Thursday, September 26, 2013

Managing Future Income Risk

Managing future income risk, I believe, all starts from the day you are born. Every decision made in life, affects where you will be in the future. Some of the biggest factors are what your major is, activities and organizations you are apart of, and your location.

The University of Illinois has a great career services, which has what seems like an unlimited amount of resources for students to search career opportunities. With all these resources, what makes a student qualified for a job? Certain requirements include GPA, major, location preference, courses taken, and many others. If you do not have one of the qualifications that a job requires, applying for the position could not be a possibility for you anymore. So ultimately, your decision to not take a class or to pick a certain major could be the reason why you are or are not qualified for a certain job.

At U of I certain majors are more heavily recruited; for example, an accounting major. U of I has one of the most prestigious accounting programs in the world and because of that, all of the best accounting firms do whatever they can to recruit and hire as much U of I graduates as possible. The Big Four (PwC, Deloitte, KMPG, & Ernst and Young) have dedicated so much time at the College of Business and donated so much money to make sure that the College of Business does a good job marketing their companies so that every accounting graduate wants to work for one of the Big Four.

I have a friend who graduated from U of I in May 2013 with a Masters Degree in Accounting. When he described his recruitment process for how he obtained his current job at PwC, (with a very nice salary) he explained it as “very easy.” He interned for PwC for two summers in a row and said that he expected nothing less but than to receive a full time job offer from them. He explained that the reason it was so easy is because being an Accounting major at U of I, having a GPA over 3.5, and being personable are the 3 things that any accounting firm is looking for and will hire almost without a doubt.

It was interesting to hear about how “simple” his process was in comparison to the struggle that other U of I graduates with different majors face to land a full time job. He made it sound too easy and almost unfair. From my perspective, he was working for that job offer for three years. He chose a difficult major, was able to maintain a great GPA, and sacrificed his summers to intern at an accounting firm instead of the typical life guard job that most students have over summers. He sacrificed a lot to make sure getting a full time job was easy. He managed his income risk by doing all the work beforehand to guarantee the results and the income that he wanted. 


  1. First, I encourage you to change your screen name to that of your alias. This way you get some privacy even though you are publishing out in the open.

    Second, you are right that Accounting, in particular is an area that has a very strong track record in placement of graduates into good jobs. It is also a limited opportunity in that the Business School is very selective, in itself, and then Accounting is selective is well. In class I mentioned that their courses are four credit hours, while in BA and Finance the courses are three credit hours. The consequence is fewer electives in Accounting and a more focused approach for the major. There is also that to sit for the CPA exam, a student needs 150 credit hours. That requirement is a further restriction.

  2. That's very good to hear that your friend has been successful at all his academic endeavors at this particular school. As you mention before, the branding that comes with the school helps a lot with jobs out of college. Specific companies actively recruit college graduates from specific institutions because of the name that comes with the school. Luckily our school is a great resource for these recruiters. I think the guidelines that you mentioned before are all interrelated so it's hard to specifically say that you have to do these things in order to get a sense of job security. For example having a high GPA may allow someone to get an internship easier. The most important thing that I believe is to remain competitive by being able to differentiate yourself from other candidates for the same job position.

  3. It's interesting that you mentioned that every decision you make in life factors into income risk. While I wholeheartedly believe that where you start out does not determine where you end up, there are certainly some things that can put you ahead of the pack - getting into a good college based on good performance in high school, for example. I got my first internship freshman year based on what I did in high school, and while I probably would have found a job without that first internship, I believe it's been a huge factor in having secured a full time job now.

    Also, there's no way the Accounting recruiting process is that easy. It sounds like all the legwork was done when he got that first internship, and since he's maintained a good relationship there, they want him back. Getting that first internship, though, definitely couldn't have been easy as PwC is very selective.