On the Path to Success: Holly Sang Ah Lee

Name: Holly (SangAh) Lee    

Class of: 2014

Major: Accounting      

Email: lee531@uic.edu

Entry Level Position

Company: Deloitte LLC

Title of Position: Audit Assistant

 

Why did you chose your current position?

As an accounting major, I knew I wanted to start my career at a Big Four firm.  This was not because of the general route, but because I knew working at a Big Four would be a tremendous experience that could open the door to numerous possibilities. Deloitte was my first choice because it is a terrific company, and the leader in the public accounting industry. I wanted to work and surround myself with the best people, and learn from them and I knew that I would get that at Deloitte.

Describe your new role?

I’ll be starting as an audit assistant, or as a first year audit staff. As an auditor, I would be responsible for reviewing financial statements, identifying accounting, auditing issues and practicing professional skepticism. In addition, I would be working with clients, assisting and collaborating with senior audit assistants, managers, and partners in performing audits.

How did you obtain your current position?

I took advantage of Deloitte’s on-campus recruiting process. After I learned that Deloitte was recruiting on campus, I submitted my resume through UICcareers as instructed, and had on-campus interviews. After I made it through the first round of interviews on campus, I had the second interviews at their office along with many other students. The Business Career Center was such a huge help through this process, informing me about office hours, giving me tips on my resume and interviews, helping me with interview conflicts, answering my questions, and so much more!

What advice do you have for students currently searching for internships or full-time positions?

All these suggestions would be something that students probably heard before, but I believe these are the factors that helped me a lot, and just wanted to highlight their importance!

  • Be proactive and persistent. Keep looking for jobs and apply to a lot! For accounting, a lot of large and mid-size firms recruit around the same period so it may get hectic but utilize this time and apply. And even if it doesn’t work out, the experience is going to help in polishing your resume, and practicing your interview skills. Also, this is just from my own personal experience, but when I got turned down for a job, I asked for feedback from the interviewer.  I made sure that I was polite, and approached in a way where I appreciated their time and wanted to learn what I could improve for future references. In my experience, the interviewer didn’t mind sharing a few words of advice with me. And what better way to learn than receiving feedback from a real job process you went through.

 

  • Positivity and confidence. Be sure to convey your positive attitude and confidence in your manner. In all jobs, it is crucial that you’re flexible, sociable, can handle stress and you bring a positive attitude. It may seem silly, but smiling more, actively listening, or having a good posture or body languages are some things that help people see your positive attitude or confidence in a limited, controlled setting. Little things go a long way!

 

  • Networking. People always say this, but networking is very important. Recruiters talk to many students and receive hundreds of resumes, so you can imagine that it gets really difficult to differentiate them all. But if you are able to network with them, leave an impression, and put a personality and a face on your resume, you have a huge advantage! So utilize the networking events, talk to employers proactively, and send them thank you notes. Personally, I tried to talk about topics that weren’t always related to work or typical accounting questions at networking events. Everyone asks about work-related questions, but who wants to talk about work all day? Try to think of an appropriate, but interesting topic to talk about. 

 

  • Any experience is good! Being able to talk about your resume is such a crucial part. Just because an experience may not seem relevant, doesn’t mean it’s not relevant to the employer. Make sure you can talk about what you learned from the experience, and how it made you better. Of course, having relevant experience is the best, but as public accountants (and most employers) know you’re going to learn most things during the job. To me, it is more important what you can say about the job or experience than what it actually is!