Alec Schon came to the University at Buffalo because of the breadth of its undergraduate programs and soon found a home in the School of Management.
Through his coursework, experiential learning opportunities and involvement with Beta Alpha Psi, an international honors organization for financial information students, Schon learned important business concepts and lessons about problem-solving, teamwork and leadership.
Armed with a Bachelor of Science and Master of Science in accounting, Schon is now ready for the next step in his career. He’ll start as a senior at EY this fall and take a leave of absence in 2017 for a prestigious postgraduate technical assistantship with the Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB), which establishes accounting and financial reporting standards for U.S. state and local governments.
Choosing a major was not an easy task. During my first semester, I took a variety of classes in different fields to see what I could be interested in. When I spoke with my advisor, she suggested I take an accounting class during my second semester.
The rest is history! I thoroughly enjoyed the material and received incredible support from the accounting faculty. Every professor I’ve had in the program has been committed to providing opportunities for each student to succeed.
The opportunity to learn about and participate in the standards-setting process is incredible. 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. 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.
For me, the pivotal professional development experience was working at Lids for two summers. I was hired as a sales associate, and two and a half weeks later there was an opening for an assistant manager. I went from barely ringing up orders to managing people, setting goals for others and myself, and accomplishing goals set by my superiors. I got thrown into it, and I loved that.
I can’t really say where my career might take me. 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.