From China to Iowa to the Windy City

By Josh O'Leary
Always a Hawkeye Q&A: Wenran Xie
Wenran Xie

Ten years ago this fall, Wenran Xie (13BBA) arrived in Iowa City as a first-year student, uncertain of what the future would hold. A native of China, Xie was on her own for the first time in a new city and new country. But soon she found a new home: the UI Tippie College of Business.

In her four years at Iowa, Xie became an honors student, tutor, study abroad participant, and peer advisor. Today, she's climbing the ranks at Ernst & Young in Chicago while remaining involved with the UI. As a part of Tippie's 30-member young alumni board, she mentors students and helps them successfully make the transition to UI alumni.

The Basics

  • Age: 27
  • Degrees: BBA in accounting and finance from the University of Iowa, and Master of Accountancy from the College of William and Mary
  • Current city: Chicago
  • Hometown: Zhengzhou, China
  • Profession: Senior associate at Ernst & Young, an international professional services firm, where she plans and performs audits for private and public companies

Four Questions

  • How did you land your job?

Each semester beginning sophomore year, I applied for internships with Big Four accounting firms but was rejected each time. Then I started to get really involved with student organizations such as Alpha Kappa Psi, and I took advantage of on-campus opportunities to practice speaking, presentations, and networking skills. I was selected as a peer advisor in the UI Honors Program and a career peer advisor with the Pomerantz Career Center. Through advising other people, I pushed out of my comfort zone. I signed up for a lot of mock interviews so that I learned to present the "real me" and "best me" during an interview. The fourth time I applied for internships, I was accepted by Ernst & Young in Des Moines. After the internship, I accepted a full-time offer with Ernst & Young's Chicago office.

  • What motivates you?

I always want to do my best whenever I can and be open to all opportunities so I don't regret anything later.

  • How did Iowa prepare you for your career?

When I first came to the UI, I was 17, by myself, and didn't know what to expect. The UI treated me really well. My four years at Iowa equipped me with professional knowledge, valuable friendships and mentorships, and lots of great memories.

  • How do you stay connected with the UI?

I'm a member of the Tippie Young Alumni Board, and I participate in board events, mentoring programs, and alumni activities in Chicago. I've been a mentor with various international students from Tippie who were either introduced by a professor or were partnered with me through the Young Alumni Board mentorship program. I enjoy sharing my experiences and helping international students because I've been through the struggles of getting to know a different country, finding an internship, and applying for a work visa.

My Favorite...

  • Hobby: Traveling
  • Possession: My classic guitar
  • Artist: Violinist Itzhak Perlman
  • Piece of advice: Keep an open mind
  • Source of inspiration: I am a Christian, so my inspiration comes from my faith
  • Stress reliever: Movies and hanging out with friends
  • Iowa City hangout: Java House
  • UI memory: When I found out that I was selected as a Tippie 21 Under 21 recipient.
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