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Alumnus Spotlight: Google Duane Driskell and You'll Find Him at Google

By Keith Morelli

Duane Driskell

TAMPA (October 12, 2020) -- Duane Driskell, an alumnus of the Lynn Pippenger School of Accountancy, just started a job of a lifetime, working as a corporate finance associate at Google.

The Google, headquartered in San Francisco.

“What excites me the most about working at Google is the opportunity to learn,” he said. “In just a few short weeks, I’ve realized there is so much to Google and what their goals are. I am fortunate to be able to participate.”

Driskell, a former 25 Under 25 honoree and Business Honors Program student at the Muma College of Business, began building his network as a student. Networking, it turned out, played a big part in landing him the job last month. As a student, he took advantage of every introduction made to him. Even when he met with mentors that couldn’t offer him a job, he was appreciative of the conversation and the perspective and insight that they provided. He learned how to search for jobs and play to his strengths and he left USF with a strong and broad network.

He comes from a modest home, a family of six sharing a cramped two-bedroom apartment. He was determined to overcome the adversity and, thanks to his mother’s strong emphasis on educatiion, he knew that it started with college. He worked hard in high school and was able to come to USF as part of the invitation-only Bulls Business Community. He also gained early admission to the business school and be part of the Business Honors Program.

Being a part of these two groups introduced him to some unfamiliar things, such as internships, study-abroad opportunities and, of course, the importance of networking.

“Networking contacts are just as important as actual skills in corporate America,” Driskell said. “Advancement is difficult if you don’t have both. You are going to need both the track record to prove your capabilities, and also a sponsor to vouch for you.”

During his time at USF, Driskell participated in a six-week study-abroad program in Italy, had a one-on-one with business leader and Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik, enjoyed dinner with USF’s Board of Trustees, worked as an intern with USF Athletics and served as a student assistant for the College of Mathematics and Statistics’ Urban Scholars Outreach program.

One important aspect of college life is missing from his resume. Driskell said that he greatly benefited from the diversity of the Muma College of Business. Meeting classmates that came from different parts of the country and the world really gave him a new perspective as well as a travel bug. He has taken several trips with the friends he made during his travel abroad experience in Italy.

As a student, he first discovered his interest in finance and investments after he interned with several public accounting companies including Deloitte, a global accounting giant.

Visiting his girlfriend in San Francisco, he came across a finance boot camp offered by an organization called Latinos in Finance. Of course, Driskell took advantage of the networking opportunity, he attended and met a recruiter from Wells Fargo. The connection stuck and Driskell moved to San Francisco after graduation in 2017 to begin working with the company. He started with Wells Fargo in a rotational program on investment portfolios and began working with the trading team as well as in a credit analyst role.

It was not long before Driskell heard about an opening at Google, through a connection with a former coworker from Wells Fargo, and he applied.

He now works in a joint role in internal corporate finance and asset management, working on internal initiatives like renewable energy, affordable housing, racial equity funding, in addition to providing credit support for subsidiaries. He feels his background in accounting really helped him throughout the interview process in landing a role that focuses on both investments and accounting.

Driskell still works with the program that initially brought him out to California. Last month he coordinated the Latinos in Finance Boot Camp, which was virtual due to COVID-19.

“USF provided me with diverse perspectives when living on campus as a part of the Bulls Business Community,” he said. “My opinions were thoroughly challenged throughout my time there. I think being able to accept different perspectives, whether you agree or not, will take you far in life and help you relate to others.”