www.accountingdegreesonline.org: Thank you for agreeing to share your experience with us, Kashif. Please give us some background about yourself, your accounting program and your work?
Kashif Saleem: I received an undergrad and a masters in accounting from Michigan State University’s Broad College of Business. I interned with Deloitte Tax LLP in the summer of 2007 and took a full-time position with Deloitte starting in October of 2008.
www.accountingdegreesonline.org: Why did you choose to attend Michigan State University’s accounting program?
Kashif Saleem: My family and community are very important to me. I chose Michigan State University due to its relatively close proximity to my home and the diversity that its campus and student body offers. It helped that several of my close friends were attending or wanted to attend MSU in the future.
The Broad College of Business also appealed to me. Going into college, I knew that I wanted to focus on a business career. I became interested in accounting after being introduced to it through a high school course and by a close friend. I knew that accounting is known as the language of business; every prudent business decision has to be made with the dollar in mind. Having an accounting background could equip me to better make those types of decisions. Having learned about accounting in general and MSU’s reputation, I knew that MSU’s accounting program would be a great experience for me.
www.accountingdegreesonline.org: What do you like most and least about the program?
Kashif Saleem: Most of the professors in my program were really passionate about the subject matter. This love for the profession made it easy for me to open my eyes to this career. Not all professors had this same passion, though. Finding faculty that didn’t just go through the motions of lecturing made the difference in having an engaging educational experience.
The career center at my university was also well-equipped and well-connected to most of the firms in the area. They helped me get the internship at Deloitte which turned into my job after graduation. One thing I would have like more is if the program tried to gear others in a direction of entrepreneurship in the field of accounting instead of primarily only focusing on careers in public accounting. I recommend that students stay in touch with their school’s placement office. They are a big help and are very well connected in the industry.
Since getting a CPA certification is critical for public accountants, I also liked how the curriculum at MSU went hand-in-hand with the subjects on the CPA exam. I have passed four parts of the CPA exam and am currently awaiting licensing requirements. Being able to study and pass two parts of the CPA exam while pursuing my masters degree really helped me keep on track.
www.accountingdegreesonline.org: What are the most challenging and rewarding aspects of your work?
Kashif Saleem: The most challenging aspect of work is balancing the demands from the profession with my personal life. There are so many ways we can help our clients that it can become difficult to know when it is enough. It’s different from school work where you know when the answer is complete and you can move on to the next question. The most rewarding piece comes when a client thanks us for a job well done!
www.accountingdegreesonline.org: Can you tell us about a particularly rewarding education or work project?
Kashif Saleem: We had a client deadline last February. The entire team stayed at the office overnight and worked through the next day without sleep to meet the deadline. The client was thrilled at the dedication and, after we were done, it felt good to know how we had come together as a team and dedicated ourselves to doing a great job.
www.accountingdegreesonline.org: What advice to you have for people who are in the process of choosing an accounting program or job?
Kashif Saleem: I would advise them to keep an open mind. Even within accounting, there are dozens of career paths one can take. Don’t be too worried about being constrained in a particular industry. I would also advise that this choice will not be the end-all and when you start your career there will will be room to move laterally. Especially in school and early in your career, take advantage of all the opportunities you have to learn and grow; it will open up many doors for you in the future. As always, work really hard and good things will happen!
Kashif suggested the following resources for those interested in learning more about Michigan State University and Deloitte.
Michigan State University – Official Website: http://www.msu.edu/
Broad College of Business at Michigan State University: http://broad.msu.edu/
Broad College Career Services Website: http://broad.msu.edu/career
Deloitte Website: http://www.deloitte.com