It’s no secret that MNP, one of the largest full-service chartered professional accountancy and business advisory firms in Canada, and the University of Lethbridge’s Dhillon School of Business (DSB) have built up a partnership over the years.
“We’ve always had a strong relationship with uLethbridge management,” says MNP Lethbridge Regional Managing Partner David Muryn, CPA, CA. “Most of our team, articling students, chartered professional accountants, now managers and some of our partners have all come through the Dhillon School of Business. That’s where we get our people from.”
Muryn says investing in DSB students remains a priority for them. “That’s the future for us,” says Muryn. “These [students] are the future partners, our succession. They need to have the skills that we don’t necessarily have today, so we can keep growing and building for the next generation.”
Here three DSB alumni explore three ways MNP continues to give back to DSB students.
Industry-influenced course content
DSB alumnus Spenser Jensen (BMgt ’20) who is currently an articling student for MNP was recruited to play on the uLethbridge men’s hockey team as a student and decided on a Bachelor of Management for the diverse opportunities it would provide. Jensen, who connected with MNP through DSB’s many recruiting events says that one of the things he enjoyed the most about DSB was the exposure to accounting-specific technology that he currently uses on the job.
Partnering with businesses in the community like MNP is critical to delivering industry-specific skills to students. With such close connections to industry, DSB is able to deliver relevant course content desired by employers like the new Insight Series, a micro-course seminar program funded in part by MNP. The six-course program will enhance accounting students’ human skills and ensure they’re future ready through critical thinking, creativity, adaptability and collaboration.
The importance of human skills for a future career is not lost on Jensen who says people skills sometimes get overlooked but are just as important as technical knowledge when it comes to a professional career and being well-rounded. “I would encourage students to work in developing these skills just as much as the technical ones,” he says.
CPA articling student for MNP and DSB alumna Taylor Waters (BMgt ’19) says that she first encountered MNP through their info sessions while pursuing a co-op term with them, and participated in a number of networking events that introduced her to her future employer.
It’s typical to see MNP supporting DSB students tangibly through initiatives like co-operative education programming, sponsoring case competitions, connecting with students at recruitment events, and even, according to Human Capital Senior Advisor Carlo Di Palma, CPHR, (BMgt ‘91) mock interviews. “If the student is preparing for an interview,” Di Palma says, “I’ve been on campus and interviewed them, then given them feedback on how they did so they can be better when they actually go to the interview.”
Participating in these types of initiatives while a student is something Waters recommends students take advantage of. “Take advantage of all the opportunities that the Dhillon School of Business provides you in job searching,” Waters says. She adds that students should also pursue a co-op term if possible. “It helps you figure out early if you need to change your career route and may lead to your future career like it did for me.”
Supportive career transitions
It was through information sessions and a co-op position that, now MNP manager, Kristy Basaraba, CPA, (BMgt ’16) realized she wanted to work for MNP. As a DSB student attending recruitment events Basaraba says “you could really tell that the firm was passionate about their students and their careers paths.” Once onboard with the company, Basaraba found the transition to full-fledged CPA was filled with support.
“Students completing the CPA program will be given so many resources,” Basaraba says. “[They] including a CFE mentor to guide them through their study period, a regional CPA coordinator who is available for questions as needed, PERT mentors to assist in their practical experience reporting requirements, and that is just a few of the resources.”
Along with the resources, Human Capital Senior Advisor Di Palma says that because of MNP’s significant revenue growth every year, they’re also able to provide greater opportunity. “We’re the fifth largest firm in Canada right now,” Di Palma says. “And the reason I bring up that growth is because it creates a lot of opportunities for young people so they can probably advance more quickly with MNP than a more traditional accounting firm.”
And so far, growing her career at MNP has been overwhelmingly positive for Basaraba. “The more time I have spent with the firm the more I have learned that it isn’t just a job, it’s a family.”
Our most recent industry partnership with MNP and CPA Education Foundation includes the creation of the Insight Series micro-course seminar program. Learn more about the Insight Series here or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.