Senior Austin Sachs won a scholarship from the Virginia Skyline Chapter of the Institute of Management Accountants and the Blue Ridge Chapter of the Virginia Society of Certified Public Accountants. (Photo by Macson McGuigan)

Senior accounting and econ major wins local scholarship

As a child Austin Sachs dreamed of becoming not a CEO, but a CFO – a chief financial officer. Now the double major at Eastern Mennonite University is $1,000 closer to reaching that goal.

The scholarship for local college students recognizes academic achievement, evidence of leadership and future promise. The Virginia Skyline Chapter of the Institute of Management Accountants and the Blue Ridge Chapter of the Virginia Society of Certified Public Accountants announced the winners, which also included Monica Linn from James Madison University and Larema Dixon from Bridgewater College, in February.

Sachs is majoring in accounting and economics, which he said will allow him “to pursue both sides of the business spectrum, to be versatile.” He is minoring in psychology.

Last year he began interning at Shenandoah Growers, where he helps reconcile balance sheets, makes sales and use tax filings and more. Controller Tom Reed called Sachs “one of the sharpest accounting students I’ve had the pleasure of working with” over the last 12 years.

“His work habits and innate intelligence indicate that he will be able to go as far as he wants to go in the accounting field,” Reed said.

That phrase – “as far as he wants to” – just might mean a great distance.

Sachs, who describes himself as “an optimistic and a big-picture planner,” is considering three post-graduation possibilities: a master’s degree and career in corporate finance, a doctorate with the goal of public policy or United Nations economic development work, or master’s degrees in peacebuilding and economics, for a career in politics or with the United Nations.

“When I was in elementary school, I loved math and money,” Sachs said. “When other kids wanted to be professional athletes, astronauts, president or the normal young child dreams, I always said ‘CFO.’ The little I knew of business drew me to the financial operations of companies and eventually the top of one.”

At EMU Sachs found a bridge between his academic and other passions, including a concern for the environment.

In the classroom, a highlight was the environmental and ecological economics course taught by Professor Jim Leaman. Outside of the classroom, Sachs initiated an online pledge “EMU for a Sustainable Campus” that invited the university community to take voluntary steps to positively impact the environment.

Another class, Leaman’s “Investment Club,” “gave me the tools and knowledge on how to properly invest, so that I can have financial freedom to pursue my passions no matter the salary,” he said.

The Virginia Skyline Chapter of the Institute of Management Accountants provides continuing education programs and networking opportunities for accounting and finance professionals in the region. The Blue Ridge Chapter of the Virginia Society of Certified Public Accountants is dedicated to professionalism of, advocacy for and strategic partnership among its members.

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