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Job numbers soar for accounting students

January 27, 2011, Courtesy of Daily Egyptian

${image-alt} Matthew Purdy, Associate Director at the Business Placement Center, helps prepare students to land careers and internships

Shooting golf and riding in golf carts with professionals in accounting firms is just one of many networking opportunities Michelle Rusin participates in as a member of Beta Alpha Psi.

Marcus Odom, Director for the School of Accountancy, introduced faculty, staff, and student organizations at Tuesday night’s Welcome Back Event in Lawson Hall.

The purpose of the event is for students to learn about the student organizations they offer and get them back into the swing of things after break, Odom said.

Matthew Purdy, Associate Director of Career Services and Placement and Extern Coordinator for the College of Business said they recommend students come see them in the Placement Center as soon as they come to SIU.

They had a freshman student apply for an internship with Deloitte, a major international accounting and consulting firm, in the fall and received her news of acceptance over winter break.

According to the Placement Center’s records, accounting majors had a 70 percent employment placement and continued education rate for undergraduates in the fall 2010 and a 62 percent in spring 2010, the highest in the College of Business.

“We sometimes refer to ourselves as matchmakers,” Purdy said. “We connect our students to employers and we do it in multiple ways.”

The Placement Center in the College of Business does interview coaching by creating a bank of questions when students bring in their resumes, requiring them to dress in business attire and video tape them so they can both go through the interview and discuss what was done well and what can be approved upon, he said.

Rusin, President of BAP and a graduate student in accountancy from Palos Heights, Illinois said the School of Accountancy is a bridge for networking opportunities with recruiters.

There is a career fair held in the beginning of fall, exclusively for accounting majors, where professionals come to network and share their experiences with students, Rusin said. She said the annual golf scramble hosted by the Accounting Society is held the next day, where students can group up with professionals to golf, while building informal relationships with them.

“I see what these organizations do and I get to see students grow into young professionals,” Purdy said. “I know there’s got to be a correlation between getting involved and going above and beyond with personal and professional success outside of the classroom.”

Rusin said BAP takes part in volunteer income tax assistance beginning in January and continuing through the last Saturday before tax day. Each member that participates must go through training and pass a test before they can start, she said.

VITA is free, but only available for simple 1040 tax returns without schedules, Odom said.

The 1040 is a basic tax form that helps taxpayers add up all their sources of income, so they can determine how much a person owes or will be refunded. A tax schedule is a rate sheet that determines a taxpayer’s estimated taxes due.

The BAP, AS, and National Association for Black Accountants meet together and take turns recruiting speakers during each semester, Rusin said. 75 to 80 students attend the meetings where professionals give them insight into today’s industry, discussing resumes, interview tips, and what they are look for when hiring, she said.

Rusin said she sees accounting recruiters more often on campus than anyone else.

“We don’t have many recruiters in (Carbondale), so it’s a very precious opportunity to meet (accounting) recruiters on campus,” said Wanning Li, a graduate student in accounting from China and new member of NABA.

KPMG, Deloitte, Ernst & Young and PricewaterhouseCoopers are the Big Four auditors that you want to network with, Rusin said.

“They’re a stepping stone to every other career job you can have in accounting,” Rusin said. “If you started in the Big Four and you worked your way up to manager and go back and work in the industry, odds are your going to be making more in the industry because you’ll have more experience and they want you.”

Li said every faculty member strives for a high level of future development for students by doing everything they can to help students find the right career path for them.

The Placement Center offers online resources like Experience, Internships.com, Vault.com, and WetFeet where students can post their resume and search for internship and job opportunities, Purdy said.

Purdy said that 20 percents of student’s time should be spent online and 80 percent should be spent networking when searching for jobs.

“You cannot replace the personal connections you get by knowing a recruiter,” Purdy said.