Landing a Job: accounting grad Tony Nguyen shares his journey

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Tony emphasizes to others: ask questions and seek help early, don’t wait for your senior year to start exploring careers and building your brand.

Tony graduated with a bachelor's degree in business administration (accounting) in March 2017. He started his job at Waste Connections as an accounting clerk in May 2017. Although he found employment soon after graduating, applying for the position had been a long journey. In his initial years as a Milgard student he states he was focused on "getting a job-any job. I just need to take care of my family, that's it. It's not about what job I like or the company I work for.” However, after enduring multiple interviews, he began to think critically about what type of work was valuable to him. How did he fit in to the company? What did he really want from his employer? What areas in business are best suited for his skillset and interests? From that point on he only applied for jobs that fit his search criteria. 

By his senior year, he attended several career workshops put on by the Accounting Student Association (ASA). From the on-campus workshops and job fairs he learned that he needed to create a strong resume personalized to his skillset. He credits Milgard faculty and staff for motivating him and providing methods for not only a marketable resume, but the confidence needed to build yourself as a brand. Tony stated "go to the events, ask questions!".

To gain more skills in his field, he started working with Express Employment. As a temp employee he learned more about various roles in business and accounting. This experience confirmed his desire to look for jobs that emphasized his interest in data management. Working as a temp was valuable to him. "They gave me good resources," Tony claimed, giving him confidence and relevant accounting and business experience to strengthen his resume and apply for full time positions.

By the time he interviewed with his current employer, Waste Connections, he felt confident and prepared, which resulted in him landing the job. "The company gives me opportunities to do what I love. They asked me, what do you like to do?" Tony expressed he was humbled by his coworkers, because everyone was willing to help him grow. He now aspires to become a data analyst and hopes to stay with the company for a long time. 

He is an active participant in company community service events, such as fundraising for hurricane-relief victims, garbage truck rodeos and family picnics. He appreciates that Waste Connections keeps the whole family in mind when hosting events.

When asked how Milgard contributed to his success, he shared that classes such as TBUS 400 with Tracy Thompson provided the foundation to be confident, observant and detail oriented. He advised students to take advantage of MIlgard events. TGIF gatherings, etiquette dinners and LinkedIn events helped him grow and achieve the position he holds today. Tony mentioned how vital it is to become proficient in Excel, the app of choice in the accounting world.

In the closing moments of our interview, we asked Tony what further advice he would give to current students. "Don’t be afraid to make mistakes... Ask questions". He emphasized the importance of asking your colleagues and mentors for help, for when the questioning ends, so does the learning.

Written by: 
Shane Benoit / September 13, 2017
Media contact: 

Shane Benoit