Zoha Tariq ’19 is the kind of person who has always had a clear vision of her goals and aspirations.
“Ever since I was a little girl, I was enamored with the idea of being an independent woman working in the financial world,” Tariq says. “When I moved to Maryland from Chicago four years ago, I knew a well-applied accounting degree would work as my roadmap to success.”
She credits the culturally diverse community at the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business with providing the ideal environment to earn her degree while also developing and refining her knowledge of management, communications and business practices.
“I knew it was the right place to polish my skills and establish expertise,” says Tariq, who studied at the school's Shady Grove campus in Rockville, Md. “I am sincerely grateful to Maryland Smith for providing me with the right tools to achieve my goals and succeed in the professional world.”
During her time as an undergraduate, she interned at two accounting firms: Aronson and Ernst & Young. Both internships offered Tariq invaluable experiences and insight into the profession she had long dreamed of joining herself.
In addition to the internships, she says the accounting and business courses she took at Smith helped her smoothly transition into the beginning phases of her accounting career. Her favorite classes? Business law and strategic management.
“I really enjoyed learning about how the law affects business,” Tariq says. “In strategic management, I particularly liked learning about how companies like Netflix and Tesla came to be. The practical knowledge learned in the classroom, along with the applied training from my internships, has also aided in cultivating my personality as a professional.”
Prior to graduation, Tariq received a prestigious 2019 Student Academic Achievement Award, which recognizes outstanding academic achievement, drive to excel outside the classroom, and commitment to serving the community.
“I was grateful and proud that my hard work and perseverance were being acknowledged,” she says. “Seeing all the other recipients — as well as professors and advisors who supported and guided me — was the first time I realized how far I’d come from being a clueless freshman. Looking at my family’s beaming faces from the stage as I received the award, I realized that this was exactly what I wanted out of college.”
Now a young alumna, Tariq is preparing to blaze a path forward in the industry she’s always been determined to be a part of.
“I plan to study for and obtain my CPA license before I start working full-time at Ernst & Young as an advisory associate in the fall,” she says. “In five years, I like to think I would be in a senior or manager role at EY with enough experience under my belt to feel comfortable in my professional role. I also imagine being the kind of person I hope others would aspire to be.”