By Caitlyn Thompson
Curious as to why accounting majors at Assumption College have spent the month of October in slacks, dress shoes, blazers, and ties? No, the business department hasn’t issued a dress code. Rather, seniors hoping to enter the world of public accounting have spent the first few weeks of fall interviewing with recruiters.
The fall recruiting season unofficially began on September 16 when the Assumption College Career Development and Internship Center hosted its annual accounting career fair. Students were exposed to about twenty firms this night, some of which returned to Assumption’s campus in early October to interview seniors eager to begin their careers in public accounting.
“I wanted public [accounting] because of all the opportunities,” said senior Caitlin Morin. “There is a lot of opportunity for growth in public as a whole. It was great to see some of the mid-size firms on campus this year at the accounting fair including Grant Thornton, McGladrey, and Marcum and I hope this trend continues in the future.”
McGladrey, Marcum, and DiCicco, Gulman & Company, are just three of fifteen firms who held interviews at the CDIC this recruiting season. According to Shannon Curtis, Assistant Director of the CDIC, in order to be considered for interviews with these firms, students had to first have their résumé polished and uploaded to Assumption’s Career Connection by mid-September. Only then could they apply with their desired firms, and wait to hear if they were selected for interviews.
Students who participated in this year’s fall recruiting felt the strain of scheduling interviews. Nicole Damaschi recalled, “If I had to go through this process again, I would narrow down the firms that I interview with to cut down on the stress that comes with scheduling interviews around class or missing class to attend one. I would also look more into the firms as a whole to decide if I truly could picture myself working there before going through the hassle of scheduling.”
Senior Adam Cabral explained that trying to fit interviews between classes, exams, work, and possible second round interviews with other firms can make life “extremely hectic.” What makes the process even more stressful is that it all transpires within three to five weeks. The business department tries to prepare its students during their junior year to prevent this frenzied feeling.
Department head Jennifer Niece explained that accounting majors are urged to attend an information session in April of their junior year that provides students an overview of what to expect when they return to campus in the fall. Curtis, or one of her associates, typically presents at this meeting. Students are urged to work on their résumés over the summer and given a general overview of the fall recruiting process. However, some students believe they need more preparation.
“The only thing I would say they could do better to prepare us,” suggested Demetra Votto, “is talk through what happens when you get the offer or what you can do if you’re given an offer before you’ve finished interviewing with everyone.”
Some students also believe they were inadequately informed about the different requirements some of the larger firms have. In the world of public accounting, the largest four firms, Deloitte, Ernst & Young, KPMG, and PwC, and many second tier firms will not even consider students with a GPA lower than a 3.0, and require candidates to have completed at least 150 credits. When interviewing students, these firms want to see a decisive plan on how the 150 will be obtained, as most undergrads graduate with only 120 credits.
Curtis explained that as the larger firms began to adopt the 150 policy, they stopped recruiting at Assumption because the college had no program to offer its students a way to obtain these extra credits. These larger firms have started to rebuild their relationship here with the recent development of the Early Career Track MBA Program in Accounting,
“While most other schools offer a MSA (Masters in Accounting), we felt that an MBA was more valuable,” explained Niece. “The ECT MBA offers students preparation for their CPA exam, real world experience through two internships, and mentorship. Through this 12-15 month program, students gain their 150 and an invaluable MBA, which puts them ahead of the game.”
So, how can undergraduate students stay ahead of the game before reaching the hectic fall recruiting season? Morin suggested, “Prepare, prepare, prepare! As a freshman or sophomore you may not see the need to have a résumé or begin looking at firms. Time passes quickly and before you know it, mid-September of senior year rolls around and all sorts of deadlines are approaching. The more you prepare ahead of time, the less stress you will face during recruiting.”
“I would sign up for any mock interviews that are planned,” Damaschi advised, “I did not participate in one and I regret it because I was so nervous for my first real interview. The mock interviews are good indicators of what employers will ask and can help build future connections as well.”
In addition to preparing a résumé and participating in mock interviews, underclassmen can also utilize the resources provided by Assumption’s Accounting Club. The club hosts two panels each year: one for public accounting in the fall, one for private accounting in the spring. The panels run in a question-answer type format where students have the chance to ask alumni about their careers in their respective industries. This is a great opportunity not only for networking, but to learn the difference between public and private firms, and gain advice from experienced alum.
As fall recruiting comes to an end, some seniors are celebrating job offers, some are continuing their search for internships, and some are bracing themselves for spring recruiting with private accounting firms. Nonetheless, students are overjoyed to be finishing up with their hectic month of interviewing, and cannot wait to ditch their slacks for sweatpants.