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By Felicia Krieg
When it comes to connecting classroom success to career opportunities, SUNY Plattburgh’s accounting program puts up some strong numbers.
In the past five years alone, 71 SUNY Plattsburgh accounting students received job offers before they graduated, said Dr. Mohamed Gaber, professor and chair of the accounting department.
“It was and still is an amazing recruiting season for accounting graduating majors,” Gaber said. “Due to hard work of our majors and a strong curriculum, our graduating seniors have earned some of the best job offers ever available in the current market with the highest possible compensation packages that any graduate from top schools in the nation can attain.”
Accounting students take many of their classes in AuSable Hall, a $14.2 million academic building that opened in 2013. They agree that while the program is rigorous, it has equipped them well for life after college.
“The accounting program at SUNY Plattsburgh challenges the students,” said senior Alisha Ducatte. “Upon graduation in May 2016, I believe I will be as prepared as I possibly could be entering into my professional career.”
"SUNY Plattsburgh has set me up to be successful in life and for that I am eternally grateful." - Molly Lundgren ‘15
Ducatte has accepted a job as an associate for Grant Thorton, one of the world’s largest consulting and accounting firms. She will work in the company’s Washington D.C. office.
Ducatte interned at the Comfort Inn & Suites’ Plattsburgh hotel, working as the accounts receivable manager and guest relations manager. There, she gained analytical, decision-making and customer relations skills.
“The accounting program at Plattsburgh is an excellent one,” said senior Danielle Farron, who will graduate in May 2016.
Farron has completed five accounting internships during her college career, three in private accounting and two in public accounting. They include an internship at IBM and one in an accounting firm in Ireland.
After Farron graduates, she will work as an audit assistant in the Albany office of The Bonadio Group, a CPA firm.
Senior Darrin Williams said much of the challenge in accounting lies not in finding a particular number but in understanding the reasoning behind it.
“This is what the accounting program has taught me, to always be inquisitive and question every number that is produced,” Williams said.
He interned at Community Care Physicians, Method3 and IBM.
Williams and senior Molly Lundgren have both accepted jobs at Grant Thorton and will work in the company’s Manhattan office after they graduate in May 2016.
Lundgren triple majored in accounting, business administration and international business.
She was a manufacturing finance intern for GlobalFoundries, an international electronic parts manufacturing company, earlier this year.
“My internship reaffirmed my love for accounting,” she said.
Career search success in the accounting department is a team effort among faculty, counselors in the Career Development Center, and Mary Carpenter, director of internship and career opportunities for the School of Business and Economics.
Alumni also play an active role.
Each year, accounting firms contact Gaber to request the resumes of qualified accounting majors. Chris Steinhardt ’91, managing director at Grant Thorton, and Richard Geoffroy ’93, a partner at KPMG in Boston, have both come to campus to recruit SUNY Plattsburgh accounting majors.
"In the past five years alone, 71 SUNY Plattsburgh accounting students received job offers before they graduated."
SUNY Plattsburgh also has ties to IBM that date back to 1996.
Senior Dylan Bailey, who is graduating this month, has accepted a job as an accounting analyst at IBM. Bailey interned with the Peru Central School District treasury department and at a private accounting firm.
“I learned a lot about workplace ethics and ways of figuring out information on my own,” he said.
Michael Richter, a Dec. 2015 graduate, has worked in internal audit and compliance support at a local hospital since the beginning of his sophomore year of college. He accepted a job as an audit associate at the national CPA and consulting firm Johnson Lambert.
Lundgren said the accounting program gave her the base knowledge to succeed as an accountant. But faculty members didn’t just help her in the classroom.
“In addition to the academia, the professors are all willing to go above and beyond to help you with anything you need; whether it is homework help, test prep, career advice or networking.”
Accounting lecturer Dean Steria had the biggest impact on Lundgren in her time at SUNY Plattsburgh, she said.
“Dean went above and beyond what is expected from an advisor and professor,” Lundgren said. “He spent countless hours with me going over the different paths I could take with an accounting degree and helped me find the best fit, then helped me find internships and jobs that would prove that it was a good fit.”
Students said Gaber acted as a mentor, encouraging them to work hard and perform well in their classes and take advantage of networking opportunities.
“His passion for advising and teaching shines through so strongly, it is contagious,” Farron said of Gaber. “He has been there for me since I was a freshman, guiding me down the right paths and leading me to many amazing opportunities.”
“Dr. Gaber was the biggest and most influential teacher I had,” Richter said. “He pushed me to reach for the best and was always there to answer questions if I had them.”
While the students look forward to entering the workforce, they all said they will miss SUNY Plattsburgh.
“Plattsburgh has honestly been one of the greatest things that has happened to me so far,” Lundgren said. “The people that I have met, the relationships I have created and the knowledge and experiences I have gained are insurmountable. SUNY Plattsburgh has set me up to be successful in life and for that I am eternally grateful.”
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