November 27, 2018

Before the fall semester has even ended, more than 80 percent of Catholic University senior accounting majors have already received a job offer.

According to William Kirst, assistant professor and director of the accounting program, the class of 30 undergraduate majors graduating this year will be the program’s largest class yet. The 25 students who have already received job offers with national and international CPA firms represent the highest percentage for the major to be offered jobs so early in the academic year.  

Kirst says the firms are looking for “demonstrated strong self-discipline and attention to detail, high GPA, relevant work experience, and strong leadership skills.” Kirst also credits accounting students’ success to accounting faculty’s “consistent focus on student outcomes.”

Andrea Perez-Hickman, who received a full-time offer from Ernst & Young in their Tysons, Va., office, acknowledged one factor in her early job offer: high scholarly expectations that the accounting faculty laid out for students their freshman year.

“These expectations help you to best prepare a schedule to keep you on track. I am excited to put all the knowledge I have learned throughout these four years to practical use,” Perez-Hickman said. “I am also very grateful that I am able to enjoy my senior year and not have to worry about the job search process.”

Kirst described the recruiting process for global or national accounting firms as “rigorous, lengthy, selective, and demanding.” Firms start recruiting students as early as the second semester of sophomore year through phone interviews and multi-day office visits. Students only receive job offers after participating in an eight-week summer internship, and the completion of 150 credits.

“The top global and national CPA firms each year receive thousands and thousands of student applications and their recruitment effort is very selective,” Kirst said. “Only a few applicants earn a full-time job offer.”  

Justin Smith interned with PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) in Tysons, Va., which lead to a full-time offer with the firm after graduation. He worked with the Private Company Services team to experience different industries and learn how both small and large businesses operate.

“Going into the internship, I felt that my accounting courses prepared me well for the tasks I was assigned,” Smith said. “The unique qualities of our program at Catholic University are the rigor that all accounting majors go through starting with Accounting Bootcamp, as well as the high standards we are all expected to maintain. I've now seen first-hand why these are critical for a career in public accounting. I'm really looking forward to returning to PwC next fall and continuing a long career with the firm.”

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