Growing up, Jackie Rottmann knew she wanted to pursue a career in accounting. Jackie’s dad is an accountant, and she felt it was in her blood to be an accountant too. In high school, she took a variety of business classes, including accounting, business law, pre-calculus, and statistics, to gain experience in many areas. Accounting was her favorite.
When Jackie Rottmann began looking at colleges during her junior year in high school, she knew that she wanted to go a school that was about five hours away from her home on Long Island. This would make her far enough away to experience independence in a new place, but close enough to go home for the weekend any time she chose.
Initially, Jackie felt that she really wanted to go to school in Boston, specifically to a business school. She says, “My dad didn’t want me to go to a business-only school. He feared that if I wanted to change and study a non-business major, I would have to change colleges as well.”
Jackie knew someone from her high school who went to Catholic University in Washington, D.C., and she ended up visiting. In looking at colleges, Catholic University seemed like a good fit; the school offered a variety of programs outside of business, and they gave Jackie a partial merit scholarship based on her grades, activities, and Roman Catholic background.
When Jackie began her freshman year at Catholic University in 1997, she entered as an accounting major in the school of Arts and Sciences. Today, Catholic University has a Business School, but at that time the school did not. Jackie took Accounting 101 during her first semester freshman year, and she found the class to be very difficult, even after taking an accounting class in high school.
Jackie was also required to take a core curriculum of arts and sciences classes. “My classes outside of business made me more well-rounded, but it was also hard to motivate myself to put the work in. So I made it my goal to try to find the most interesting classes that I could outside of my major. I took a rock poetry class and a class on death and dying. I also tried to do a minor in computer science in order to get exposure to this area.”
Upon graduating in 2001, Jackie says, “My first intention was to go to a year of grad school at Catholic University and get my accounting masters. Then, I got a job offer to work at the Department of Defense doing auditing, but it wasn’t going to pay much. Plus, I felt pressure to find a job working for a big five accounting firm.” Then, September 11th happened, and she was hesitant about whether to work in New York City. Firms stopped hiring, and the economy wasn’t doing well. It was a time of uncertainty.
Jackie got her first job on Long Island, working in Accounts Receivable for American Pie, a frozen foods manufacturer that supplies Marie Callendar’s Pies and Claim Jumper, a restaurant chain on the West Coast. Jackie worked on collections, settled invoices, and dealt with food stores.
“I worked there for two years, and finally knew I didn’t want to stay on Long Island. I wanted to move into New York City, and experience the city lifestyle. My friends were all moving there.” Jackie found a job listed on Craigslist for MajorLeagueBaseball.com in New York City, and she applied.
Jackie says, “I was given an interview for a staff accountant position in the ticketing department at MLB.com’s corporate office, which is located on 9th Avenue between 14th and 15th Streets. The office is in an old Nabisco Factory in Chelsea Market. It was a great location and very cool to be sharing the same building with the Food Network and YouTube.” The interview went really well, and Jackie was offered the job.
MLB.com was founded in 2001, and when Jackie started working there in 2004, there were about five people working in her division. She often got experience working on outside projects in sales tax and revenue shares for outside partners. Now, her department has grown to 25 people, and these side projects have become separate jobs and departments.
Jackie says, “Six years ago, I got fed up with New York. My friends were getting married and moving out to Long Island. I had a great group of people that I worked with and we would go out during the week a lot, but weekends were not as fun in the city.”
Additionally, Wachovia (now Wells Fargo) had offered Jackie’s father a job in North Carolina, and Jackie’s family had moved to Charlotte.
Jackie decided to quit her job at MLB.com, and she told them she was going to move to North Carolina. Her boss at MLB.com, however, offered her the opportunity to work remotely as a consultant until she found a job, or until MLB.com found someone to replace her. For every ticket baseball ticket that is sold online, the buyer is charged a convenience fee for the ability to purchase a ticket via the internet. MLB.com collects this convenience fee, and Jackie works on the accounting of these fees.
Though originally conceived of as a temporary arrangement, it worked out so well that Jackie was given the job permanently. She now travels to the corporate office in New York City every 2-3 months and is very happy with this arrangement. Jackie says, “The majority of ticketing involves dealing with the clubs, and all ticketing providers, so it is outside of the office anyway.”
After Jackie moved down to Charlotte, she decided to go back to school and get her MBA. She graduated in 2011 from Northeastern University’s online program with a dual specialization in Finance and Innovation Entrepreneurship. She felt that her work experience really helped her in completing her MBA.
The MBA benefited her greatly at work as well. “Overall it did help me to be better at my job,” she said. “The benefit of an MBA is that it changed the way I was looking at my job and my responsibilities. It helped me to see past the day-to-day and focus on the bigger picture, similar to what management would do.”
Jackie likes the slower pace in North Carolina and feels much more laid back. Ironically, the majority of people she interacts with and knows are Northerners.
“Charlotte is a growing city and the banks have recruited a lot of people from the Northeast. Many people have relocated here and they don’t have a family network so neighbors reach out to each other more. Housing developments have communal spaces, pools, and golf courses which provide an active social life.”
Working for MLB.com does have its perks. Jackie gets a baseball pass every year that will get her into any ballpark for any major or minor league game. She also receives discounts on merchandise. Jackie and her family are die-hard Mets fans. Growing up, if they weren’t watching a Mets game, they were watching a Jets game.
“It’s an office that encourages you to wear your favorite team’s hat and baseball shirt to work and display a bobble head doll on your desk. We played a yearly softball game at Shea Stadium. It’s a fun place to work, and the people are very passionate about what they do.”