Corporate Accounting Career Panel Discussion
On November 2, over 70 students attended the sixth annual Corporate Accounting Career Panel Discussion, which was held on campus in Benson Center’s Mission Room. Jack Lazar (’87), Board Member / Advisor & former CFO / Operations Executive (who majored in accounting at SCU), moderated a panel of four SCU accounting/A&IS alums featuring:
- Taylor Beatty (’17), Manager, Financial Operations (The Connor Group)
- Arun Coumar (’17), Partner (Schwartz Advisors)
- Derek Nishikawa (’14), FP&A Senior Manager (Uniphore)
- Kristen Yoon ('09), Senior Director/Assistant Controller Informatica)
The Panel Discussion was organized by SCU’s Center for Accounting Research and Education (CARE), which is chartered by the Business School to strengthen the bridges between accounting research, accounting education, and accounting practice.
First year and sophomore students comprised 97% of the attendees. About 29% of the student attendees were accounting/A&IS majors, 29% were finance majors, and 23% were undeclared, with the remaining 19% consisting of business students with other majors.
Based on feedback received after the discussion, students appreciated the diversity of professional experience on the panel and learning why, for example, “majoring in accounting is never a bad decision” as long as you have an aptitude for accounting and enjoy solving puzzles. Skillfully guided by Jack, all of the panelists shared valuable, relatable insights about how an accounting/A&IS major can provide a fundamental building block for a variety of career paths.
Some of the takeaways from the Panel Discussion include the following:
- Accounting/A&IS majors typically have internships while attending SCU and usually have accepted full-time job offers by the beginning of their senior year.
- Hold yourself to a high professional standard and embrace “representative behavior.” You are a reflection of SCU and where you work.
- “No one expects you to be perfect.” You will make mistakes. Own them, “fix them” and ask questions so you do not repeat them.
- Network and stay connected, both as a student and especially after graduation.
- Studies show that your job performance improves when you take yourself more seriously. Practice personal hygiene, get dressed, and really show up to deliver your best work.
- “Be coachable, and have a coachable mindset.”
- It can be difficult to maintain an optimal work/life balance throughout your career, although busy times for people who work as accountants are somewhat predictable.
- While at SCU, grow your technical knowledge (especially excel), be organized (know the items on your “to-do” list and get them done), and learn how to write efficient and proper emails (that are succinct and informative).
We extend a special thanks to Mr. Lazar and the panelists for being candid and openly sharing their experiences with SCU students. Additionally, Mr. Lazar and the panelists stayed after the event to informally talk with individual students who had more questions. All of the student feedback indicated the event was informative and insightful, regardless of their major, with 96% of the student feedback indicating they were satisfied/very satisfied with the event.
In Winter Quarter 2023, the Center for Accounting Research and Education (CARE) will sponsor a second panel discussion on career opportunities for accounting / A&IS majors called “Accounting Information Night.” This second event will be held virtually and features a panel that includes CPA firm partners and senior executives with accounting / A&IS degrees, as well as small group breakout sessions with accounting professionals. This zoom event is open to students of all majors.