At Student Works, we’re incredibly privileged to play a role in the journeys of countless young and hungry entrepreneurs. For our participants, the long-term transformation that takes place from day one of training, to day one in the C-Suite, is inspiring. 

While many of our alumni seek to harness the entrepreneurial skills they cultivated during our program into starting their own business, others choose alternate routes. One of the joys of recording our Leaders of Tomorrow Podcast is the chance we get to touch base with all those who have worked with us and hear about the unique paths that they have forged for themselves.
Kristen Cornell, a former Student Works Manager, now serves as the Director, Financial Systems at OMERS.

Kristen Cornell (Source: LinkedIn)

From day one, she was keenly aware that the entrepreneurial path that many of her peers were taking didn’t align with her risk-averse nature. However, as Chris Thomson noted in an insightful conversation with Kristen on the podcast, she had a “big engine” for getting things done, and she didn’t want to waste fuel on a career that didn’t fulfill her inherent desire to work hard. 

So she got her CPA and began her career in the accounting world. While many people envision accounting as crunching numbers, there’s far more to the designation than is commonly understood. 

Here’s how an accounting designation can open doors in your career:

It Demonstrates your Work Ethic

Getting your CPA is no easy feat. The exams are “rigorous and intense”, according to Kristen, and they require great motivation and preparation to succeed at. 

“Having a designation, even if you don’t end up working in the field speaks to your ability to both follow through on a commitment, [and] your ability to work hard … I still think employers look at it as a differentiator and the fact that I have that designation, it’s less about being an accounting expert, and more about the caliber of a person who goes through a program like that,” she shared.

The System is Proven

Another one of the great things about getting your CPA is the stability that comes with working within a reliable industry. 

“The system is so strong that if you follow the steps and you do what you’re supposed to do, you will be successful,” Kristen told Chris.  

This stands in direct contrast with the entrepreneurial lifestyle that comes along with a host of unknowns that directly repel the risk-averse among us.  

At the end of the day, regardless of external factors, accountants have a skillset that is perennially in demand, and for that reason, Kristen was all in.

Are you a student looking to further your development as a leader and enter the exciting world of entrepreneurship? Check out more stories from Student Works participants and alumni on our Leaders of Tomorrow Podcast!