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Heller College graduate betters her life with degree in accounting

Posted: 05/02/2012
Agnieszka “Agnes” Podbial came to the United States from Poland for a chance to live the American dream.

At that time, she couldn’t speak English. She had no means of financial support. She didn’t know from one day to the next how she would get ahead.

“I am a fighter who knows that if someone else can do something then I should be able to do it too,” said Podbial, who will graduate on May 4 with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration degree in Accounting.
Recently inducted into the University’s prestigious Franklin Honors Society, Podbial, who attended classes at the Schaumburg Campus, has cleaned houses, worked as a nanny and clerked in a number of Chicago-area grocery stores in order to get by day-to-day.

At the same time, the Schaumburg resident also has clearly understood the importance of having an education. She took English at Wright Community College. She attended Harper College, unable to pay for more than one class at a time while working full-time to support her family. A student at Roosevelt since 2009, Podbial has a 4.0 grade point average and hopes to one day become a certified public accountant.

“When I first started, I literally had to sit down with a dictionary all the time in order to understand what I was doing,” said Podbial, who has been awarded a graduate assistantship so she can work on a master’s degree in Accounting Forensics at Roosevelt starting in the fall.

This spring, Podbial was an intern at PricewaterhouseCoopers(PwC)  in Chicago, where she received accolades as a top performer from PwC managers. She also did a stint as a tax accountant for H&R Block, where she has been asked to return next tax season.
“Agnes is truly a remarkable student who has overcome many obstacles to get her degree – and she has really flourished during her time at Roosevelt University,” said Mark Holtzblatt, associate professor of accounting and Podbial’s advisor.

While she still works as a nanny to support her family, Podbial’s goal is to one day work as a CPA for one of the nation’s top four accounting firms. “To survive in this country, I know I must have a degree,” said Podbial, who became a U.S. citizen in 2009 shortly before starting at Roosevelt.

“I knew there was nothing in my way that could stop me from going to school and I want others to know that anything is possible if you are willing to try,” she said.