Accounting students take learning beyond the classroom

Accounting students visit the corporate headquarters of United Airlines in downtown Chicago and learn about the the work of their auditing department from Bradley alumna Sharon Grant '76.

February 12, 2013

By Kelsey Budd ’14

The Bradley Accounting Club recently teamed up with Beta Alpha Si, an honorary accounting organization, for a trip to Chicago where students visited the accounting departments of two major companies—United Airlines and Baker Tilly. 

This trip, open to all students with an accounting major, exposed the future accountants to two different workplaces within the field.

Amy Mentgen, a senior accounting major from Joliet, Ill., said the trip helped her better understand the role of internal auditing in large corporations and get a feel for the type of environment she would like to work in after graduation. 

“It’s helpful to learn about the different corporations who have connections to Bradley. Students can make some connections and sort out what area they want to go in after graduation,” Mentgen said.

The first stop on the trip was United Airlines, located in downtown Chicago’s Willis tower, formerly known as Sears Tower. Bradley alumna, Sharon Grant ’91, the managing director of corporate auditing department at United Airlines, accompanied students on their visit. 

The visit began with a tour of the airliner’s network operations center where the students witnessed the control room used to manage all of the flights. Grant joined the students for the duration of the tour to explain the expectations of internal auditors by relating it to what they were shown.

Next, students paid a visit Baker Tilly, an accounting firm that provides audit and tax services to mid-size companies. This business gave students a glimpse of what a career in public accounting would be like.

Dr. Simon Petravick, club advisor, accounting professor, and chair of the accounting department, said the trip allowed students to network and hear different perspectives on the various branches in the accounting field.

“Accounting majors typically have to decide if they want to work for a public accounting firm or a corporation, so on this trip they got to see both areas. It was nice because we were in their work environment,” Petravick said.  

In the past, the accounting club has visited Nestle, Caterpillar and State Farm Insurance. The student organization typically visits organizations that appeal to students with diverse interests.

Not only do the students gain new insight by taking these trips, but the instructors expand their knowledge as well. Petravick said that on each trip he has learned something new that he then carries over into the classroom.

The trip to United Airlines and Baker Tilly is just one example of how the accounting department focuses on building relationships between students and employers. Petravick said there is a surplus of alumni and employers that volunteer to speak in the classroom, critique resumes and provide mock interviews.

“It’s really encouraging that alumni and employers continue to reach out to us,” he said. “We are very grateful for all the support we receive in the accounting department.”