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The Beginning of New Adventures for Former Students

May 15, 2017, Chelsea Kujawa

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SIU’s May 13 graduation at the SIU Arena marked the end of a successful semester for students. U.S. Rep. Cheri Bustos, D-East Moline, was the keynote speaker at the ceremony for the College of Business and the College of Education and Human Services. Now serving her third term, Bustos has focused on job creation, strengthening the economy and building a stronger middle class. Initially a journalist, Bustos then worked for one of the nation’s largest non-denominational, non-profit health care systems before, during and after the passage of the Affordable Care Act. There, she helped families access affordable health care coverage and worked to improve the quality of health care available in the community.

Saturday was a special day for individuals who walked across the stage to receive the degrees that they have worked diligently to earn, and some graduates shared their thoughts about their time in the College of Business.

Alan “Jake” Ludlow, of Decatur, graduated with a bachelor’s degree in accounting. Ludlow will begin his professional career in August at Deloitte & Touche, LLP as a technology risk consultant within their advisory department. He credited the College of Business for preparing him for his future career.

“The College of Business and the opportunities it provides have been invaluable in my development both professionally and personally,” he said. “I have taken leadership positions in my registered student organization (RSO), and I worked in the Business Placement Center office at the College of Business. Both of these opportunities have instilled in me a sense of situational awareness within the professional world, an ability to communicate with people in many different environments, an appreciation for the necessity of organization, and many more transferable skills which I will carry with me throughout my career.”

“I have the College of Business to thank for most of my achievements during my time here,” Ludlow said. “My first job at the Business Placement Center taught me organizational skills and allowed me to learn how to work autonomously, and the connections it provided were crucial in obtaining my job after graduation. I would be remiss if I neglected to mention the professors in the College of Business. Their recognizable sincerity when dealing with students made them instantly approachable. I was never intimidated to ask for help because it was obvious they had a genuine desire to see their students succeed. I have met many people whose demeanor I can emulate in the professional world, and I am better prepared for it.”

Britni Harper, of Springfield, graduated with a master’s degree in accountancy. Harper will begin her career in September working with KPMG in St. Louis, Mo. In the meantime, she is studying for her remaining two CPA exams. She said the College of Business helped her prepare for her future career.

“The College of Business provided me with a foot in the door of my dream company,” Harper said. “The Business Placement Center held the annual Accounting Career Fair where I was able to meet recruiters from KPMG. The center made sure I was ready for my interview and gave me all the tools I needed to succeed.”

“The courses I took in accounting prepared me for my internship, allowing me to excel and obtain a job offer at its conclusion,” Harper added. “The Business Placement Center helped me iron out the details of my résumé to make it rock-solid when I began applying for internships. Also, the faculty members guided me in my career decision and were always available to answer any questions I had.’”

Ludlow’s advice for younger students came from one of his professors, Marcus Odom, professor of accountancy and Deloitte & Touche Faculty Fellow.

“As Dr. Odom would say, ‘get involved!’” Ludlow said. “As your presence on campus (specifically in the College of Business) increases, so will your confidence in your abilities. Testing your limits is the best way to improve, and the College of Business offers a wide variety of opportunities in which you can develop and cultivate soft skills that will be applicable for the rest of your life.”

Harper also shared some tips for younger students.

“Get to know your professors,” she said. “Intern/extern as many times as you can. The knowledge you can obtain about internships and career paths is far greater than what you could obtain from the classroom alone. It is about impressing the company, but even more so about exploring your future career and what you like and don’t like. Also, read the textbooks…it’s shocking how much that helps.”

The graduates also reminisced about what they are going to miss most about SIU.

“I will miss the communal atmosphere of SIU most of all,” Ludlow said. “Overall, people in this area are relaxed, helpful, and inclined to start a conversation. The attitude here is contagious, and I believe the Carbondale way of life will forever stick with me.”

“I will miss my coworkers and going in to work every day,” Harper said. “I have worked in the Advisement Office for more than four years now and have made some incredible friends, mentors and memories. I cannot imagine my SIU experience without my position in advisement. It allowed me to learn and grow as a leader, and brought a smile to my face multiple times a day, no matter how busy the work day was!”

The College of Business wishes the best of luck to all of the students as they graduate and pursue their dreams. Remember: Once a Saluki, Always a Saluki!