Firm Night gives students a jump start on careers, internships

When Avery Trent took her first accounting class at Radford University, she was hooked.

"I loved the material and organization of accounting," said the accounting and finance major, who wants to someday work as a financial accountant.

Trent, a sophomore from Roanoke, made her way from table to table during Firm Night Sept. 18, sharing her résumé, talking to company representatives and hoping to make connections that could lead to future internships and employment as an accountant.

More than 120 accounting and finance majors attended the event. Many, like Trent, were looking for internship opportunities, while soon-to-be-graduating seniors, were looking to find employment.

Firm Night, an annual 90-minute networking event sponsored by RU's Department of Accounting, Finance and Business Law, gives students an opportunity to meet and communicate with local accounting, business and finance firms. Representatives from 17 local and regional firms attended the event. Four firms could not send a representative, but had collection boxes for resumes.

"Firm Night is a rare opportunity for our accounting and finance majors. We invite a number of firms to come meet with students only from these two disciplines, which means every firm in attendance is interested in these students for employment or internship opportunities," said Dan Davidson, chair of the Department of Accounting Finance and Business Law. "These are the sorts of opportunities that our students too seldom have, and we are delighted to be able to provide this one – in the early stages of hiring season – for our majors."

Jarell Tillery, a senior accounting and finance major from Hampton, was delighted to have the opportunity. "I thought it was a good idea for me to come here and talk to the different firms and see what's out there after graduation, because graduation is quickly approaching," Tillery said. "It's coming fast."


Students Jarell Tillery (right) and Suzanna Stoffel (left) hand their résumés to Nick Altman (middle), a representative from Brown Edwards Accounting Services.

Alumnus Berkeley Wolford '93 came to firm night, representing Auditor of Public Accounts (APA), looking for strong candidates for her company's office in Richmond. She was impressed with, but not surprised by, the quality of students she spoke with at the event.

"As an alumnus, I know the quality of the program. I know the professors. And I know the education they're getting prepares them to come and work for us and do the kind of work we do," said Wolford, who majored in accounting at RU and works in human resources with APA. "We've had a lot of success here before, so we enjoy coming back year after year."

Freshman marketing and finance major Chloie French looked to get a jump start on her career and academic plans by attending the event.

French, who wants to be a wedding planner and perhaps own a business in the future, said she attended the event to "get a feel what it's like to talk to different firms, have them look at my resume and see what I can do to improve," she said. "So, when I come to Firm Night my senior year, I'll be prepared."

Sep 24, 2014