Even in a challenging economy, Oregon State graduates are managing to find great jobs in the Portland Metro area. Accountant Janelle Hyter’s Q&A is the third in a series that profiles recent OSU grads and how they found their positions.
Who: Janelle Hyter
Senior in Accounting
Graduation Spring ‘09
Can you tell me about the accounting position in Portland you will soon be starting?
It is a full-service accounting firm called AKT, LLP. They have a variety of niches that they work with, including agriculture and health care. I will be starting in a training position. AKT trains their incoming accountants in both tax and audit, which makes them unique because a lot of firms steer their employees in one definitive direction from the start.
Why is Portland an ideal city to work in?
For me, Portland is comfortable. It is a big city but it has a smaller town feel because you don’t have the hustle and bustle of a lot of bigger cities. I love the people, the culture, and the mindset.
Is your field very competitive in terms of finding a job?
Accounting is a very rewarding field to go into. It is one of the more resilient industries because it doesn’t matter if the economy is booming or if it is in a recession—people rely on their accountants in both instances.
What steps did you take to get a job?
Getting my face out there is not something that I am very comfortable with. But the accounting department at OSU has a co-ed accounting fraternity—Beta Alpha Psi. Every year they put on “Meet the Firms.” The accounting department here has one of the highest placement rates of their graduates in the country. I think that is due largely to events like this. I had an opportunity to meet about 25-30 firms from all over. I spoke with a couple firms and really hit it off with the people I talked to. Right away I emailed them, and from there I interviewed with them.
What has OSU done to prepare you for the working world?
I think the accounting department staff is incredible. They have some of the smartest professors who I have ever encountered. A lot of the professors have experience so they aren’t teaching just from the book. They are truly gifted and talented. Also, to become a certified accountant, you have to take what is called the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) exam. Year after year, OSU has a higher CPA pass-rate than PSU and U of O and often has a higher pass-rate than the national average.
What advice would you give other OSU students or those that are soon-to-be graduating?
Get your face out there. Don’t be afraid and don’t be intimidated. I think in more recent times it is not only the firm that is interviewing the candidate, but also the potential employee is interviewing the firm. You are looking for a perfect fit. There are a lot of opportunities out there and as an employee you have to be just as aggressive as the employers that are seeking you out. You can’t be afraid to seek opportunity. Also, take advantage of professors. What helped me to succeed is the time I spent in office hours—there’s a real benefit to it.