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Friday, June 14, 2024

Paving the Way Through Corporate Campus Visits


Last Updated on June 4, 2024

Hannah Chillous, a junior accounting major at Alabama State University, standing confidently in front of a classroom during a corporate campus visit event.

What’s up, HBCU family! Ready to turn those college dreams into corporate realities? Meet Hannah Chillous, a dynamic junior accounting major at Alabama State University (ASU), who is not only focusing on acing exams, but she’s also prioritizing networking and making those connections count. Recently recognized on the Dean’s List at the 45th annual Percy J. Vaughn Jr. College of Business Administration (COBA) Awards, Hannah is leveraging insights from on-campus industry leaders to carve her path from lecture halls to the high towers of the Big Four.

Navigating New Horizons: Corporate Campus Visits Unlocked 

Determining a career path can be difficult, especially when you consider the long-term impact the decision can have on your life. Corporate campus visits can serve as a guidepost or your own personal GPS to demystify career options — from tax to audit, and everything in between. For many, like Hannah, it’s about matching your skills with the right career path in the vast accounting landscape.

Imagine stepping onto your campus and walking into a room full of potential employers from leading accounting firms like Deloitte, EY, KPMG, and PwC. These visits can offer more than just a handshake, they can introduce students to the various businesses within these organizations, open doors to immersive experiences, connect students with professionals and alumni within their fields, provide insights into various accounting careers, and offer an in-depth look at corporate culture. Here’s a look at how Hannah maximized the value of corporate visits at Alabama State, and what students at other HBCUs can expect to experience on their campuses.

  • Spotlight on PwC Day: When PwC visited Alabama State University, it wasn’t just another day. For Hannah, it was a career-defining moment filled with deep dives into diverse accounting roles and rich conversations with industry vets, including ASU alumni Antwon Hardwick and Aishja Wilcher currently working at the firm. The cherry on top was snagging a professional headshot, just in time to update her LinkedIn page as she began internship applications.
  • Deloitte Takes Howard by Storm: Corporate visits from Deloitte always set the Howard University campus abuzz. Under the guidance of Taylor Banks, a Supply Chain & Networks Operations manager at Deloitte Consulting LLP, classrooms transformed into dynamic learning labs where students delved deep into Spend Analysis 101. During her most recent visit, Banks ensured her lecture for students was a hands-on experience that bridged textbooks with real-world tactics, inspiring students to carry forward the “each one, teach one” spirit. This is the kind of engagement that can turn students into future leaders.
  • EY’s Innovation Day Out: Over in Virginia, EY launched their first-ever HBCU Innovation Challenge on the campuses of Norfolk State and Hampton University. EY Senior Managers Samuel Jamison and Joe Baptiste led students in creative workshops, mentoring and advising them on ways to turn big ideas into showcase-worthy projects, effectively illuminating the path from classroom to career. Students also had the opportunity to present to EY partners like Mariama Davis and business leaders including CFOs and Chief Innovation Officers. 
  • KPMG’s Real Talk at NC A&T: During KPMG’s corporate visit to North Carolina A&T, guest lecturer and KPMG partner Dickson Magombedze got real with students about the underrepresentation of Black professionals in accounting, noting the American Institute of CPA (AICPA) recent finding that, “Only 2% of CPAs in the US are Black.” While walking students through the diverse and evolving opportunities at KPMG, Dickson encouraged scholars to chase an accounting career that breaks the mold and leaves a mark.

More Than Just a Class Credit: The Perks of Corporate Visits

The benefits of a corporate visit always go beyond the lecture and what’s listed on the agenda— they’re all about looking beyond the day’s agenda because the visits can pack a punch. Here are three of the biggest advantages to taking corporate visits seriously:

  • Build your network; expand your reach: Engage with pros who were once in your shoes and can now provide advice and connections that can help pave your way forward.
  • Wise up to level up: Discover what leading firms are really looking for so you can tailor your course load and your resume to meet the mark.
  • Dream bigger, aim higher: Guest lectures are often led by HBCU grads thriving at leading firms. Seeing this isn’t just inspiring, it’s a call to action. Corporate campus visits give students the tools to see it, dream it, and real life it!

Turning Challenges Into Stepping Stones

Yes, the road might get tough, but every corporate visit is a chance to chip away at those barriers. Hannah’s experience juggling leadership roles with academics is preparation for what life after college looks like. Developing and maintaining a work-life balance can be tricky, especially while pursuing other passion projects, which is why a career that allows for some flexibility is important. Thankfully, with opportunities that allow for remote work, accounting is a field that makes this possible. 

Looking Ahead:

Hannah’s aspirations are clear. With each corporate visit, she’s piecing together her future in accounting, planning to pursue a master’s degree and obtain her CPA license. Her journey underscores the significant impact these corporate engagements can have on student career trajectories.

Your Boardroom Awaits:

Forget waiting for opportunities to knock; corporate campus visits are about building your own opportunities. For HBCU students looking to transform their academic experiences into a thriving career, these visits are crucial. To jumpstart your success, get involved, ask questions, and make the most of every corporate visit.

Your future in accounting awaits, and the path starts here at your HBCU. Accounting+ can show you how to make the most of every corporate visit.

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