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Many CMU accounting students offered employment before graduation

Finding the right job after graduation can be a source of anxiety for many students, but some students in Colorado Mesa University’s accounting program have jobs lined up more than a year before they graduate. The accounting program and accounting club prepare and give students ample opportunities to be recruited by firms prior to graduation.

“Our main goal of the accounting club is to get people recruited,” said Accounting Club President Miranda Crissman. “All of our events are networking events, informational events or touring firms.”

Crissman is graduating in May 2020 and has been already offered a job after she graduates. She will work for Plante Moran, the 11th largest firm in the nation, at their Denver office. For Crissman, the recruiting process began in fall 2017 when she attended a networking event and signed up for first-round interviews with Plante Moran. She was invited for second round interviews where afterwards she was offered an internship during the summer. After her internship, she was offered a position at Plante Moran starting August 2020.

“My favorite part of accounting is the problem solving. It’s like doing a puzzle every day and it’s always different, you’re not going to do the same thing,” said Crissman.

Associate Professor of Accounting Suzanne Owens can attest to the hard work required of accounting students but knows the rigorous program is preparing accounting students for life after graduation.  

“You’re going to put in a lot of time and a lot of effort to get an accounting degree, but it’ll be worth it in the long run.”

During student Katie Nelson’s sophomore year, she took Owens professional preparation class for accounting where the final project was to complete a mock interview. Her mock interview was with local firm Dalby, Wendland & Co. and she kept the company in the back of her mind. Her junior year she applied and was offered an internship for spring 2018. After her internship she was offered a position after she graduates in May 2019.

“I was amazed that it happens so quickly,” said Nelson. “I thought it’d be one of those situations where you wait till May, after you graduated, and then you start looking.”

Both Crissman and Nelson have experienced the rigorous work of the accounting program and can attest to how it has prepared them for after graduation.

“It’s definitely worth the hard work and the hard work pays off in the end,” said Nelson. “You have to earn the accounting degree. It doesn’t come super easy.”

The hard work during college is not over after graduation for students wanting to become a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). To get a CPA license students must take the CPA exam. The CPA exam is a four-part test with each part being three to four hours long. Each part must be passed with a 75 or higher and after the first test students must pass the other three parts within 18 months.

“The national pass rate is about 45 percent depending on which part of the exam you are looking at,” said Owens. “The exam consists of some multiple-choice questions as well as what we call simulations where they are actually doing accounting or auditing work, as well as a written component. So they’re tested on virtually what we would cover in their last three years of their accounting degree.”

“Our students, if they are willing to work, will get out of here with really good jobs to start their careers,” said Owens. “The accounting career especially for a licensed CPA is a lucrative and rewarding career.”