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Accounting department prepares students for entering the workplace

Accounting students meet with representatives from large firms at the annual networking, Meet the Firms, on Sept. 23. | Photo courtesy of Aubrey Martin

 

The accounting department, although among the smallest departments on campus, graduates 95 percent of students with jobs already waiting for them.

“I’m not worried about if you’re going to get a job, I’m worried about what job you’re going to get,” said Dr. Philip Woodward, associate professor of accounting.

In the last year, the accounting department increased by 25 percent, Woodward said. Last spring semester, accounting students numbered in the low thirties, compared to this semester’s 43 students. The growth of the major can be credited to Biola’s Masters in Professional Accounting program, as well as the student networking event called Meet the Firms.

ATTRACTING EMPLOYERS

In order to graduate with a Certified Public Accounting License students must complete 150 units, and the MPAcc program at Biola allows students to finish their masters degree in one year. To graduate in five years with a masters degree impresses many prospective employers, said Woodward.

Students have the opportunity to interact with potential employers at Meet the Firms, an event that has been running for about 27 years at colleges around the country, Woodward said. However, due to its small size, Biola was unable to participate in Meet the Firms in the past until Woodward decided to invite all of the smaller schools to Biola to host the event. This created a larger pool of students for the firms to look at.

Schools such as Azusa Pacific University, Mount St. Mary's College and California Baptist University attended Meet the Firms on Sept. 23, hosted in the Business Building's Moats Auditorium and Talbot East. Representatives from Deloitte, KPMG, PricewaterhouseCoopers, and Ernst & Young, referred to as the Big Four, held a panel discussion and networked with students throughout the evening.

“To have that kind of job fair on campus is exciting because you get the chance to talk to some really high-end individuals while you’re still here at Biola. It really shows the quality of our program that [the firms] would be willing to try and recruit our students” said Karl Reimer, junior accounting major.

ACCOUNTING STUDENTS LINE UP JOBS

The job hunting process starts sooner for accounting students than other departments, and Meet the Firms provides the opportunity to set up potential jobs.

“The analogy is college sports: you start recruiting students not when they’re ready to graduate — you start recruiting them in their junior, maybe their sophomore years. [The] first one to the doorstep may have an advantage,” Woodward said.

The accounting department does a fantastic job of pushing students early on to stay career focused, and to prepare them for the recruitment process, said Kevin Vandekamp, junior accounting major.

This networking event has proven successful for several accounting students. During his sophomore year, Vandekamp participated in three leadership conferences for Meet the Firms. Involvement with these conferences connected Vandekamp to a paid internship this upcoming summer with Deloitte and Touche, one of the big four firms, which will most likely lead to a full time job offer after he graduates. Reimer will also have a paid internship this summer with KPMG, another Big Four firm.

Tyler Hormel, junior accounting major and Associated Students president, interacted with Deloitte and KPMG at Meet the Firms last fall, followed up with them in the spring and went to leadership conferences for both companies. Tyler also has a paid internship with Deloitte this upcoming summer that will hopefully lead him to a full-time job.

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