This is a sponsored feature. All opinions are 100% from Her Campus.
When you’re applying to college, you have a ton of things to consider about where you’re sending your applications: do you prefer to stay close to home, or go across the country? Does the school have your dream major and the types of clubs and organizations you want to join? What about cost or opportunities?
For many, attending a Historically Black College or University (HBCU) or a Hispanic-serving institution (HSI) is at the top of their list when committing to a college – just like it was for Carmen Jiménez, MBA and Senior Associate at an accounting firm.
As a proud HSI alumna and a successful accountant, Carmen wants to share three helpful tips with incoming Hispanic students who are considering attending an HSI or pursuing a career in accounting.
The culture will help your transition into college.
No matter what school you end up at, one of the most difficult things for every college student is the transition into college life. Adjusting to your new environment and schedule while also trying to make friends and get used to being away from your family can feel overwhelming or impossible. But as a Hispanic student attending an HSI, having a shared culture with the people you’re learning with definitely helps in adjusting to the vast amount of change.
“The most important thing [for me at college] was the culture,” Carmen said, acknowledging that coming into university is already difficult. “You have to shift your focus, and everything is different than when you were in high school. So, going to an HSI [in Puerto Rico] where everyone was Hispanic took a lot of thinking out of being in college because I was at a place where everyone was like me.”
Carmen explains that she didn’t have to behave differently at school or pretend to be someone she’s not, and instead could really just focus on classes, getting good grades, and graduating on time.
Networking is key.
During Carmen’s time at college, she explained that her most supportive relationships at school were with her professors.
“The professors at my university were always very available, so we had a really good network with them,” Carmen said, explaining that they could exchange ideas and she could get help throughout her time at the university. She also highlighted that her boss at her after-class job taught her how to fix a cash flow error for the first time.
“He would go through my book of intermediate accounting and help me with anything I needed – and he was also my boss – and I think that fostering those relationships is super important.”
Carmen said that thanks to the networking she did with her different professors and bosses in Puerto Rico, she was able to find a job quickly. But when she moved to the States it wasn’t as quick of a process.
“It took me six to eight months to find a job, and that’s when I learned I had no network of people here and [realized a network like I had in Puerto Rico] would have been great.”
Now she makes an effort to get involved and make connections in her community. “Now that I’m a professional, I’ve joined organizations that cater to Latinos. And at my job, they have lots of resources and organizations for people of color, parents, caregivers, and more,” Carmen said. “They’re an amazing support system, and through those organizations, I network, I meet people at work, and we connect.”
There are many different job opps in accounting.
ICYMI, math isn’t the most important thing to know when you enter the world of accounting. “You have calculators for that,” Carmen said with a laugh, explaining that “accounting offers a wide range of services.”
She said that no matter what your talents are, and no matter what your role is, your accounting career can be something you’re passionate about. “There are accountants who do work that’s very challenging in terms of the amount of work they do, [and] there are accountants who work with data sets who require a certain set of skills to work with that. There are others who deal with flexibility, like auditors – and some people thrive in those environments,” Carmen said. “I decided to pursue my career in consulting…because I’m a bit more creative and I like the creative process.”
Curious to learn more about Carmen’s HSI experience and her current accounting career? Check out the whole chat on Generation Hired! And, for more deets on how you can pursue a career in accounting, head to joinaccountingplus.com.