A Taxing Year

Juliette Smotrys BS ’19, MBT ’20 says her Leventhal experience has set her up well for the daunting challenges of the tax code.

May 15, 2020

Ever-changing, dynamic, unpredictable — these are the words Juliette Smotrys BS ’19, MBT ’20 uses to describe the world of tax that she will enter with EY. It’s a good thing she’s comfortable with uncertainty.

“No single individual can possibly comprehend every piece of tax legislation, regardless of experience,” she said. “While that may be daunting to some, it excites me to have a career where I am guaranteed to be challenged and kept on my toes. I know that I will never grow tired of my work because it won’t look the same day to day.”

USC Leventhal’s Master of Business Taxation program prepared her well, she said. “The greatest gift that my Business Taxation program has given me is the ability to be comfortable with situations where I feel unprepared and unknowledgeable and to turn them into learning opportunities.”

At the start of the MBT program, Smotrys helped her peers get into the Trojan spirit, organizing on-campus tailgates for football games for the students in all of Leventhal’s graduate programs. “These tailgates provided an opportunity for students in the MAcc, MBT and MAcc D+A programs to get to know each other,” she said. “As a USC undergraduate alumna, I felt compelled to share what is arguably one of the best aspects of USC student life with my classmates. 

“Having the ability to connect with my peers on a social level greatly enriched my grad school experience and makes graduating after one short year bittersweet,” she added. “I can confidently say I have made lifelong friends from this program and that they have been the highlight of my time in Leventhal.”  

Smotrys received her job offer from EY in August 2018. “I have been anxiously awaiting my start for a while!”

As a sophomore, she attended EY’s summer leadership conference, Emerging Leaders Program, which led to an internship the summer after and then a job offer, which they extended to enable her to get her graduate degree.

I cannot wait to reunite with the incredible people that I had the pleasure of working with during my internship with EY in 2018,” she said. “Also, I am excited to apply all that I have learned in the MBT program to my work at EY!”

Smotrys does not know what the future holds, but she’s OK with that uncertainty too. She would be happy as a partner, a business owner, a professor, or all three.

“While I do not have an exact future planned out yet, I do know that I want to be someone that young women can look to for inspiration and courage,” she said. “I want to set the precedent that a woman can achieve anything she wants while being unapologetically herself.”