On those days when it takes too much effort to decide what colour of socks to wear, think of accountancy Co-op student Joshua Faier. He had a career decision to make after applying to participate in two exclusive accounting conferences, sponsored by major accounting firms.
At one, four students from Montreal would network at Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario with 60 other students from across Canada. The other would take two students from Montreal and 10 from the rest of Canada to meet with an international mix of students in Hollywood, California. Almost 2,000 students were competing for each spot.
Faier was invited to both.
“I was overwhelmed when I received calls from both firms,” he says. “Needless to say, I had an unbelievable experience. To top it all off, each company offered me an internship for summer 2013. Both companies also offered me a fall 2012 Co-op work term, which is an exceptionally rare occurrence as accounting firms usually hire up to a year in advance.”
So which firm did he decide would best fit his career goals? He accepted an offer from accounting giant KPMG, in part because the company provided a choice of auditing and advisory services during his fall work term. “I plan on pursuing a career in audit so I chose advisory to broaden my experience,” he said. “I have the privilege of getting exposure to both due diligence work with Transactions and Restructuring Services, and risk management within Risk Consulting.”
Another reason Faier chose KPMG was Michael Baratta, an audit partner at KPMG and Concordia alumnus. “Mike represented KPMG at the accounting conference. I spoke with him quite a bit and felt I had a good connection,” he said. In fact, Baratta has been involved with the hiring of many Co-op students.
Having almost finished his four-month work term at KPMG’s Montreal office, Faier will start another adventure in January when he leaves to study for a term at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, Scotland. “I’d always wanted to travel, especially in Europe,” he said. “As good as education is in Montreal, it’s always better to get more experience. It’s a great opportunity to meet people from all over the world and build an international network.”
As a high school student, Faier planned to become an engineer and studied sciences in Cegep. “But I decided to change into commerce and I loved it,” he said.
The next big choice he made was his university. When asked why he chose Concordia, his answer was unequivocal. “The person who led the tour at Concordia’s Open House was very enthusiastic, and I fell in love with the modernism of the JMSB building. He showed us around, and when he told me about the JMSB case competitions, it made me really excited. But what really sold me was the Co-op opportunity.”
Faier is sold on all the opportunities Concordia has to offer.
“Any time a current or prospective student asks me about Concordia, I tell them how easy and important it is to get involved in and around the school. I went to New Orleans with Concordia’s Alternative Spring Break program where I helped build a home for nine days with 14 other Concordia students. There are case competitions, sports teams, associations ... you name it. If you’re someone who dislikes speaking in front of people, compete in the case competitions. GPA is important, but it is not everything. Recruiters look for students who are well rounded, so get involved in as much as you can and actually enjoy university instead of just rushing through it.”
That is choice advice.
• Institute for Co-operative Education
• John Molson School of Business
• Alternative Spring Break