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Flagler grad finds career at happiest place on Earth

Apr 6, 2015
by Tom Iacuzio, ‘06

Most kids are fans of Disney growing up. The magic of watching a Disney movie, going to Walt Disney World or watching the Disney Channel is a part of most childhood experiences.

But it’s the lucky few, like Ian Waterhouse, ‘11, who get to grow up and peek behind the curtain.

Waterhouse works in the marketing finance department of Walt Disney Studios as a financial analyst, where he helps support marketing spending for the Worldwide Theatrical division.

“Each day is a new challenge,” said Waterhouse. “Currently working in finance supporting the Studio Marketing organization challenges me, as a clear understanding of the marketing plan for each of the departments I support is needed. This information is then utilized by our finance team to make decisions and support the business.”

Waterhouse said that in addition to attending meetings and preparing budgets, he also has the opportunity to volunteer at a variety of press events and premieres, as well as support the marketing teams on the front line.

Waterhouse first got the itch to join the Disney family as the state president for the Florida Association of Student Councils when he was in high school. He challenged all the schools in the state to do one project that year which would “Give a Child a Wish.” Waterhouse’s school took 40 pediatric oncology patients and their families to the Orlando theme park.

“I was amazed at the power the resort had to create a special place for these families to forget the challenges they face every day and enter into a world unlike any other,” said Waterhouse.
After that, he was hooked. 

Waterhouse began working for Disney during the summer of his freshman year at Flagler College as a skipper on the Jungle Cruise ride. During the fall of his junior year, Waterhouse took only one class so he could work full-time as an event management intern with the Walt Disney World Resort Park Event Operations team.

After obtaining his CPA license, Waterhouse began a two-year accounting rotation program at Disney, which consists of four six-month stints in different areas such as reporting, auditing and finance within company departments like Parks and Resorts, Disney Interactive and Media Networks.

“It is surreal to work for this company,” he said. “Many of my mentors here created the experiences of my childhood.”

Between his Flagler degrees in accounting and business administration, along with being actively involved with organizations such as the Student Government Association, the Student Judiciary Council and Enactus, Waterhouse felt more than prepared for the real world when he graduated.

“(The Business Administration Department) consistently challenged me and provided the foundational skills necessary for success,” said Waterhouse. “With the knowledge I acquired I was able to quickly obtain my CPA license and focus on growing industry specific skills rather than focusing solely on accounting and finance skillsets.”

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