1. Please introduce yourself
Craig Schmidt, Deloitte, Senior Manager - SEC Services (been with the firm nearly 9 years)
Matt Edgette, KPMG, Senior Associate - M&A Tax Services Group (5 years overall in accounting, 1.5 years with KPMG)
Ken McDonald, Ernst & Young, Senior Assurance Associate (been with the firm nearly 3 years)
Kyle LeClaire, KPMG, Tax Associate - Economic and Valuation Services (been with the firm 1.5 years)
2. How would you broadly describe busy season?
CS: A dreaded time of year that comes with a massive influx of work and corresponding tight deadlines. Busy season within the audit practice typically falls between the months of January through March, but could differ based on the respective client portfolio.
KL: Exactly what the name implies: busy!
KM: Tough and draining...
3. What was your first busy season like?
ME: Nothing less than I had expected. The hours expected of you are long, typically 6-7 days a week of mandatory 60+ hour weeks as dictated by your firm. Deadlines are not flexible so you always have a shortened timeframe to finish something. Additionally, the client is not interested in the fact that you have many projects moving at once; they are concerned about their return and having it completed.
KM: Shocking... I didn't really know that people worked that long.
4. Does your firm compensate you for the stark difference between busy and non-busy season?
ME: The firm's compensation is based on a salary rate, not an hourly rate, so whether I work 80 hours in a week or 40 hours I am paid the same amount. The firm has various cash bonus recognitions which are given throughout the year and also has a merit pay bonus system established.
5. What are the best perks?
KL: Evening dinners on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays; pizza lunch on Fridays; after-tax-season party, etc.
CS: The best perks are for those of us who travel for our clients. In conjunction with traveling to our clients, we get to build up miles and hotel points.
6. Have you ever seen someone breakdown during busy season because of the workload?
KM: Yes - I have stayed an extra 20 minutes just because I knew if I left at that moment there was going to be a staff member bawling in front of me.
CS: Yes, it is often not pretty. Some people dominate and some people shed tears. Others have frozen up, which consists of the "look of death" due to lack of sleep, nightmares about auditing, and the lack of ability to see hope. And others have done worse...
7. Did you learn how to manage your time better for the second and third busy seasons?
CS: Yes, I think I learned how to prioritize things better...getting the most important tasks completed first and not the easiest ones.
ME: Yes, it is always a balancing act but it becomes helpful when you see a client a second or third time in a row and develop the relationship to push them to get you what you need when you need it, not when it is convenient for them.
KL: Yes, but this was accompanied by an increased workload.
8. What time-management tips would you give to people who have high-pressure jobs?
KL: Always keep things in perspective, focus on the end goal, don't get bogged down in the details...although, I am an accountant, so maybe I should be more careful to 'get bogged down' in the details, haha.
9. What sorts of things do you end up doing in your free time?
All in unison: What free time? Did you listen to anything we just told you? It is called busy season for a reason...
Subscribe to the Electronic Carlson School today!
The spring 2012 edition of the electronic Carlson School magazine is now available. This edition of the magazine features all of our print content, plus video and other interactive features. To subscribe to the electronic edition, simply visit carlsonschool.umn.edu/esubscribe. Not only will you receive the enhanced version of the magazine; you will help the Carlson School by reducing printing and mailing costs.
A 2012 Commencement Message from the Dean
A special video was sent out to students this year regarding important information pertaining to this year's Commencement exercises. Check out the exciting changes in store for our Commencement reception!
Dean's Blog Recognizes Our Students' Community Connections
The latest post in the Dean's Blog highlights those students who are giving back to the community. This blog is a forum for the Dean to stay connected with students and alumni, so be sure to stop by often and share your thoughts!
April was a fantastically busy month with the Life After College series on April 3 and 5 and Take it to the Bank on April 18. Alumni attendance was strong, and the networking that took place at all three events was phenomenal. Thank you to all who attended!
May Breakfast Series Featuring Myles Shaver, PhD - May 2
Professor Shaver will discuss "Minnesota and the Twin Cities as a Corporate Cluster: What Do the Numbers Tell Us?" Register today!
May Breakfast Series Featuring Myles Shaver, PhD - May 2
This presentation to prospective MN Cup entrants gives approaches to financing new ventures, finding sources of capital, and showing how to secure funds
Carlson School Night at the Twins - May 14
Join Carlson School alumni at Target Field on Thursday, June 14, to cheer on the Minnesota Twins as they take on the Phillies.
Upon graduation, Susan was hired by Target and worked as a business analyst for Women's Season Apparel in the swimsuits and sweaters division. Her career eventually led her to New York where she now works for Coach as a merchandise planner. In this role, Susan manages license, wearable, and small leather goods categories for Coach North America, a $150M+ business portfolio. She helps to select the product alongside the design and productions team, but primarily manages the numbers from both a bottoms-up and a top line perspective.
Susan's role in the fashion world hit a high note when recently she was invited to attend the Mercedes Benz Fashion Week in NYC (check out SenoritaSusan.com for the details). In fall 2012, Susan will be starting the part-time MBA program at NYU Stern.
With a strong passion for education, Michelle began her career with Teach for America where she taught first- and second-grade students. She is now a teacher for the Baltimore City Public School system and is pursuing her Master's in Education with a focus in urban education from John Hopkins University. Michelle teaches second grade in the northeast Baltimore community, and has continued her support for the Teach for America organization where she serves as a member of the junior development team and a coordinator for the 2nd Year Giving Campaign. The campaign encourages current corps members to support the efforts in Baltimore though alumni involvement in fundraising, networking, and support of future corps members.
One day she would like to return to the Twin Cities to continue her work in education and earn an MBA degree.
After graduating, Rick's number-one goal was to experience more of the world. Two days after graduating, he moved to Stuttgart, Germany to work at Horvath & Partners Management Consultants. His passport was then stamped again to the far East, as he now resides in Zhengzhou, China teaching English. Fortunately, these three years around the world have allowed him to develop fluency in German and Chinese, both written and spoken.
After completing the current academic year, Rick plans to return to business in a consulting function, while eventually preparing for graduate school.
Volunteering for the Carlson School can now be as simple as connecting through the Carlson School LinkedIn Subgroup, the Student-Alumni Career Network, to share your career experiences with current students.
By joining this Carlson School exclusive subgroup, we encourage alumni to connect with students and one another through this channel by posting employment/internship opportunities, tips on securing a job, tips on moving to new regions, questions on going back to school, questions on securing a job, etc.
Submit your request to join today by visiting linkd.in/CareerNetwork.
Norwood Teague, the director of athletics at Virginia Commonwealth University, has been named the new director of athletics at the U. He replaces the retiring Joel Maturi, who has held the position for the past 10 years.
More U sports news can be found at gophersports.com.
The University Symphony Orchestra will present selections from Totenfeier, Candide, and Les Mamelles De Tiresias at a Friday, May 4, concert at the Ted Mann Concert Hall.
More U events are found on the U's event calendar.