Release Date: May 4, 2016
BUFFALO, N.Y. — Next January, Alec Schon, a University at Buffalo School of Management graduate student, won’t just be learning about accounting standards — he’ll be helping to set them.
Schon is one of seven students nationwide selected for a postgraduate technical assistantship with the Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB), which establishes accounting and financial reporting standards for U.S. state and local governments.
Throughout his yearlong internship, Schon will work on major agenda projects or short-term practice and implementation issues, allowing him to further hone the analytical and teamwork skills he developed at UB and during previous work experiences.
“In a lot of group projects, I found it intellectually challenging and exciting when there wasn’t a black-and-white answer and I had to defend my position,” says Schon, a Hauppauge native. “At the GASB, there won’t be many clear answers, which will help me develop a different mindset and enhance my problem-solving and critical-thinking skills.”
Since 2012, five UB School of Management students have earned positions with the GASB or its private-sector counterpart, the Financial Accounting Standards Board. UB is the only school in Western New York with graduates who have earned these prestigious assistantships — often considered the B-school equivalent of landing a clerkship with a Supreme Court justice.
“In my classes, Alec has demonstrated strong analytical abilities, offering insights on policy issues and explaining the political and economic factors that weigh heavily on tax policy considerations,” says Ann Cohen, clinical associate professor of accounting and law. “He is intelligent and enthusiastic, and always credits his teammates rather than promoting himself.”
Schon completed his Bachelor of Science in accounting in three years, graduating from the UB School of Management in 2015. He will earn his Master of Science in accounting this May.
Prior to joining the GASB, Schon will start as a senior in EY’s Financial Accounting Advisory Services group, where he’ll work with clients on accounting and financial reporting issues. Schon, who previously interned at EY, has been granted a leave of absence to work at the GASB and will return to his EY position in 2018.
At the School of Management, Schon has worked with undergraduates as a teaching assistant and helped organize the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program as a board member for UB’s chapter of Beta Alpha Psi, an international honor organization for financial information students and professionals. He says through these experiences and working closely with several faculty mentors, he developed teamwork skills that will be critical throughout his career.
“I can’t really say where my career might take me,” Schon says. “My biggest goal is to be happy, and what makes me happy is helping others, whether that means working with a client on a complex accounting issue or feeling fulfilled by helping the community.”