TILF Success Stories: Meet Neil Rabroker
Posted by Trudy Richards on 03/22/2013
TILF Scholar Neil Rabroker came to Texas A&M University his freshman year knowing and loving accounting.
“I ended up making a 100 in the first financial accounting honors class and then got asked to be the TA for the class,” he said. “I am one of the first sophomores to do it, and thank the UIL accounting program completely for it.”
Neil joined the UIL accounting team as a sophomore, after taking the class offered at Rosebud-Lott High School. He placed in State as a sophomore and returned the next year looking for victory.
“I ended up tying for first place with one miss on the test to win the 2A title,” he recalled. “My senior year, I again started strong by winning all seven of the invitational meets that I attended.”
Winning with Neil along the way was the Rosebud-Lott High School accounting team, which won the state title in 2009. The team returned to the UIL State Meet in 2011, a “really memorable” time for Neil. Thirty minutes before his test began, Neil was stung by a bee—twice—in the neck.
“My teacher gave me a Benadryl which made me very drowsy during the test,” he said. “I don't know how I ended up staying awake the whole time, but I did. I took the title for the second year in a row with a perfect score on the test.”
At the State Meet, Neil was recognized for achieving the highest accounting test scores at the district, regional, and state level. It was a joy he was happy to share with his teammates.
“My team also ended up winning the state title,” he said. “I became such close friends with all of my teammates during my years in the contest. We all worked so hard and spent so much time together.”
Neil remembers how UIL accounting helped develop his problem-solving abilities and has some advice for competitors.
“I would tell you the best thing you can do is take multiple practice exams,” he said. “The more tests you take, you will start to see the same questions asked over in the exact same way or slightly changed. Having taken so many exams helped me know already how to work through problems when I first saw it.”
Those skills are now being put to use at Neil’s new job. As a teaching assistant, his responsibilities include proctoring night exams and manning the Accounting Help Desk.
“This help desk is where students taking the class can come to get help working the chapter quizzes, homework exercises, and with test reviews,” he said. “We also help students with any questions that they might not have understood while in class that day or week.”
Neil assists in teaching twelve sections of the introductory financial accounting class, each with 70 to 80 students. Do the math and that’s about 900 students.
“Sometimes it’s hard and nerve-racking to come talk to a professor or TA when you are confused with a subject, but having somebody that is easy to relate with makes everything a little easier,” he said.
Neil notes that students “sit there shocked” when he reveals his sophomore status.
“I think they came in thinking this would be a bunch of Master's students that are almost ready to graduate, and what they get is myself who only took this class a semester ago,” he said. Neil’s accounting background makes him especially appreciative of the value the TILF program.
“This scholarship means so much because the cost of college is increasing, and every dollar counts. I am so thankful for everything this program [TILF] has given me, and I am so thankful that it continues to give to me through my college years,” Neil said. “I would have to work a whole lot more, and not be as involved on campus if I didn't receive scholarships.”
Neil helps to cultivate his community as a member of Big Event Committee and Class Councils, working to arrange Texas A&M traditions and service projects on campus. He has also worked as a “Fish Camp” orientation counselor and Business Honors Peer Leader, preparing incoming freshmen for college life and what to expect when studying business.
“I feel that it has helped with ability to communicate my thoughts with the students that come asking for help,” he said. “It lets me relate to the freshmen on a different level than some of my co-workers who are fifth year seniors who have not talked to a freshmen in a couple of years,” he said.
And what about the pressures of managing peers his age?
“Honestly, I feel like that was the one thing I stressed about most before coming to this job, but has ended up being the easiest part,” he said. “Everyone is so respectful and listens so well to what I am saying so they comprehend the things that I may be describing to them.”
Neil reflects that overall, this experience has taught him how to manage and communicate clearly with his peers.
“When I go out into the business world one day I will not have to struggle as much when it comes down to leading colleagues on major task and projects,” he said. “This ability to communicate has really translated over to success with my job.”
Neil is planning to earn his Master's degree in accounting before taking the certified public accountant (CPA) exam.
“After that I have a few ideas still up in the air,” he said. “I want to somehow end up being a Chief Financial Officer of a Fortune 500 corporation or work in law. If I don't do that I might go get a doctorate in accounting and become a professor and maybe dean of the business school at Texas A&M.”
Written by Jan Ross Piedad