm PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Felsher, a business major with concentrations in accounting and finance, made the most of his four years at Richmond by seeking opportunities that gave him real-world business experience.

During his senior year, Felsher was a manager with the Student Managed Investment Fund (Spiderfund), where he worked with a team of 15 other finance majors to manage a portfolio of stocks within the University’s endowment.

As a Spiderfund manager Felsher pitched investment ideas to the group, analyzed balance sheets, and networked with alumni and business leaders during the group’s annual fall trip to Wall Street.

“It was a great experience where I got to do something I am passionate about and interested in,” he says. “It forces us to take what we have learned in the classroom and apply it to a real-world environment. … I also got great experience working on a team.”

Felsher was also a member of the student-run and student-funded Portfolio Management Group. Its members pool their own money and hold weekly meetings to decide how they will invest it. Felsher helped to mentor and teach underclassmen who are interested in the markets.

As president of business and leadership fraternity Delta Epsilon Chi, Felsher gained valuable leadership experience. He increased membership by almost 75 percent and worked to expand networking opportunities for students with area businesses.

“The experience has ultimately taught me a lot about myself and my tendencies in leading,” he says. “I’ve learned that I like being in that leadership role, teaching and helping people.”

Felsher also participated in the Federal Reserve Challenge where he spent nearly a year preparing to deliver a presentation on the state of the economy and monetary policy during a competition at the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond.

These combined extra-curricular experiences, “forced me to use what I learned in the classroom in a real-world environment,” Felsher says. “I think Richmond offers great opportunities for students to get involved.”

He chose to attend the University of Richmond because of its strong business program, but also liked that it was a liberal arts school. “I have not had a class with more than 25 people," he says. “At other schools, that’s almost unheard of. I’ve been able to develop close relationships with my professors because of it."

Felsher originally thought he would go into finance, but after taking some accounting classes and doing well, he realized there was more to accounting than “just crunching numbers,” he says.

“Professor [Joe Ben] Hoyle showed me that accounting is understanding how everything fits together so that you can make the best decision that most accurately reflects your company.”

An internship with PricewaterhouseCoopers last summer sealed the deal. During the internship he worked on quarterly audits for Altria and Mead Westvaco, two of the firm's biggest clients in its Richmond office.

“I did actual substantive work …,” he says. “It’s great they see us as able to contribute when we are not even out of college yet.”

Felsher’s job offer came last August at the end of his internship. Although he is thankful he did not have to go through a stressful job search in this tough economy, he still has a few challenges ahead. He plans to sit for a few sections of the Certified Public Accountant exam this summer –– after he takes his Chartered Financial Analyst exam in June.

But, he believes he is well prepared to succeed at both. “I have had a lot of great opportunities here,” he says.