Recent Grad Lands Dream Job in Accounting
Jacky J. Li
Currently working at Ernst & Young, LLP
How did you decide on your graduate major?
I obtained my bachelor’s degree in accounting from the University of Macau in China. To pursue further studies in the US, I chose Hunter College as my next stop. Compared to other cities, New York City has more work opportunities for business major students. Hunter is located in the heart of New York City, so I have more chances to meet professionals so as to build up my network. In addition, Hunter’s tuition is affordable to international students. Moreover, the master of accounting program at Hunter has a small size class and professors are very knowledgeable and helpful.
What was your experience like at Hunter?
At Hunter, I experienced the urban style of study and have more opportunities to meet professionals. I would strongly recommend that international students use Career Development Service (CDS). Being a rookie here, in the beginning I had no idea of how to look for jobs. But CDS helped me find a clear direction. I attended many workshops to revise my resume and to learn the useful skills for networking and interviewing. Before my final interview with Ernst & Young, I had five mock interviews with the three advisors in CDS. By talking to different people and answering different questions, I developed my confidence and spoke more fluently.
I started my internship as an accountant at FLA, Inc, where I was responsible for performing billing and reviewing procedures. I also landed another internship in a CPA firm in NJ, where I gained some hands on work experience in audit. Since I received these two internships through networking, I think networking is the key to finding jobs in the US.
I applied for Ernst & Young on their website, and then the recruiter contacted me and gave me a phone interview. After that, they invited me to their Times Square office for the final interviews with a partner and managers. Later, the staff took me to lunch. I think they wanted to see how I communicate with clients after work. One week later, the recruiter contacted me, telling me that I got the offer. To prepare for the interviews, I did a lot of research on Ernst & Young and its Financial Service Office. I even wrote down answers of every possible question and asked some of my friends to help me elaborate. After that, I practiced again and again with flash cards and scheduled five mock interviews with advisors in CDS. During the interview, I kept my confidence and showed my strong desire to learn and dedication to getting the job.
What are your future aspirations?
My short-term plan is to pass the CPA exams within one year and later I will take the CFA exam. My objective is to become an expert in the accounting and financial industry.
Do you have any advice for students thinking about pursuing this career?
For international students, I would advise you to concentrate on two essential things: networking and resumes. Networking can provide you more direct connections with potential employers. The more people you know, the more opportunities you will have. And a well-organized resume will definitely let you stand out from many candidates. If you don’t know how to network and want to improve your resume, please go to the Career Development Service office, they will help you out.
I would strongly recommend that you read a book called Power Ties -- The International Student’s Guide to Finding a Job in the United States. It gave me many insightful ideas about networking and led me to find my dream job. I believe if you follow the way it teaches, you will find your dream job in the United States too!
For more information about Career Development Services, visit www.hunter.cuny.edu/studentservices/cds or call 212-772-4850.