Firm Night brings business students face-to-face with potential employers

Sponsored by the Department of Accounting, Finance and Business Law, Firm Night is an annual networking event that gives students an opportunity to meet and communicate with representatives from accounting, business and finance firms.

Traveling the world, “auditing big companies,” that’s the life for Katie Carroll.

“Seeing what my dad did, working in the ’80s in New York City, was really cool,” said Carroll, whose father was an accountant at Ernst and Young, one of the world’s top accounting firms. To follow in his footsteps, Carroll did her research and took the necessary steps to begin a path toward her own aspirations in the career some people call the language of business.

Her search for the “right school,” she said, led her to Radford University and the Davis College of Business and Economics.

“One of the biggest things that brought me to Radford was the campus environment here and the Davis College, its rankings and accreditation. I’ve always wanted to be an accountant, and so I thought, why not go to an AACSB-accredited school?” said Carroll, referring to Davis College’s accreditation from AACSB International - The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.

And now, the senior accounting major from Warren, New Jersey, is months away from graduating from Radford in May 2022 and already looking for career-launching opportunities. Carroll found plenty of people who were willing to talk about potential opportunities at FIRM Night, an annual networking event sponsored by Davis College’s Department of Accounting, Finance and Business Law. It gives students an opportunity to meet and communicate with accounting, business and finance firms.

Representatives from 20 local and regional firms, including Ernst and Young, attended the event on Oct. 13, 2021, in Kyle Hall, looking to find their future employees. Also, representatives from Radford’s Master’s of Business Administration (MBA) program were on hand. Many of the recruiters at the event were Radford University alumni.

“Firm Night is important for our students because it offers them individual recruiting opportunities,” said Douglas Brinkman, Ph.D., professor and chair of the Department of Accounting, Finance and Business Law. “Most of the recruiters here have jobs available, if not immediately, then at the end of the academic year.”

Meeting representatives from various firms all in one place is a convenient opportunity for Radford students, and it gives them a chance to hone their skills in networking and communication with potential employers. The latter can be nerve-wracking. To help, the Center for Career and Talent Development offered a workshop for students a few days before the event. Presentations, along with interviewing practice and resume preparation, were offered at the workshop, Brinkman said.

Gabriel Aiken ’20 was one of “those nervous students,” he said, a year and a half ago when he attended Firm Night, talking to firm representatives and looking to get a head start on his career. “I was terrified the first time I came here,” he said. Now, Aiken is a staff accountant with Foti, Flynn, Lowen & Co. He came back to Radford for Firm Night, looking to recruit students to his company. “It’s a little different being behind the table, and it’s so humbling to represent my firm and be able to explain to Radford students how I got here from the same position they are in now.”

Aiken also offered friendly words of advice and comfort.  “We try to make everyone feel comfortable, and we want students to know we are trying to build relationships, and we want to help them grow,” Aiken said.

For Carroll, all of the hard work and preparation are paying off. She talked with Ernst and Young representatives at Firm Night and secured a job interview the following day. “I can happily say that I was offered for the FSO (Financial Services Organization) FAAS (Financial Accounting Advisory Service) auditor position in New York City,” she said a few days after her interview, while also praising Radford University for the opportunities it has provided her and other students.

“It’s wonderful,” she said of the event,” Radford University is preparing us tremendously.”

Nov 18, 2021
Chad Osborne