Lynn Mwongela ’24, M.S. ’25 has dreamed of becoming a lawyer since the age of seven, a fact that may come as a surprise from the accounting major. “I firmly believe that life is not a straight line,” Lynn explained. “Things shift and change rapidly, so I consider my career goals dynamic.”
Thanks to the guidance of her professors and her own determination, Lynn has found great success in accounting – including back-to-back summer internships at global firm PwC, serving as president of the LMU Accounting Society, and working toward her M.S. in Taxation through LMU’s 4+1 program. She’s also actively involved in student organizations like the African Student Association, Delta Sigma Pi, and Sisters in Solidarity. For Lynn, the motivation for her endeavors can be summed up in one word: family.
“My family immigrated to the U.S. not long after the economic recession. I remember my parents working day in and day out to provide my brother and me with opportunities they didn’t have,” she reflected. “I didn’t realize it then, but my parents were trailblazers in their families. Now that I am old enough to understand, I, too, want to be a trailblazer and break glass ceilings.”
Lynn is well on her way to blazing a path to success. But Lynn today is very different from the Lynn who first stepped foot on the LMU campus three years ago. We dug a little deeper into her transformative LMU experience, ambitious career goals, and the piece of advice that changed her entire trajectory.
Tell me a little about your background and where you grew up.
I was originally born in Kenya, and I lived there for six or seven years before my family relocated to a small town in Germany (Giessen). We lived in Germany for about three years before we moved to the U.S. and settled in Seattle, which is where my family still lives.
Why did you choose LMU?
To be honest, LMU wasn’t initially on my list, mostly because I didn’t know it existed! A friend was adamant that I visit the campus when I traveled down to L.A. to check out other schools. I booked a last-minute campus tour and fell in love almost immediately. I knew I wanted to study business. I knew I wanted a mid-sized university. LMU had everything I was looking for.
And has LMU met your expectations?
My LMU experience has been nothing short of amazing. I feel like I’ve really grown and come so far from where I started. Courses like “Financial Accounting” first introduced me to the world of accounting, and “African American Religious Traditions” presented some very personal and eye-opening experiences of introspection. I’ve found one of the best parts of my LMU experience has been how holistic the university is; the constant encouragement to go out and explore classes outside of one’s major, the endless opportunities to get involved, and the strong sense of community.
What are your career goals?
My next major career goal is to graduate with my M.S. in Taxation from LMU in May 2025. I also have plans to get my CPA before (hopefully) joining PwC full-time that same year. One of my biggest career goals is to attend law school; I’ve wanted to be a lawyer since I was a little kid, and that dream still lives on. I look forward to making it a reality someday.
What’s something people may be surprised to learn about you?
People are often surprised to find out that I can speak four languages: English, Swahili, French, and whatever I can remember of my German!
Any advice for incoming or current accounting students?
My biggest piece of advice is to go out and take the shot; just do it. When I first arrived on campus post-pandemic, I was extremely introverted. I didn’t leave my dorm room often and I only attended one Accounting Society meeting my first semester because I was too nervous. But that meeting is what introduced me to the Big 4 and how I found out about internships at the firms. You miss every shot you don’t take. One of my mentors said this to me and I can’t find better words to encapsulate why I continue to push myself to try something new. Do the things that make you nervous, the payout is almost always rewarding. I was nervous to even declare accounting as my major, but now I can confidently say that it’s one of the best decisions I ever made.