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Friday, June 14, 2024

Inspiring Success Through HBCU Accounting Networks


Last Updated on May 22, 2024

Michael Stallworth Jr. smiling in front of the PwC building, wearing an Alabama State University cardigan.

Hey HBCU trailblazers! Let’s jump into a story that’s not just about academic success but about leveraging the power of networking, and how Accounting+ can help you navigate your career in accounting. Meet Michael Stallworth Jr., a standout junior accounting major at Alabama State University (ASU), and a dynamic, determined, and driven visionary. 

As the Student President of two organizations on campus — ASU’s National Association of Black Accountants (NABA) chapter and the National Pan-Hellenic Council, Michael has his work cut out for him, spending his time blending rigorous academic pursuits with leadership roles that support his professional and personal growth. He’s also an SGA Student Senator and an active participant in the Society for Financial Education and Professional Development (SFEPD) and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). With a résumé that includes internships and fellowships at EY, U.S. Bank, Goldman Sachs, and an HBCU Battle of the Brains Championship title, Michael doesn’t just show up; he stands out. He’s the guy organizing, inspiring, and building bridges for his peers to cross with him, demonstrating the importance of connections in carving out an amazing career path in accounting. Here’s a look at his college journey and the organizations and internships that have shaped his experience and prepared him for success in accounting beyond the classroom.

The Networking Playbook: How Student Orgs Open Doors:

Walking into college, imagine finding a tribe that’s ready to lift you up. That’s what student organizations like NABA, SFEPD, NAACP, the Collegiate 100, and the Student Government Association are all about at HBCUs. They’re more than just resume fillers; they are launchpads for growth, offering everything from professional development workshops to leadership opportunities. Michael has mastered the art of turning every meeting and event into a stepping stone for his future.

  • NABA and Beyond: The National Association of Black Accountants isn’t just about meeting up; it’s a powerhouse of resources that includes workshops, national conferences, and real-world financial training essentials for anyone stepping into the accounting arena. As the student chapter president, Michael has not only reaped the benefits but also significantly enhanced the offerings for his peers.
  • SFEPD – Financial Literacy Frontiers: At the Society for Financial Education & Professional Development, Michael doesn’t just enhance his own financial literacy; he actively extends it to others. He has been instrumental in organizing educational events, leading financial classes, and crafting programs that broaden financial understanding not only among his peers but also within the broader community.

Career Crafting Through Connections:

  • Mentorship Magic: Finding a mentor is crucial, and once you’ve done that, it’s important to pay it forward, not only because it helps set others up for success, but because mentors also learn a lot from their mentees. Such has been the case for Michael, who has transformed advice into actionable insights, guiding his peers on their own paths in accounting. Not only does this help build a supportive community dedicated to increasing the number of Black accounting professionals, but it’s also honed his leadership skills, which will prove beneficial as he pursues and rises in the ranks within his career. 

Internships: The Real Deal
Michael’s knack for networking has landed him internships that have become significant career milestones and markers for success on his résumé. While building his network and cultivating new skills in the field of accounting, the following internships have laid a solid foundation for a successful career for the remainder of his college experience and beyond.

  • U.S. Bank Research Fellowship: Michael’s engagement in the U.S. Bank Research Fellowship, a collaboration with HBCU 20×20, equipped him for a finance career through a focused, four-week program. This paid fellowship included training in finance resume writing, understanding banking operations, and exploring diversity within U.S. Bank. It was a crucial stepping stone in building his financial expertise and professional skills.
  • EY Launch Internship: At EY, Michael didn’t just observe; he actively participated, learning about each accounting specialty and how it contributes to supporting the firm’s clients. Here’s what he has to say:

“The Launch internship at EY was a game-changer. It allowed me to experience real work in the Audit, Tax, and Consulting practices, which helped me discover my strengths and interests while gaining a holistic understanding of the firm’s operations.”

Michael is joining EY full time after graduation.

  • Conquering Wall Street with Citi: Michael is gearing up to join Citi as a 2024 Corporate Banking Summer Analyst. Here’s how he puts it:

“I am thrilled to join Citi this summer in New York City! Thanks to everyone who’s been part of my journey. I’m ready to conquer Wall Street and make the most of this incredible opportunity!”

Overcoming Obstacles:

Every success story has its hurdles. For Michael, balancing intense leadership roles with academic demands has tested his limits but also toughened his resolve. Once he completes his undergraduate program at Alabama State University, Michael plans to attend a master’s program and obtain his CPA license.

Michael Stallworth Jr.’s journey is more than inspiring; it’s an example of how HBCU students can harness the power of their networks through student organizations. His story is a masterclass in building not just a career but a legacy, and paving the path for generational wealth.

Inspired yet? Jump into the vibrant world of student organizations. Whether you’re an aspiring accountant or aiming for any high-flying career, remember—big dreams are fueled by broad networks. So, start connecting, start growing, and let’s rise together in solidarity and success!

Visit Accounting+ to find resources that can help you learn how to forge powerful connections that lead to game-changing opportunities. 

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