On April 2, 2014, the Zicklin Graduate Accounting Society hosted KPMG in an event billed as “Speed Networking with KPMG.” Baruch graduate accounting student attendees had the opportunity to share their elevator pitches with firm professionals in groups of three to four students during multiple 10 minute networking sessions. Students accepted to the program had been accepted through a rigorous application process administered by ZGAS, and the firm was eager to meet the event’s attendees. Sandeep Draviam, a Senior Associate in KPMG’s Diversity Campus Recruiting arm, expressed his excitement to be on campus. Sandeep complimented ZGAS on a great job putting the event together and the club’s proactive event planning management. He also appreciated both that the event was invite-only and that the informal structure of the program facilitated interactions between students and professionals.
Professor Jimmy Ye, chair of the Stan Ross Department of Accountancy at Baruch College, offered a few opening remarks at the beginning of the event. He spoke movingly about his relationship with the firm, commenting that KPMG holds a special place in his heart. He informed the audience that he had received a research grant from KPMG about 10 years before. Professor Ye added that he appreciates that KPMG’s Baruch alumni continually return to campus to speak with accounting students.
In addition to being Baruch alumni, two attending Audit professionals at the event, Avanti Sandhir and Alberto Barcia, are former presidents of ZGAS. Avanti Sandhir, an Audit Associate in KPMG’s Financial Services Office (FSO), maintains strong ties to both ZGAS and Baruch, having supported and advised our organization since graduating in 2011. He commented at the event that networking is about building relationships and cultivating them going forward. Avanti added that, if successful, such relationships may be leveraged in the future. FSO Senior Audit Associate Alberto Barcia, another past ZGAS president and alumnus who has continued to support ZGAS and his alma mater, remarked that students often ask why KPMG is better than other firms. He answered this by explaining that it is the culture and people of the firm that make KPMG great, advising students to get to know the people who work there.
Two additional Audit Associates in attendance offered commentary on their experiences working at KPMG. Metro Audit Associate Christina Bianca discussed the mentorship program at KPMG which offers growth opportunities to young professionals. Specifically, she spoke of a transitional coach who has especially helped her develop during the relatively short time she has been at the firm. She explained that when Associates start with the firm, they are assigned to transitional coaches who guide them through their first few months. She also noted that the people with whom she has worked have been very knowledgeable and helpful. Gilbert Marte, another FSO Audit Associate, spoke of KPMG’s efforts to engender a communal working environment. Gilbert currently works in the Real Estate practice. He mentioned that the Real Estate group recently held a barbeque dinner in recent months for its employees. In addition, around the time of the Super Bowl, KPMG gave a stipend to its employees for refreshments and snacks.
The event was a huge success. There were over 130 students in attendance, and many of them spoke very highly of their networking sessions afterwards. ZGAS looks forward to hosting future events with KPMG in the future.
Contributing Writer: David Shifrin, ZGAS IC of Social Events