A Bullish Outlook: Men’s Soccer Player Nkhoma Travels to Wall Street
ATLANTA—The Georgia State men’s soccer program can base much of its success, such as a 2011 NCAA Tournament at-large berth, on a hard-working mentality on and off the soccer pitch.
That same mentality drives its student-athletes to achieve their academic and professional dreams even if athletics must relinquish a demanding, yet rewarding, grasp on their lives. It is junior Victor Nkhoma’s dream to one day become an accountant at one of the United States’ biggest financial firms. With the help of the Georgia State University J. Mack Robinson College of Business, and the support of his GSU men’s soccer coaches and teammates, he had the chance to immerse himself in those very financial firms in person.
Nkhoma became the first student-athlete in Georgia State history to participate in the “Panthers on Wall Street” program offered by the Robinson College of Business. The program, in its fifth year, takes between 16-to-18 of the brightest and best undergraduate and graduate students at the nationally-ranked Robinson College of Business on a tour of the financial capital of the United States.
For Nkhoma, it was the opportunity of his lifetime.
“I was so excited about this experience,” Nkhoma, a native of Harare, Zimbabwe, said. “To think that I jumped from my hometown of Zimbabwe three years ago to Wall Street in New York City now is amazing. I mean this is the Big Apple, it is where the money is ‘made.’ It is such an honor to be part of this.”
Each and every “Panthers on Wall Street” hopeful must attend information sessions and apply to the program. The applicants are selected by assessing resumes and conducting numerous interviews with each candidate. Nkhoma was one of only nine undergraduate students selected and one of only seven accounting majors.
Nkhoma, a senior, qualified for the program based on an extensive resume. He will earn his bachelor’s degree in Accounting from the Robinson College this December, while maintaining a 3.34 cumulative GPA, including a 3.4 GPA in Accounting coursework. He is a two-time Dean’s List honoree, a rank given to students earning a GPA of 3.5 or higher for a semester and has earned Athletic Director’s Honor Roll twice as a student maintaining a 3.2 GPA or higher for a semester.
Nkhoma is a member of other organizations on campus besides the university’s Division I men’s soccer team. He has been active with Beta Alpha Psi, an honors organization for financial information students founded in 1919 that now has more than 300,000 members across the nation, since the Spring 2012 semester. He is also a member of the National Association of Black Accountants since the Fall 2011 semester. He attends workshops, networking events, performs community service and participates in visits to accounting companies with both of the above organizations.
In Nkhoma’s unique situation, the opportunity to travel to Wall Street meant sacrificing training time and participation in a regular-season match against a fierce local rival in Mercer last Sunday. The fourth-year men’s soccer player spoke with GSU men’s soccer head coach Brett Surrency during the Spring 2012 semester about the opportunity prior to applying.
Upon first learning of the opportunity, and all throughout the process, Surrency didn’t hesitate in giving Nkhoma his full support.
“This was an incredible opportunity for Victor and his inclusion in the program goes to show what a hard working individual he is,” Surrency, in his third season leading the men’s soccer program, said. “He has such a very bright future ahead of him and I think this trip is just one step towards him achieving his career goals.”
“I really appreciate the support of the soccer coaching staff,” Nkhoma said, “For them to take into consideration my academic goals, it goes to show how GSU athletics is primarily geared toward the success and development of the student-athlete on and off the field.”
Nkhoma joined students majoring in Actuarial Science, Economics, Finance, and Risk Management and Insurance on the trip. It took the students on a tour of the leading finance companies on Wall Street, including Goldman Sachs, PriceWaterhouseCoopers and Bank of America. The most interesting visits for Nkhoma were ones to Ernst & Young and JP Morgan, the companies he has had an interest in for a long time.
The trip did offer Nkhoma the chance to see New York City from the tourist angle upon arrival on Sunday. Growing up in a city, Nkhoma said it wasn’t too much different than what he was used to only on a larger scale. Each day was a 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. rush with visits and tours through all parts of the nation’s largest financial district. At night, Nkhoma said he met with Georgia State alumni and other notable Wall Street employees to talk about preparing for a move to New York City and the lifestyle it would entail. The final visit was to the New York Stock Exchange before returning Wednesday night to Atlanta.
Jason Aldrich, who accompanied the team of students on the trip to Wall Street, knows the worth of Nkhoma’s unique GSU experience.
“Wall Street firms value the high energy and competitive spirit student-athletes bring to the workplace,” Aldirch, the Executive Director at the Career Management Center, said. “In addition, global diversity is an emphasis. Victor is a wonderful example of the outstanding students at Georgia State who offer employers diverse perspectives and experiences.”
Nkhoma’s original interest in accounting stemmed from his experience in Harare with the WWS Sports Academy, an organization that helps young adults in Zimbabwe earn academic and athletic scholarships at universities in the United States. He worked as a record-keeping intern in the accounting department for a year and a half prior to enrolling at Georgia State.
In the future, Nkhoma hopes to be an accountant at a large financial firm. He wants to focus on the art of analyzing the financial position and the profitability of a business house, which his coursework at GSU centers around. In his future position he wants to examine and evaluate accounting records of a business by using his extensive mathematics background on an international level.
In four seasons with the Georgia State men’s soccer program, Nkhoma, a midfielder, has played in 36 matches and seen more than 1,300 minutes of playing time. He has three assists and 14 shots, three on goal, in that time. In his career, he has been a part of 27 victories for the men’s soccer team.
Thanks to a solid support system, and a proven track record of balancing Division I athletics participation with rigorous accounting coursework, there is no reason not to have a bullish outlook on the career path of Victor Nkhoma.