Alumni Director of the BYU School of Accounting
Question: When you’re when you’re working with the alumni today how do you go about building the community and keeping people in touch with each other?
Jennifer: So when I first started we had no alumni outreach at all so we were really at ground zero so in order to make meaningful relationships with the alumni, instead of having just a digital relationship with them I could have just sent them an email and said, here I am on LinkedIn you know where to find me, we decided to tackle it one person at a time. I travel to each city and I literally meet with small groups at a time to make a more meaningful relationship so that way they know what I am trying to accomplish, I know what they’re trying to accomplish and that we can all be on the same page together but we have a personal relationship and I’ve noticed a networking that goes a lot further then if we just have a digital relationship.
Question: Do you have any secret sauce of how you stay in contact and make that personal connection?
Jennifer: I really try to everybody has a story, whether we’ll hang out later on is different, but everybody has a story and I always wanted to find out, where did they come from, what makes them tick, why did they choose the company that they did, why are they there, what are they trying to accomplish in life, and the more questions you ask, the more you learn about them, and I think the more that you learn about them, the more that you really do like them despite maybe personality differences or anything like that because you can you understand them more.
Question: Can you give me an update on how the BYU school of accounting doing today?
Jennifer: Right now we are ranked third in the US News and World Report, our placement rate is 99.9 percent. We account for 20% of all PhD accountants in the in the PhD world. Right now we currently have the number one published professor in the world so that’s very exciting and we’re not even the research school. A lot of the things that we’re doing with inside the Marriott School of Business are being replicated now by other departments so we feel like we’re on the right track.
Question: The school of accounting has maintained these high rankings for decades, if you were to attribute the reason why, could you could you pinpoint how do they stay on top?
Jennifer: I would definitely attribute that to our amazing faculty. Our faculty could teach somewhere else and definitely make more money than not being in academia so we are very blessed and very fortunate that they are teaching. Our students come to us, they’re some of the brightest that come to BYU. It’s very hard to get into BYU and they are the cream of the cream of the crop. They are very driven, they are very focused, but not only that they are really good people. One of the things that we do with our students to make sure that they stay well rounded and to become not only the smartest in the brightest in their field but there’s more to life than just work and we and we want to make sure that they stay well rounded. During their senior year, of their bachelor or their second year MAC, we have installed a program called the live life challenges. So the live life challenges there’s five challenges that they do in the areas of service outdoors health global and arts. So they have a year to do an activity in which in in each one of those they take a picture they send it to us we put that on social media on our social media we have corporations recruiters our alumni all looking at that. The recruiters are like, ‘hey there’s our recruit, they gave all this money and they exercise and they play the intramural sports together and they’re going to international cinema and they’re helping translate- because a lot of them speak a second language because of the LDS missions- and so they’re serving and so it’s a great way to just remind them that to stay well rounded and to stay balanced and there’s more than to life than just book work. So we give them like little prizes along the way and it’s just fun to hear their stories and it’s been fun to be able to take their stories to the alumni and to recruiters and to corporations.
Jennifer: When you’re looking at the future, what are some of the goals and missions that you have as the director of the accounting school alumni. My first goal is to make sure that when they leave, that they are happy and that they’re in the right first job. A lot of students come into my office and to the business career services director Brian Boyd as well and we just want to make sure that they have seen as many opportunities that they could choose right after graduation and to bring that to them and say, hey there’s all these different things that you can do and here’s all the different paths and we just tried to make sure that they’re on the right path for them.
Question: So students said that want to transition out of a job can they contact you and say hey Jennifer help me out here.
Jennifer: Yes. They know what I’m going to do for them in the future, so as they leave I do an exit interview with each graduate in groups of four and we go over all the ways that we’re going to stay connected, what I expect of them as an alum and what they can expect from me to help them into the future and then part of that on my side is to make sure that we have a network that they can fall back on for jobs, two, three, four, five.