She had a real education in rooting out fraud

Look out world

It was inevitable that Andrea Jaffe would attend Binghamton University. The daughter of parents who met at Binghamton in the mid-’70s, Jaffe also has two older sisters who graduated from Binghamton.

“When I was younger I always wanted to go here, to be like my parents,” she says. “It’s a really good school and I just always wanted to come. I literally got my early action decision and put my deposit in the next day. I didn’t even want to apply to any other schools.”

So even though it seemed “a given” that she would attend Binghamton, what she would accomplish here was an unknown. Now, after earning her bachelor’s degree a year ago and a master’s degree this year, she has accomplished plenty.

Jaffe spent the past year as a graduate assistant in the University’s Office of Internal Audit, an experience that has been more than she, or anyone else, could have predicted.

It started last year, when the University’s internal auditor, S. Mark Hall, selected Jaffe from the cohort of School of Management graduate students he interviewed to work in his office for the 2010–11 academic year. By the time the job ended in May, Jaffe had helped investigate fraud charges with an international scope, which required her to work closely with New York State University Police, the Broome County district attorney’s office and several offices on campus.

This, even as she worked for Undergraduate Admissions, supervising 85 tour guides, and completed her coursework.

“She’s a very professional person who can work under time pressures and doesn’t get shook,” Hall says. “She knows how to keep pressure in line and gets things done right. She’s a perfectionist who is extremely hard working and loves to learn.”

Jaffe also impressed Interim Chief of Police Timothy Faughnan.

“Without naming the case in particular that involved a lot of investigative work, Andrea actually at one point had a map hanging on the wall to track the individual’s movements,” he says. “She really dug into this case and did a tremendous amount of work to help us develop the audit trail and uncover the fraud. She showed a great deal of diligence and attention to detail, and it resulted in a successful audit that helped us in our criminal case.

“I think she was in a pretty unique situation for a student intern, and she did it well,” Faughnan adds.

Jaffe said it helps to not freak out when things don’t go as planned, because they almost always don’t. “I’ve learned a lot this year. When I started it was really overwhelming, and I thought, ‘I’m just going to go with it and see how my multitasking skills are,’” she says.

“My dad is an accountant, but I never wanted to do that,” Jaffe says. “For most of middle and high school, I wanted to go to law school. Columbia was my dream.”

But her path has changed since attending Binghamton as an undergraduate in the School of Management and as she pursued her master’s in accounting. She will begin a job with Ernst & Young in Chicago in September, in their audit assurance line.