Professional Development

MBS holds finance and accounting information and networking sessions

MBS students got valuable career advice last fall when the business school held information and networking sessions with Maine professionals in the accounting and finance fields.

Each event featured a panel of professionals — including MBS alumni — from both the private and public sectors who described their firms, offered advice about job searches, interviews and resumes, and shed light on the possibilities within their particular field. During networking sessions students engaged the professionals in one-on-one discussions about their specific career goals.

The events were organized by MBS faculty. Held in September at the D.P. Corbett Business Building, the accounting session was co-sponsored by the MBS chapter of the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA) and the UMaine Career Center. The finance discussion took place in November at Jenness Hall.

The events support the business school’s goal to ensure that students are work-ready when they graduate and give students an idea of what they can do with their degree, said finance professor Rick Borgman.

“The professionals on the panels are wonderful role models for what each student can be and accomplish,” he said.

“Students got real-world exposure to their textbook learning,” said associate professor of accounting George Violette. “They benefit from learning about a variety of work environments and the different employment areas available in the accounting profession.”

Panelists encouraged students to experience a variety of positions at a company to become a more flexible and knowledgeable employee; to take internships and summer jobs to learn about a particular company; to be willing to relocate for increased job opportunities; and to be flexible about a career choice.

MBS alumna Wendy Gibbs ’16, a panelist in the finance event, is in the commercial credit development program at Bangor Savings Bank. She told students she originally wanted to go to law school until she took a job at the bank as a teller.

“I saw I could build a career here,” she said.

Matt Colpitts ’10, deputy state treasurer for Maine, a finance panelist, encouraged students to use employees as a resource.

“People enjoy talking about their jobs, it’s the best way to find out what you want to do,” he said.

Students said they came away with important information.

“Having personal interactions with experienced accountants provided students with a deeper understanding of their office culture, their expectation for student interns, and the qualities and skills they look for when hiring,” said Austin Blake ’18, president of the IMA.

Bethany Ashley ’20, learned “what a typical day is like in the real world for an accountant,” while Jill Howland ’19 was “introduced to different (accounting) career paths I wouldn’t have thought of.”

“It was so convenient to have all the accounting firms together,” said Adelle Oswald ’19. “The event pointed me in the right direction for a successful career.”

Leah Dodier ’18 said the finance session showed her the importance of “taking all the opportunities you can to learn more about an organization and discover what you are truly passionate about.”

Meanwhile, sophomore Casco Haley enjoyed seeing how MBS graduates have advanced their finance careers.

“Many of them are where a lot of us are striving to be, so to hear from them firsthand about what we can achieve reminds me why I’m here,” she said.

The professionals said they enjoyed interacting with students and spreading the word about the job opportunities at their organizations.

Philip DuBois ’12, supervisor at the Maine Department of Health and Human Services Division of Audit, who served on the accounting panel, said his department “has been a place to learn and grow professionally and so I wanted to share my experience and excitement about what we do.”

Connor Smart ’16, a tax accountant with Baker Newman Noyes in Portland, Maine, said as a MBS student he appreciated when professionals talked to students about their jobs. Participating in the recent accounting event was a way for him to return the favor and “show students that the transition from academia to the workplace comes quickly and that it is never too soon to start taking an interest in your potential career and putting yourself out there.”

Unum recruiter Calle Jackman ’14, a panelist at the finance event, said her company’s values “closely align with those of MBS” and that she hopes graduates consider Unum “a reputable choice of employment.”

Bruce Nickerson ’85, CFO and executive vice president of Bangor Savings Bank, and a panelist at the finance session, said listening to the other speakers “left me feeling very positively about the quality of these Maine organizations and their employees.”