Inaugural banquet opens students’ eyes to accounting careers
As Mike Quackenbush (BSAc ’92, MAcc ’93) surveyed the 40-plus business students gathered for Tuesday’s Fisher School of Accounting’s “Careers in Accounting” banquet at the Hilton UF Conference Center Hotel, he recognized a familiar look on their faces.
It was the same one he had about 25 years ago when he was wondering which major to pursue.
“I started off a as a journalism major, then a finance major before I came to accounting,” said Quackenbush, a Partner at PwC’s Tampa office. “I could definitely see myself in their shoes.”
The “Careers in Accounting” banquet was designed to help address the uncertainty business students have about careers in accounting. The event hosted some of the College’s top-performing sophomores whose present academic track has them near or on course for a bachelor’s degree in accounting.
The Fisher School welcomed alumni and recruiters from the Big 4 accounting firms—Deloitte, EY, KPMG, and PwC—as well as BDO, Grant Thornton, and RSM. In addition to formal panel discussions, students dined with these successful business leaders to learn even more about the profession. They also engaged with current Fisher master’s students to learn about the program and their internship and recruiting experiences.
Sophomore Regan Lee, who had already switched majors from finance to accounting, said Tuesday’s event affirmed her commitment to accounting. She was especially pleased to hear about the variety of roles accounting graduates can attain.
“You hear about the traditional route of going into a leadership program, then on to a Big 4,” Lee said. “The banquet helped me realize that once you get there, you’re not stuck in audit or tax the rest of your life. You can go into investment banking or become an entrepreneur and start your own business. You have a lot of options.”
Parvina Esreepersaud, a management major, said the event helped dispel the misconception that accountants are chained to their desks filing tax returns. Esreepersaud said the banquet, plus her positive experience in her Financial Accounting class, has motivated her to pursue an accounting minor.
“I think a lot of us were pleasantly surprised about the directions accounting can take you,” she said.