Raised on her family’s goat farm in Elizabeth, Colorado, Cassie Bennett never expected to land an internship with one of the top 10 accounting firms in the US upon graduation.
Bennett, graduating with a BSBA in Accounting this May, will continue her education at the CU Denver Business School through the BS/ MS Accounting 4+1 degree program, which allows students to complete both degrees in as little as five years.
From agriculture to accounting
After attending two different universities including Colorado State University, and changing her major from animal sciences to agricultural business, Bennett eventually ended up in the Denver area. Bennett chose to make CU Denver her new home, because of the CU Denver Business School’s AACSB accreditation.
Helping her family at their farm, working part-time at Whole Foods, being the vice president of communications in Beta Alpha Psi (BAP), and formerly involved with the Business Student Ambassador Committee (BSAC), Bennett exemplifies a student working hard both inside and outside of the classroom.
Encouraged by professional advisors to consider accounting as a career path, Bennett decided to try it for a semester and ended up loving it, even though it doesn’t seem to directly tie back to agriculture. She’s excited because she feels like her future is open. She might even go full circle and end up doing accounting work in the agriculture industry.
Network, network, network
Through the Business Career Connections (BCC) and BAP, Bennett has received ample opportunities to network and connect to the business community.
In fact, Bennett has formed countless mentorship relationships with business executives as a result of these networking opportunities. With opportunities like Meet the Firms, an annual event hosted by BAP, Bennett interacted with executives from top firms in the Denver area. Oftentimes a majority of the top accounting firms in Denver are in attendance at these events held by BAP.
“CU Denver has taught me so much. One of the big things is not viewing myself as being solely a college student but a professional that’s in college. It’s a different mindset here, and I’ve really appreciated that. It’s helped me think how I should network and how I should work with professionals in my college career rather than thinking that is something that comes after college,” Bennett shared.
“CU Denver has taught me so much. One of the big things is not viewing myself as being solely a college student but a professional that’s in college.” – Cassie Bennett
“I have an internship this summer and that’s because I was able to do so much networking here at CU Denver,” expanded Bennett.
Landing that coveted internship
Bennett’s summer internship is with CliftonLarsonAllen (CLA), one of the top 10 accounting firms in the US. She landed a summer leadership position last spring through Meet and Greet, a smaller networking event with Beta Alpha Psi.
“I have an internship this summer and that’s because I was able to do so much networking here at CU Denver.” – Cassie Bennett
Bennett’s supervisors were so impressed with her at the summer leadership program that they offered her any position she’d like as an intern this summer. Working with small businesses in the private sector this summer, Bennett will be in charge of the companies’ business operations like payrolls and internal audits.
The power of mentorship
One of Bennett’s many mentors is the founder and owner of CPA Coach, Doug Slaybaugh. They met at Meet the Firms last fall, and ever since, Slaybaugh has served as her personal coach, meeting a few times each semester, and has encouraged Bennett to get more involved.
Enrico Leone, the recruitment, scholarship, and outreach senior professional at CU Denver, has also been a great resource for Bennett. Leone encouraged her to apply for scholarships and to enroll in the BS/ MS Accounting 4+1 degree program, which she wouldn’t have done without his advice.
Even in her last semester as an undergraduate student, Bennett continues to develop relationships with faculty and professionals in hopes that some of these relationships will turn into mentorships.
The importance of updating your resume
Bennett has utilized countless resources at the Business Career Connections (BCC) over her time at the Business School. Updating her resume through the BCC was a game changer for Bennett. She said she had employers look at her new resume and they expressed how it looks like she’s a completely different person on paper because of it. She learned the value of a resume in building first impressions with recruiters.
Bennett encourages students to utilize the BCC’s invaluable resources. It only takes an hour to go through your resume or to attend a workshop. “Go talk to them, do it. I know everyone says it, but it’s worth it,” Bennett encouraged.
Inspired to give back
Astounded by others’ generosity funding her scholarships, Bennett is inspired to give to the Business School’s scholarships program after graduation to help other students continue their education.
Bennett is inspired to give to the Business School’s scholarships program after graduation to help other students continue their education.
Bennett is so thankful for the individuals, the companies, and the Accounting Advisory Board who have contributed to her scholarship funds. Without them, Bennett would have had to take out student loans for graduate school.
The Business School’s scholarships are helping students get the best education possible while easing the financial load of higher education. By offering more than 60 different scholarships ranging from 500 to 3,500 dollars per semester, students can continue their education with less financial burdens. This year the Business School awarded over 475,000 dollars in scholarship support to more than 300 students.