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17th annual accounting fair draws large crowd

Published on October 11, 2021

17th annual accounting fair draws large crowd

More than 100 Eastern Connecticut State University students converged on the Betty R. Tipton Room on Oct. 7 to participate in the 17th Annual Accounting Career Fair. More than 20 accounting firms and other employers greeted the students, who came with their resumes in hand.  A related virtual fair was held on Oct. 14.

Alex Rooney ’22, of North Grosvenor Dale, CT, serves as president of the Accounting Society, and is a member of the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA) and LEAP into Leadership Council. He helped plan and advertise the accounting fair. “I am happy with the turnout,” said Rooney. “It feels great to connect so many students with perspective employers. The firms offered a variety of career paths and making these face-to-face connections is a great way to secure an internship, which might lead to a full-time job.”

Rooney said Accounting Professor Mohd Rujoub, who began hosting the fairs nearly 20 years ago, does a great job of preparing students in the classroom to handle the technical aspects of accounting. Rooney said students also have much to learn beyond the classroom in the working world. “Accounting is more than technical procedures; students need to know how to interact with a wide range of people, from coworkers to customers. Students will find themselves ahead of the curve if they can learn and cultivate these skills on the job site.”

RuJoub said the accounting fairs have been very effective over the years, and instrumental in helping hundreds of accounting students land internships and full-time positions. “Recruiters were very impressed with students and thought the students dressed professionally and effectively articulated why they were interested in a position in the accounting firm.” RuJoub said employers said the Eastern fair was the only in-person fair they have attended during the COVID-19 era.

Grace Muller ’23, of Johnston, RI, plays on Eastern women’s soccer team, which helps raise money for the local soup kitchen and participates in Team Impact, a group that supports children facing serious and chronic illnesses. She said RuJoub and others have trained her well to pursue her love of accounting.  “The Accounting Fair has opened many opportunities for internships and the potential to enhance my resume, which could lead to landing me a job. The fair was very insightful and was nice to see all the different ways I can use what I have learned, to see how it all fits into a real-life experience.”

Elijah Johnson ’25, of Beacon Falls, CT, is the public relations officer for the Accounting Society and is a member of Eastern’s track and field team. He said the Accounting Fair went beyond his expectations, giving him a fresh perspective. “The fair was enjoyable and neatly organized. As a first-year student, I didn’t expect to find internships, nor positions inside of a firm. Firm representatives gave me advice on how I can become a better student, so when my time comes to land an internship or gain a position with a firm, I'll be ready.”

Marlena Polski ’23, of New Britain, CT, by way of Poland, could not wait for the fair to happen. “The event was professionally done. This was a very informative session. I’m currently working as an intern in one of the big firms; therefore, so I wasn’t look for internship opportunities, but it was nice to talk about future opportunities after I graduate. Professor RuJoub did an awesome job organizing this event.”

Similarly, Jared Tidwell ’24, of Brooklyn, CT, is a member of the Accounting Society and IMA. He attended the fair to explore his options. “I believe I’ve learned a lot of important accounting-related knowledge, but nothing can replace experience. Professor Rujoub did a fantastic job organizing this experience and preparing us for it.” 

“These are my friends! said RuJoub of the recruiters, many who graduated from Eastern, and were back on campus looking for Eastern Accounting majors.  Brian Green ’10 is a supervisory auditor for Pratt and Whitney’s Defense Contract Audit Agency (DCAA) in East Hartford. He leads a team of eight professional auditors and said he is honored to represent the DCAA at Eastern’s fairs and other accounting functions. “I love the students at Eastern! We (DCAA) have hired about 20 Eastern graduates since 2009 and have no plans to stop hiring Eastern graduates,” said Green. “Dr. RuJoub is a former mentor and a friend. The hard work that he puts into the Accounting program makes me want to support him and his students. It was a pleasure to attend, as always!”

“The career fair was a success for our firm!” said Kathryn Baber ’04, a manager for Windsor-based Myers and Stauffer. “We met with several students, reviewed resumes and will be setting up interviews with potential candidates within the next week. We found that most students were well prepared, with resumes in hand, and asked good questions about our firm and the internship!”

Baber said her firm truly appreciates the partnership that it has formed with Eastern. “We have had much success with Eastern interns for our spring and summer internship programs! As a proud member of the Class of 2004, it is always nice to come back on campus and see all the changes to the University over the years. We look forward to returning next fall!”

Stephanie Brown is a certified public accountant with Groton-based Hoyt, Filippetti & Malaghan, LLC, a full-service accounting and advisory firm serving clients throughout southern New England. She said her firm, which provides clients with professional, personalized services and guidance in a wide range of financial and business needs, is glad to have Eastern students on board. “We have been participating in the career fair since 2017 and have hired 5 interns, some of who have become full-time staff when they graduated. The accounting-specific career fair is something we wish more schools did!”

Jenna Perno is senior audit associate with Wethersfield-based PKF O’Connor Davies, LLP. Perno did not graduate from Eastern, but she thought the career fair was well organized and was highly impressed with Eastern Accounting students. “The students were excited to be there and asked great questions. Most of them were prepared with resumes. It was nice to be able to do the fair in person this year and be able to have more natural conversations with the students! Of course, Professor RuJoub does a great job organizing the career fair and preparing his students on how to approach the booths.”

RuJoub, who has helped more than 1,000 Eastern students land good positions in accounting, was overjoyed. “I have cultivated friendships and relationships with our alumni over the years, and to see them come back and keep recruiting new students is overwhelming.” He said the employers generally agree that Eastern Accounting students are high-quality, have a good working knowledge and are well-versed in accounting-related topics.

Written by Dwight Bachman