Like so many other college students, Shane Saginak came to school searching for the right major and career. Luckily, once he arrived at Fort Lewis College from New York, a little bit of advice helped him find his way.
“My advisors told me: ‘You’re organized. You’re smart. Do you want to have a job after school?’” the senior accounting major recalls. “I’m like, ‘Well, yeah.’ So I went into accounting, and I have an offer for an internship coming up this summer and hopefully following that I’ll have a job offer.”
There is no need to be hopeful for Autumn Miller, a 2014 accounting graduate from Arizona. She already had a job with national accounting firm BKD lined up before she even graduated.
Autumn and Shane’s experiences are not unusual for students studying accounting at Fort Lewis College. Accounting graduates are putting their education to work from Seattle to Washington, D.C., as well as abroad in places like Paris, London, Stockholm, and Brussels. Often students have job offers before they graduate.
“One of the firms up in Denver recently hired five of our students: two of them full time and three of them as interns [update: today all five are employed full time],” says Dr. Doug Lyon, dean of the FLC School of Business Administration. “When the [firm’s] partner wrote us an email talking to us about that outcome, he mentioned that they make offers to approximately half of the students that come into their office, and it was remarkable that all five of the students from Fort Lewis College got offers. It speaks very highly to their training and the professional development experiences they’ve had here.”
So, why the success? How does a smaller college in a small town do such a great job of preparing their accounting students for amazing careers? One reason is the accounting roadshow, an organized trip the professors take with their students to Denver and other big cities to visit top accounting firms and organizations.
The roadshow is an opportunity to bridge the gap between students who want to study in small, beautiful Durango, but also have a career in the high powered accounting firms that typically reside in big cities.
That can be said for FLC alumnus John Allen (’07) who went on a roadshow while he was a student. During that trip, one of the firms he visited was BKD. Today, John is more than six years into his career at the company.
“What an experience,” he says of his roadshow trip while sitting in BKD’s Denver office. “We toured a lot of the larger firms, including this one, and we did a couple of the general commercial businesses.”
“The roadshow gave me an idea of, okay, there are quite a few public accounting firms out there and they do want to recruit us. They want good talent, especially students from Fort Lewis College,” he says.
“I think it really helps to show students what there is after college,” Autumn says of her roadshow experience. “We’re all taking these classes; we don’t really know what we’re going to do when we graduate. So I think going on this roadshow, we kind of see how it is in the business world and we get to meet people there. So we know it’s not a scary thing.”
In a world where even college graduates sometimes struggle to find good jobs, Fort Lewis College accounting graduates are finding great careers.
“If you major in accounting at Fort Lewis College, and perform well,” says Dean Lyon, “it is highly likely that you’ll have a good job upon graduation.”
Learn more about the Fort Lewis College Accounting Program.