On September 12th, the Zicklin Graduate Accounting Society welcomed Grant Thornton to Baruch, giving students the opportunity to meet with managers, recruiters and interns from the firm. Katie Crona, Grant Thornton’s University Recruiter, opened the session by announcing an exciting twist to the firm’s information session: this info session would be “speed networking, not to be confused with speed dating.” The 120 students in attendance were situated at 15 round tables, and a professional from GT would spend seven minutes at each table before rotating to the next team of students. Students and professionals spoke extensively with each another, and students had the chance to ask questions about the firm.
I was assigned to Table #1 and, together with seven other students, I met with eight GT professionals throughout the night. The first professional with whom we met was Eugenie Hu, a Baruch alumna who began her career this past June in Grant Thornton’s Business Advisory Services practice. She provided insights about her experience during the recruiting process, which was highly relevant for everyone at the table. Eugenie recommended that students prepare for interviews by reading the newspaper so that they can become familiar with current events. When asked what makes GT stand out from the other firms, Eugenie explained that Grant Thornton caters to the middle market, and its employees get to both work with a variety of clients and have a great deal of flexibility while building their careers.
Our group then met Sotaro Misawa, an audit manager at GT who specializes in Commercial Services. Sotaro was able to share his past experience working for three different-sized accounting firms, including one of the Big 4, a small regional firm with 100 employees, and now Grant Thornton. He enjoys working at GT because the firm has the resources of a big firm, but is also small enough for colleagues to get to know one another. When a new employee starts at GT, he/she is assigned a coach and a buddy. A coach is usually a manager, while a buddy is an employee who started at the firm one year earlier. The buddy gives a new hire the opportunity to ask more questions and get acquainted with Grant Thornton and their co-workers.
After the round-table discussions, students and GT professionals were free to get some refreshments and mingle. Katie Crona gave some pointers on the qualities that have helped new recruits succeed at the firm. Since schedules can sometimes call for last minute travel, flexibility and a positive attitude are important for employees to have. Being able to work well with other people is another quality that helps GT employees succeed. People who tend to really enjoy their jobs also often are the ones who are willing to put in the extra time and effort to build strong relationships with members of their engagement team. Ms. Crona’s advice to aspiring students is to be patient, continue to learn, and do things outside of one’s comfort zone.
Overall, the Grant Thornton Round Table was a complete success. Meeting enthusiastic professionals helped to give all students in attendance an insider’s view of the company culture that can be more difficult to assess from a company’s website. Make sure to keep an eye out for other Grant Thornton events and important recruiting dates scheduled at Baruch.