“Many of our interviewers will ask themselves a simple question when they meet with students – ‘does this person have what it takes to become a manager with our firm?’ – and we often find that students from UR have many of the skills required for long-term success at KPMG,” said Pete Bartok, a recruiter with KPMG LLP, a “big 4” accounting firm.

It’s these skills that landed 20 Richmond students jobs and internships with the firm, which operates 87 offices throughout the U.S.

Kelly Young, a senior majoring in accounting, will begin as an audit associate in the firm’s Richmond, Va. office this October. She interned with the office last summer. Her job responsibilities will include supporting audit teams with testing and reviewing audit transaction cycles and gaining an understanding of client operations and processes to analyze financial statements.

“I had a great experience interviewing with KPMG,” said Young. “Despite my nerves before the interview, Pete made me feel like I was chatting with an old friend. My UR experience prepared me for my job search more than I could have ever expected. Everyone at the career center is so helpful, and I always felt comfortable going in and asking any questions that were on my mind.”

Jake Russell, a senior majoring in accounting and a member of the UR men’s soccer team, also utilized career services to get his foot in the door with KPMG. He will start as an audit associate in the firm’s Chicago office this fall.

“I had early success with the on-campus interview program, and during the process, I expressed to Pete my interest in working in Chicago, but the office didn’t have any openings,” said Russell. “A couple of weeks passed, and Pete called me one day and said he contacted the Chicago office and found out there was a spot that just opened up. From there, I was on a plane to Chicago to interview.”

In addition to having a positive interview experience with the firm, Russell was able to connect with UR alumni throughout the recruiting process.

“I had the privilege of meeting Jack Reagan, [B’89,] a partner in the firm’s Washington, D.C. office,” said Russell. “Jack proved to be an influential part in my decision-making process, and he’s become a mentor to me. He would say, ‘come to me with whatever you need, and I’ll take off my KPMG cap and put on my Richmond one.’”

According to Bartok, it’s networking connections like those Russell made that helped make 2011 an exceptional hiring year for KPMG at Richmond.

“This group did many things right during the recruiting process,” Bartok said. “They made the effort to network with our employees when we were on campus, they were prepared for their interviews and they presented themselves in a professional and confident manner. We just continue to be impressed with the overall quality of the students we hire from the University of Richmond.”