Nadine Elliott describes herself as a "puzzle person" and a problem-solver who's always been good with numbers, making a career in accounting a good choice for her. She says it took her a while to figure out exactly where she wanted to study, attending three universities before arriving at George Brown College, where she said she found "the right fit."
Elliott is in her final year of the Bachelor of Commerce-Financial Services program.
"I think college and university are two very different things," the 29-year-old accounting major said.
Benefits of one-on-one experience with profs, small class sizes
Elliott said the big benefits of the college experience for her are moving through the program with the same group of classmates and gaining more hands-on experience.
"It was a really big support network for me to have the same classmates and to get to know them really well," she said.
"I found it was much more practical in the college setting, working through the problems and having the time to do that with a professor, not necessarily with a T.A. (teacher's assistant), and really get that one-on-one experience with them."
Diversity of career options in accounting
When asked why she chose to pursue a major in accounting, Elliott said the problem-solving aspect of the career appeals to her and the wide range of options in the field.
"In accounting, you're not going to hit a glass ceiling, necessarily, because there so many different ways you can use it," she said, noting she's particularly interested in forensic accounting.
Elliott was chosen to sit on the Toronto Financial Services Alliance Talent Education Executive Council. This position gives her the opportunity to provide industry feedback from the student perspective to professionals in her field.
Maintaining industry contact led to job offer
Elliot already has a job lined up soon after graduation this spring. She starts her position at the Toronto office of accounting firm Grant Thornton in September. She got the job, in part, through a connection she made while working at a hair salon. As the receptionist she met a woman on Grant Thornton's hiring committee who was a client at the salon.
She made sure to maintain the relationship over the years.
"That connection helped me get my foot in the door," she said.
"You can't think that connections are going to come from stereotypical places. Who would've thought that I would have made a connection through a hair salon as a receptionist and just talking to someone? You have to remember that you never know who's going to be able to help you out in some way."
Elliott offered some advice to students currently networking and making industry connections: "Showing [those contacts] your work ethic and showing them you're interested and being committed to it is the key to everything."
Are you interested in studying finance or accounting? Learn more about George Brown's Bachelor of Commerce-Financial Services program.