A large number of Oklahoma State University students filled a Spears School of Business auditorium March 1 to hear some of the most important advice of their young lives – how to find a job. In the first Finance and Accounting Career Day, several company executives, many OSU alumni, were on hand to talk jobs with students eager for guidance.
“We’re here today to learn from our panelists what opportunities there are for new graduates and how someone carries out a disciplined career search,” said Dr. Betty Simkins, professor of finance and head of the Department of Finance at Spears Business. “Our alumni have reached out to us asking that at Oklahoma State students learn more about how to find jobs and that’s what we’re doing by starting this annual career day.”
Panel speakers from a wide swath of companies from energy and banking to real estate and business consulting were on hand to describe what their companies look for in new graduates and what opportunities await them. Ann Dyer, the retired managing director for Accenture Consulting, said her company looks for MBAs with a strong academic record, but who are also well-rounded.
“You have to put in the hard work in the classroom but also be active in campus organizations, and by that, I mean in leadership,” she said. “Show that you can successfully juggle a lot of balls just like you have to in a demanding career.”
Ryan Harms, an investment officer with the Oklahoma State University Foundation, suggested that in addition to a strong academic foundation, applicants should be thoughtful when applying for jobs.
“Think about what you want to do and why and how this job you’re applying for will help you get there,” Harms said. “Companies want to know that their employees have goals they’re striving for and that they’re working to achieve those goals.”
Though the day was dedicated to talking finance, several speakers spoke about how their careers began in totally different fields and how they used those skills to bring value to new careers.
“Your career can change paths many times and often where you start will be far from where you end up,” said Simkins, who noted that two of the presenters, like herself, began careers as engineers before landing jobs in finance. “I started as a chemical engineer, but then I chose a different path that led me here. That’s very common.”
Career Day Speakers:
- Justin Courtney, managing director, Stephens Inc. Investment Banking
- Ann Dyer, retired managing director, Accenture Consulting
- Ryan Harms, investment officer, Oklahoma State University Foundation
- Curtis Harrison, principal, Capital Southwest Corporation
- Paul Heerwagen, president of corporate development and strategy, Gulfport Energy Corporation
- Grant Humphreys, principal, Humphreys Capital LLC
- Patrick Lissonnet, director, Kayne Anderson Energy Funds
- Roger Lumley, retired senior vice president, UMB Bank
- Brad Steele, senior vice president and manager of commodities hedging, BOK Financial