BBA Alumni Spotlight: USAA

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February 23, 2016 by texasbbacareerservices

sarahUSAABBA Alumni: Sarah Kotlar
Major: Corporate Finance with a minor in Accounting
Grad Year: May 2014
Current Title: Auditor II, Finance & Investments

Please tell us about your career path and how you found your way to USAA.

My junior year I began my search for an internship for that following summer. At the time, my now fiancé was in ROTC and would be commissioning as an officer in the Air Force when we graduated. Out of curiosity, I started looking into military friendly employers, and time after time, USAA’s name showed up in my search results. As I looked into the company further, I also realized they were consistently noted as a top company to work for, and my interest was piqued further. My junior year, I stopped by the USAA booth at the McCombs Career Fair and started talking to a rep from Audit Services, Sue Huggler. I shared with her my story and we immediately connected. A few weeks later I had a phone interview and was later selected for the on-campus (USAA’s campus) interview. Although I had not originally thought about starting my career in Audit, I realized it was the perfect opportunity for me to figure out what I was interested in since it would allow me to understand and touch-on multiple areas across finance and accounting.

What do you like about working for USAA?

My favorite thing about USAA is the company’s promise: “Going above for those who have gone beyond.” Although my fiancé is no longer in the service, the military will always hold a special place in my heart. It’s truly amazing coming into work every day and feeling like I will be impacting someone greater than myself. Additionally, USAA is a company that knows how to take care of its employees. We are offered so many amazing benefits – Christmas bonus, year-end performance bonus, free on-campus gym, discounts on healthy food at our cafeterias, educational assistance, 8% match on 401K, training opportunities, four weeks of paid vacation (including holidays), and the list goes on. As employees we are also offered so many outlets to get involved including intramurals, diversity groups, mentorships, and community volunteering. There is truly something for everyone!

What does this job/internship entail?

A typical day in audit consists of meeting with clients, learning new processes, identifying the risks within these processes, and ensuring that the processes are working as effectively as possible. The cool thing about internal audit is that you are never stuck in one area – every couple of weeks to couple of months you roll off of one audit and begin the next so the topics you cover are always different. As a team member on the finance/investments audit team, I have been able to work on audits related to portfolio management, investment distributions, reconciliations, wire transfers, financial regulations, and so many other topics. There are few days in my job when I am not learning something new!

The internship program in audit is a ten-week, paid internship program (with housing assistance). While we typically have about 10 audit interns, there are over 300 interns at USAA from schools across the country. Audit interns specifically are placed across the different audit teams (depending on their background) and work directly on audits with the other staff. Additionally, interns will participate in roundtable discussions, social events, distinguished speaker series, mentor programs, community service events, and a military appreciation event.

What skills make a person successful in this position?

A person who is curious and willing to learn, enjoys critical thinking, takes initiative, and is good at communicating will be successful in this position. Because Audit has teams that focus on so many different topics including finance/investments, IT/security, banking, analytics, insurance, and more, we have a fit for any major in the business school.

Please share your general career advice?

  • Work hard and go the extra mile, people notice when you do!
  • Love the people you work with, you spend more time with them than anyone else.
  • When searching for a company, pay attention to more than just the job title. The company’s culture, growth opportunities, and benefits are just as important!

Please share success stories from recruiting as an alumni:


Apply to attend the USAA Career Shadowing Program visit on April 1 ! Deadline to apply: March 4

Last spring, we hosted several students from McCombs on USAA’s campus for our Career Shadowing Program with UT. I was able to meet with the group, walk them through some of the work I do on a regular basis, and explain to them what working in audit really entails. One student in particular that attended the CSP day at USAA has kept in touch with me, Sue and Lorie (the UT recruiting team in Audit) and will now be one of the three Audit interns from McCombs for this upcoming summer! For more information on USAA’s internships and jobs, please check OCR and visit


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