Huntington University is a Christian liberal arts college in Indiana

Making a positive first impression:

Stearns lands position at top 10 accounting firm
Stephanie Stearns describes advantages of an accounting degree program at Huntington University, a Christian college.

"Huntington University’s Career Development Office staff, particularly Martha Smith, and the Enterprise Resource Center were very helpful when it came time to prepare for interviews and send out my résumé."

For Huntington University students Stephanie Stearns and Nicole Blue, an afternoon at a career fair was time well spent.

“Stephanie and Nicole first approached BKD at a fall 2007 career fair,” said Wallace Wetherill, CPA, and partner at BKD, one of the 10 largest CPA and advisory firms in the United States. “It was very impressive that they took the initiative to come to another school because they knew we were going to be there, and they wanted to introduce themselves to BKD. They were very professional, friendly and polished and made a great first impression.”

This first impression paid off, and both Stearns and Blue were invited to BKD in the fall for interviews. Both were then invited back for a group interview and then an individual interview with three different partners separately.

“Both of them were again very professional and knew their direction for their careers,” said Wetherill. “They displayed a knowledge of the profession, where they would fit in and a desire to work for BKD. Some of the words used to describe them were: ‘excellent candidate, driven, articulate, good questions, professional, outstanding.’”

Both Stearns and Blue were offered positions at the Fort Wayne office of BKD following their graduation in May 2008 with Bachelor of Science degrees in accounting. Blue chose to pursue a position closer to her hometown. Stearns accepted the position and started at the beginning of tax season as a staff level tax accountant. As such, Stearns compiles company financial information and from there, builds tax returns.

“It was intense and a great deal of hours right away, but I am really glad I started when I did,” said Stearns. “You kind of just get thrown into the job without much training. At first, you don't feel like you know anything, but you learn so much information very quickly because you have to.”

Stearns enjoyed her experience and looked forward to what the future could bring her.

“My coworkers are great,” said Stearns. “Everyone is really kind and helpful because they can still remember what it was like to be new. The office has a pretty laid back, fun-spirited atmosphere which I have really enjoyed.”

Not only does Stearns enjoy her work at BKD, but her coworkers appreciate her as well.

“She (Stearns) has been a great addition to our tax staff,” said Wetherill, “and made it through her first busy season flawlessly.”

But looking back, Stearns understands that one of the key stepping stones to getting to BKD was using the resources available to her.
“Huntington University’s Career Development Office staff, particularly Martha Smith, and the Enterprise Resource Center were very helpful when it came time to prepare for interviews and send out my résumé,” said Stearns. “You don’t think much about those places before your senior year because a job is still too far away, but they were really helpful when it came time to job search.”

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