The Illinois Master of Science in Accountancy (MSA) is a one-year, intensive program in U.S. accounting principles and practices which begins in June and ends in the following May. Many MSA students are international students whose career goals include working in the U.S. following graduation and sitting for the CPA exam. MSA students may have prior work experience in their home countries, but not in the U.S. Preparing to conduct a successful career search during Fall Semester is quite a challenge for international students new to the U.S.
Recognizing the potential student talent represented in the MSA program and the benefits of being prepared for success in on-campus recruiting, KPMG’s Campus Recruiting team partnered with Dede Kern Brown of Business Career Services to develop a pilot program called “Learning About Business Behavior” (LABB) for MSA Students in the Class of 2008. Through this program, students gained a greater understanding of business through a U.S. lens, improved professional communication skills and developed a network of professional contacts. Participating in this program provided international students with valuable experience which will be directly applicable in their upcoming career searches.
Simon Kho, Director for National Student Programs and Global Initiatives at KPMG says, “At KPMG, we value professionals with international views and experiences and have a number of programs in place to attract and develop candidates ready for global careers. KPMG is excited to be partnering with the University of Illinois to develop a program that will help these outstanding international students to prepare for launching their careers.”
KPMG staff and managers volunteered as mentors and “professional coaches” for MSA students during this summer program. Mentors shared their career experience and insights into the profession, and helped students learn about various practice areas. MSA students met their mentors during LABB events held on campus in late June and on-site at KPMG in Chicago in mid-August. LABB events included sessions in which students and their mentors identified communication styles, participated in teambuilding exercises, reviewed American business etiquette, engaged in professional networking, and participated in a negotiation simulation exercise.
Students report that the mentoring program exceeded expectations and provided great experiences, which will further enhance their job hunting skills. MSA students appreciated the opportunity to visit KPMG in Chicago and meet professionals representing a wide variety of practice areas and stages of career development. For many students, participation in LABB helped clarify their career goals. The opportunity to interact as a team member helped develop critical communication skills, too.
“In today’s world where almost every one of our clients is international in some phase, whether they have multi-national operations or they buy and/or sell services or products internationally, global opportunities are a tremendously important aspect of our business. With $17 billion in global revenues at KPMG, we need all of our employees to think and act globally. Working with the University of Illinois to mentor and guide these students is in step with KPMG’s commitment to our global approach to the training and development of our people,” explains Manny Fernandez, National Managing Partner – University Relations and Recruiting.