Everyone finds themselves in a dark place at one point or another in their lives. They might, however, lead to personal choices with the potential to be huge defining moments. From struggling to pass classes to accepting a job offer at KPMG, Spencer Roberts graduated with his BSBA in Finance and illustrates the importance of not giving up and letting his past define his future.
Hitting a personal rock bottom
After having a poor high school experience, Roberts was in a dark place when he started classes at CU Denver. Unmotivated with little direction, he finished his first semester with a lackluster GPA.
But at a certain point here at CU Denver, Roberts decided that he wasn’t going to waste time focusing on the past. “It was a personal decision to be my best self and to live the life I wanted to live. I could either let the past define the next four years of my life or choose to change,” he reflected.
“It was a personal decision to be my best self and to live the life I wanted to live.” – Spencer Roberts
Although not an immediate transition, Roberts credits his involvement in numerous clubs, on-campus job, and strong family support for turning things around.
Finding CU in the city
As a Broomfield native, Roberts always knew he wanted to live the city life. His community growing up was fairly uniform, and he knew the diversity of CU Denver would have a tremendous impact.
Now looking back on his college career, he firmly believes the community did just that. He explained, “To meet students from different backgrounds, ethnicities, and cultures really expanded my mind and helped me grow as a person.”
“To meet students from different backgrounds, ethnicities, and cultures really expanded my mind and helped me be able to grow as a person.” – Spencer Roberts
Roberts credits the CU Denver community with helping him revitalize his college career and choosing a direction from the long list of degree choices. “Finance was not something I was originally interested in,” he said. “The Business School showed me how the degree gives me a variety of options, and I’ve been able to leverage that ever since.”
Leveraging the Business School
The Business School has over 100 networking events every year, not including all of the opportunities that school clubs arrange for students. Because of the downtown location and proximity to so many businesses, leaders from every industry can be seen connecting with students in the building.
Roberts took advantage of one of the BSAC’s events to learn more about the medical finance field, meeting serial entrepreneur Nate Ormond. “I ended up working for over a year with Nate, and he became a huge mentor,” he said. “Staying engaged in the event was what helped me create that connection.”
A mutual love of cars contributed to a lasting contact, and Roberts was invited to collaborate on a new start-up. “It was an important moment for me. He gave me his card, and we went out for coffee. He’s been the biggest turning point for me professionally,” Roberts said.
“Staying engaged in the event created a connection.” – Spencer Roberts
In February, Roberts presented a #MeToo group case at the 2018 Diversity and Business Ethics Competition at CU Boulder. The next week, he was contacted by a recruiter at a Big Four accounting firm, KPMG.
“The meeting went really well, and I always kept in touch,” Roberts said. He worked hard to network with others in the firm, connecting with a senior associate and director. “I really leveraged my connections, and that led to an invite to a KPMG event later that year.”
After a months-long process and constant communication, Roberts received an offer with the consulting arm of KPMG. “I let the recruiter know where I was at every step and everyone I spoke with. I was annoying, but I had to be.”
“I let the recruiter know where I was at every step and everyone I spoke with. I was annoying, but I had to be.” – Spencer Roberts
That persistence paid off. Starting in October, Roberts will collaborate with a team of consultants to implement financial software, Workday, into large businesses, focusing on improving efficiency.
Onwards and upwards
“I’ll miss the people at CU Denver, the relationships, and the ease of networking opportunities,” Roberts reflected. A self-proclaimed social butterfly, he especially loved the Business School’s career events. “It’s super fun to talk about what you do to recruiters and really learning how to pitch yourself.”
“I’ll miss the people, the relationships, and the easy networking.” – Spencer Roberts
After an amount of personal struggle in the beginning of his college path,
Roberts has a lot to look forward to at its end. “I’m most excited for the combination of personal and professional growth,” he said. “It’s all coming together.”
When Roberts began at CU Denver, he didn’t believe that he would be in a career where he enjoyed going to work. Now he has dreams of owning his own consulting firm. “I realized how much more motivation and competence comes from enjoying what you’re doing.”
“You’ll end up where you’re meant to be”
Roberts is a perfect example of how even well-laid plans can change in the wake of surprise opportunities. “I’m very big into making plans, but they don’t always stick,” Roberts chuckled. “Sometimes the biggest turning points are unexpected.”
Learning how to leverage his professional knowledge ultimately turned into the best tool for Roberts. “Networking has been the key for me to obtain every single job I’ve ever gotten, putting myself in a winning position every single time.”
Between participating in as many Career Fairs and club events as possible, Roberts demonstrates how involvement and getting to know his peers allowed him to dabble in different markets, from automotive to commercial real estate to a tech start-up to medical finance/sales. All in a period of four years.
Roberts admits his last piece of advice is a little cliché. “Never give up. My confidence grew by pushing my limits and putting myself in positions to grow,” he said. “You’re going to fail, but you’ll end up where you’re meant to be.”
“You’re going to fail, but you’ll end up where you’re meant to be.” – Spencer Roberts