acct. Buliding

Yet He Persisted

From couch surfing to success in consulting, Dylan Singh ’22 has taken full advantage of his USC Leventhal education.
Dylan Singh '22
Dylan Singh '22 made the most of his time at USC Leventhal.

Dylan Singh is poised. Well-spoken. Elegant in his bearing.  A top accounting student with three years of internship experience under his belt, it’s not hard to see why Boston Consulting Group made him a job offer the same afternoon he interviewed.

But Singh, 22, is also self-deprecating and humble. He says he’s accomplished what he has so far because he had no other choice. A challenging childhood and a desire to give back to his family led to his determination to make the most of the opportunity USC gave him.

He grew up around the country as an Army brat, the second son of a single, previously enlisted mother. Eventually settling in Washington state, he competed in any activity he participated in, excelling at sports and academics. Still, trouble at home made it difficult to focus on his future, and eventually he moved out, spending his senior year of high school moving from one friend’s home to another.  

His future weighed heavily on his mind as he applied to colleges. “I knew I would have to pay for my education on my own.” He applied for scholarships at several ivy league schools but was disappointed in the financial aid offerings. Then he saw USC’s offer.

“I was given an opportunity,” he said. He became a Trojan.

A Smart Move

Thanks to a high school teacher who insisted he try an accounting class, Singh chose to major in accounting at the Leventhal School because he knew an accounting degree would give him skills that would open many doors.

“You can go into business with an accounting degree, but you can’t be an accountant with a business degree,” he said. He decided to minor in computer science because he enjoys coding. “And again, computer science is practical.”

“Anyone who steps into USC is already in a good spot. But beyond all that, you have so many opportunities here, the only person who is going to open those doors is you.”

His time at USC wasn’t all practical. He discovered new fields of interest including astrology and Greek mythology. Through a scholarship with the Black Alumni Association, he discovered a love for volunteering and teaching children through the Al Wooten Jr. Youth Center in South LA.

“Those kids teach me just as much as I teach them,” he says. “I value just having the opportunity to touch their lives.”

Down to Business

While he was able to enjoy being a college student, his focus was never far from the goal: A good job. He met a recruiter from KPMG at a Meet the Firms event in his freshman year and spent three summers interning for the company in several capacities, first in audit, then in advisory. But while he made good connections at the firm, he knew he would be better suited in a role that offered him a diverse choice of projects. “I’m a people person,” he said. “I’m really at my best in a team.”

He decided to pivot into consulting. But that is easier said than done, and in his first interview for an internship with the Boston Consulting Group, Singh struggled during the interview’s case study portion.

“There’s no right answer, but there’s a right process,” he said. “And I was not prepared. It was a real coming of age moment for me.” Singh worked hard, but academics had, up until now, always come easy to him. He realized he would need to up his game significantly if he wanted to swim with the big fish.

A professor he considers a mentor, Associate Professor of Clinical Accounting Smrity Randhawa, took him aside and gave him advice her own mentor had once given her. “It’s not enough to see only the big picture. You must see the granular as well in order to succeed.”

“That really changed the way I approached my studies,” he said. His second attempt interviewing at BCG went better. Much better. He was told he could expect a decision within the week, but that very afternoon he got a phone call—with a job offer.

“My roommates threw me a happy new job party!” he laughed.

Advice for Incoming Students

“Anyone who steps into USC is already in a good spot,” he said. “But beyond all that, you have so many opportunities here, the only person who is going to open those doors is you.”

“Putting your face out there is huge!”

As he looks to begin the next chapter of his life as an associate with BCG, Singh thanks the many people—teachers, mentors, friends and family—who helped him get where he is today.

“I am the culmination of years of advice and sculpting through so many people choosing to help me,” he said. “With me, it really did take a village.”

Read more about Dylan Singh in Poets & Quants.