Career Moves: Julianne Jarek ’23 credits mentors for guiding her through the job search process

Jarek's professional journey began early in college due to club involvement and mentorship, leading her to a fulfilling internship that converted into a full-time job offer.

Julianne Jarek ’23, an accounting and business analytics double major with a minor in piano pedagogy, utilized professional networking events through the Student Professional Development Center (SPDC) to build connections and career insights early into her college career.

The Pittsburgh-native started working with the SPDC as a first-year to learn more about intersections between academics and professional opportunities. After a fulfilling internship experience with KPMG, Jarek is excited to return to her hometown as a full-time audit associate once she graduates.

Jarek recently answered questions regarding her professional journey and the SPDC’s role in her trajectory.

What were you trying to accomplish when you met with the SPDC, and what specific help did you receive?

In my first year at Elon, I visited the SPDC to craft my resume and learn about career paths in accounting and business analytics. When I was ready to apply to internships, I talked with Danielle Golinski, Cindy Sweeney and Lauren Bosselait in the Porter Family Professional Development Center.

The advisors gave me tips on searching for internships relevant to my interests and helped me to update my resume. I also built confidence through participating in multiple mock interviews. The advisors were very supportive throughout the job search process and continued to be a part of my journey through accepting a full-time job. 

What did you learn from working with the SPDC?

Through appointments at the Porter Center, I learned what employers are looking for and how to put my best foot forward in a competitive job market. I also gained invaluable communication skills through mock interviews, the advisors’ constructive feedback helped me immensely. Additionally, the Sophomore Success and Accounting Meet the Firms events allowed me to make initial connections with recruiters, which was helpful when later applying for jobs.

How did your interest in working in the accounting industry develop?

I have been involved in Beta Alpha Psi, an Accounting and Finance Honors Organization, since my first year at Elon. The group brought speakers, often alumni, from various accounting and finance firms, which sparked my interest in public accounting. I connected with the speakers, who helped me learn more about the field.

Tell me about your experience in landing this opportunity with KPMG.

I landed an internship with KPMG after interviewing with several public accounting firms in the spring of my sophomore year. Research and interviews gave me a sense of the firms’ distinct company cultures. The career advisors talked through my impressions of each of the firms and helped me prioritize which people, and offer, was the best fit for me. I had the most natural conversations with the people at KPMG.

What specific things about KPMG’s culture made an impression on you?

KPMG has a highly supportive network in place for new hires and interns. Starting my first day, I was given associate and manager mentors to help me understand performance expectations and discuss my career goals. Having mentors made me feel like a valued part of the firm from the beginning. Everyone I met had a great attitude and wanted to get to know me personally and professionally. The meaningful connections were a motivating factor in my decision to return to KPMG upon graduation.

What did you learn from your internship experience with KPMG?

During my internship, I scheduled informational interviews with various professionals. They were all excited to share their career journeys with me, which showed me the culture of support at KPMG. I saw firsthand how motivated people are to solve problems and produce quality work. Additionally, I learned that each audit area has unique challenges, making each day exciting and new in the audit practice. Reviewing core accounting principles and learning about the client’s industry was interesting, as each client has a unique business model that factors into the audit.

Which other faculty members did you work with to prepare, and what help did you receive?

I worked with Professor Patty Cox, an accounting professor, who helped me prepare for my internship. When deciding which firm to accept an offer with, Professor Cox put me in touch with alumni who worked at the companies. I am so appreciative of her support and advice throughout my entire job search process!

What recommendations would you share with other students about the SPDC?

I recommend visiting the SPDC early on in your college career. It is never too early to start discovering your career interests, building your resume and establishing a relationship with career advisors. On the other hand, it’s never too late! No matter where you are in your job search, the SPDC has resources to support your journey. They have guided me through the early stages of developing a career plan to accepting the final offer.