Success Stories
MS in Accounting student
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May 6, 2020 |
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Accounting Grad Turns Obstacles Into Opportunities

Meet Sahibnoor Singh, winner of the Outstanding Student Award for the MS in Accounting program. His contributions to the GGU community helped propel him toward his own professional success.

By Jenny McKeel
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Sahibnoor Singh has encountered his fair share of professional challenges. Through hard work and perseverance, he’s overcome them one by one. His passion is auditing—he enjoys the challenge and exposure auditors gain to different industries including software and life science companies. But when he immigrated to the United States with three years of auditing experience in India and obtained his CPA, he found that U.S. employers were seeking candidates with professional experience in the U.S. or recent graduates. He was neither. Eventually, he accepted a position with a nonprofit to gain experience and then transitioned to a public accounting firm for nearly one year. Even with more professional experience, he decided not to rest on his laurels. He came to GGU to pursue his MS in Accounting.

“I didn’t want my lack of a U.S. education to ever be a hurdle again,” explained Sahibnoor.

Community Engagement

At GGU, Sahibnoor’s professional experience helped him excel in all of his courses. But he empathized with classmates who struggled with course material and their job search. He had been in their shoes before. He tutored classmates informally and then served as an official Accounting Tutor for the program.

“Tutoring others is one of the things that allowed me to excel,” said Sahibnoor. “I wasn’t just helping those students. I had 4-5 years in accounting and auditing, but when I was teaching students, I had to do extra research before I could teach them. That really helped me improve.”

After attending GGU’s resume workshops, Sahibnoor hosted his own resume workshop that enabled him to help classmates in a personalized way. He also organized a speed networking event with a few friends, inviting contacts from the Big Four he had met at Lunch and Learn events and through LinkedIn.

The Power of Networking

At GGU, Sahibnoor took advantage of every networking opportunity he could to help with his job search. But, at career fairs, he found most employers were seeking entry-level candidates.

“It was hard for me compared to other students,” said Sahibnoor. “Most of the representatives at career fairs were looking for candidates with no experience, whereas I had five years of experience.  My friends were getting offers from the Big Four, but I wasn’t getting any interview requests.”

Eventually he made contacts at career fairs and through his own networking efforts that led to his current position as Senior Auditor with BDO. His advice to prospective students is to attend every single career fair.

“Don’t miss a single one. They are very helpful; take them seriously,” said Sahibnoor. “Try to network as much as possible with your fellow students, because you never know who will help you in the future.”

Why did you choose GGU?  I needed a flexible program in which I could get my masters at my own pace in accordance with my work schedule.

What accomplishments are you the most proud of? I’m proud of my contributions to the GGU community. I hosted a Speed Networking event which included partners/directors from the Big Four, helped a lot of students as the GGU Accounting Tutor, and hosted a resume review workshop for my fellow classmates.

What courses that you have taken have proven most valuable to you? Accounting 305 taught by Professor Deborah Bennett. The accounting knowledge I gained was very valuable and still helps me with my real world problems in public accounting. Sometimes I go back to slides she used in class for technical items I’m working on.

What activities did you participate in outside of coursework? I was vice president of the GGU Accounting Club which led me to organize various networking and soft skill events.

How do you think your education at GGU will help you succeed in your career? It helped me network with the right people, and allowed me to develop soft as well as technical skills.

What are your career ambitions for the future? I am currently working at one of the top accounting firms and intend on staying in public accounting until the end of my career.

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