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Gant Weeks, a senior in Accountancy and Finance from Huntsville, is seeking a career in advisory accounting. Thursday, Sept. 20, he came to the right place.
Weeks and dozens of Raymond J. Harbert College of Business students interested in internships and career opportunities met with recruiters from a variety of firms in the consulting and technology field — including three of the Big Four accounting firms — at Lowder Hall.
“Today has been a very good experience,” Weeks said on the first Industry Week of the fall semester. “I’m hoping for an internship in the summer and will come back to seek a masters in MSIS.”
Three of the Big Four firms represented Thursday included KPMG, Deloitte, and Ernst & Young. Other firms sending recruiters to Auburn were Quorum Business Solutions, Greenway Medical Tech, BIAS Corporation, Carter’s, Capgemini, Stanley Black & Decker, and Alvarez & Marsal.
This Industry Week was Alvarez & Marsal’s first recruiting trip to Auburn, and senior associates Natalie S. Lewis and Adam Dormuth, came away with a positive impression.
“From what I’ve seen, the energy has been a step above the other schools,” said Lewis. “We are very much impressed with the energy here. The students are all very excited. The students had big smiles on their faces.”
Alvarez & Marsal, according to its web site, is a “global firm that specializes in turnaround and interim management, performance improvement and business advisory services.” In other words, the company offers a variety of services which can attract a number of potential job candidates.
“We’re looking for someone who can think out of the box,” Lewis said. “What we do is different than normal accounting. It’s not just auditing, or tax accounting. Each case we do is different.” Dormuth graduated from the Harbert College of Business with a degree in International Business.
“The student (intern) doesn’t have to be an accounting student,” he said. “It could be someone who wants to go to law school.”
Dormuth credited his time at Auburn, and masters work at George Washington University, for helping him find an enjoyable career.
“I received a good business foundation here in finance and accounting,” he said. “From there, I went through a graduate program that resulted in federal employment and that led me here (Alvarez & Marsal). Auburn gave me a great foundation to get started professionally. It all started here at Auburn.”
As a federal employee, Dormuth investigated financial crimes for the U.S. Treasury Department.
What are recruiters looking for?
“We want someone who is a team player,” Lewis said. “You are working with upper levels. Foreign language skills are a plus. We have projects in multiple countries from around the world. You have to realize that you are not going to immediately going to jump to management. We want someone to understand the business and be a part of the group.”
Suzanne Ray, a Harbert MBA student from Chattanooga, wants to be part of the group.
“I’m graduating in December and I’m looking for a job,” Ray, who received her undergraduate in accounting at Tennessee—Chattanooga, said moments after speaking with KPMG representatives. “I’d like to go into one of the Big Four and work in risk assessment. I’ve met a lot of people and done a lot of networking. I’m so thankful that I came to Auburn for my MBA. There is a lot available here (for students seeking jobs and internships).”
Dan Wei, a second-year MBA student seeking a dual degree MS, eagerly approached the Ernst & Young display.
“My goal is to talk with company recruiters and build relationships through networking,” she said.
While students met with recruiters, KPMG Campus Development Manager Kristin J. Spivey, who focuses on Auburn University from the company’s Atlanta office, was pleased with what she saw.
“What sets Auburn recruits apart is professionalism,” she said. “We find that Auburn candidates have a good pitch. Their mannerisms and dress are extremely professional. I’m on campus constantly and students seek me out, say hello and maintain a network, which is extremely crucial.
“We’re very lucky that we have fabulous candidates to fill slots in our three practices (tax, audit and advisory). Auburn does a wonderful job to set up the students to network with these employers.”
Weeks said students should take more advantage of what the college’s Office of Professional and Career Development has to offer through résumé-building, mock interviews and connections to industry and careers.
“A lot of students don’t know what the OPCD offers them,” he said. “The OPCD is a very useful tool. This week, I had a mock interview, had someone there look at my résumé and here I am (interviewing with accounting firms).”
Lowder Hall will host three more industry weeks. The schedule and tentative list of firms expected on campus are as follows:
Lewis offered suggestions for future internship and career hopefuls.
“Be engaged,” Lewis said. “Have eye contact. Be excited about what you can bring to the table. As long as they are confident with who they are and present themselves well …”