Ariana Evans first realized she wanted to major in accounting while she was still a student at North Central High School in Indianapolis. In fact, it was an easy decision.
“My first exposure to accounting was through a class offered my junior/senior year,” she recalls. “I quickly realized that it is the ‘language of business’ because every company needs accounting in some way. The traditional path is to become a CPA, of course, but the field has endless career opportunities.”
Choosing exactly where she would pursue her accounting degree was a more difficult decision, however.
An exemplary student, Evans was offered full-ride scholarships to multiple institutions before ultimately narrowing her choices to Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business and the Krannert School of Management at Purdue.
“I visited Purdue three times before I officially decided to attend, and each time I fell more in love with the campus and its students,” she says. “It has a great atmosphere and is recognized across the globe for its academic strength.”
Most importantly, it also is home to the Dr. Cornell A. Bell Business Opportunity Program (BOP), which is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2018.
“BOP was the #1 reason I chose Purdue,” Evans says. “No one at IU or anywhere else gave me more attention than Darren Henry (BOP’s managing director). The program provides financial, academic and professional resources to help students reach their maximum potential. I wanted to be part of that legacy.”
Now a junior, Evans has added finance as a second major and says there’s nothing comparable to the opportunities she continues to reap from BOP.
As an example, Evans cites her first internship at Travelers Insurance the summer after her freshman year, which was followed by an internship in the finance area at Cummins Inc. in summer 2018. She’s already accepted a second internship at Cummins as an auditor that she’ll begin in 2019, and is likely to begin her senior year with a job offer already in hand.
“Beyond the generous scholarship funding, BOP has put me in a better position to succeed than my peers at any other college or university,” she says. “The program regularly tests my drive and ambition, but also keeps me focused on my end goal.”
And whether that end goal evolves into a career in accounting, finance or the C-suite, Evans is intent on joining the ranks of those who came before her.
“BOP has so many notable alumni like Roland Parrish and Shawn Taylor who love giving back to the program and supporting younger generations of students in making their own giant leaps,” she says. “The human capital prevalent throughout the BOP community offers an experience that can’t be replicated anywhere else.
“If you’re a high school student and have earned the opportunity to join the BOP family, my advice is to take it.”