MEET KENNETH! He graduated with a double major in Accounting and Business Computer Information Systems in May 2020. He is currently working as a Cybersecurity, Privacy, & Forensics Consultant at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).
We asked Kenneth some questions, advice for current students, and how UNT helped him to succeed and SOAR BEYOND!
When you started at UNT, what were your plans after graduation? How have these plans changed (if at all)? I started as an accounting major with intentions of getting my masters and to sit for the CPA exam. Whether I wanted to do tax, audit, or corporate accounting was still up in the air. As I got further along with my accounting degree and started networking to learn from accounting professionals, I realized that accounting wasn’t for me. I’ve had a natural penchant for technology and realized that pursuing a career in information technology (IT) would rewarding for me. So I decided to also double major in business computer information systems (BCIS). Cybersecurity was the most interesting domain of IT for me, and so my plans after graduation shifted to wanting to work as a cybersecurity professional.
What advice do you have for prospective or current students as they decide what they want their next steps to be (internships/careers/etc.)? I recommend for students to get involved with clubs — whether it’s for personal interest or if it relates to a career that they want to check out. Clubs have tons of resources to help you become better at what you’re doing or want to do, and being able to connect with like-minded people in the club is invaluable.
Specifically for career-related clubs, you have access to network with and learn from practitioners in the field. It can be intimidating to reach out to a professional at the end of a club meeting or online via LinkedIn to ask them questions and learn from them. But it’s a feeling or skill that we all should practice getting over because it’s only going to help us in the long run.
Another skill set that is crucial to almost everyone’s career but is something most of us fear is public speaking. I highly recommend students check out Toastmasters, which is a club designed to hone your effective communication and public speaking abilities. It has helped me tremendously and I’ve noticed that in the internship interviews that I went through. You could find more information on Toastmasters through Handshake, including our information sessions every Monday at 12:05 pm or email Amy.Ferman@unt.edu.
How did your program at UNT help you to feel prepared for this role? My current role is as a cybersecurity consultant. My accounting degree helps indirectly in it doesn’t keep me tunnel-visioned with just technology. At the end of the day, a company’s bottom line is their business and how it operates. With my accounting and business background, I can see how cybersecurity and technology affect that and I can convey that to clients.
The BCIS program at UNT is general in that it introduces you to various aspects of IT. I like this approach because you don’t usually know what you want to specialize in until later on in your education or even career. Once you’ve got a solid foundation on IT, focusing on the nuances of a specific field is much easier.
But as with any opportunity, it’s what you make out of it. You have to proactively seek out help and do your research to get the most out of your program.
How did you find your current role?
I found my current role through UNT’s Handshake portal. I applied there as well as the employer’s external application page. At the same time, I was also part of the cybersecurity club, and a few senior members there interned in the same position at that company, and so I also sought out their advice and help.
What was the toughest interview question they asked you? No particular question stood out, they were just your typical behavioral questions (e.g. What are your strengths/weaknesses, Tell me about yourself). For consulting or IT interviews, there will typically be a case study or technical interview. That part of the interview for me was the hardest and was the one I was most nervous about. With these kinds of interviews, it’s more about how you think through a problem and how you convey the solution, than it is about whether the answer is right or wrong
How, if at all, did the Career Center help you? The Career Center helped me out tremendously with my resume. All College of Business (CoB) students are required to take courses that touch on resume building — those have helped — but the advice and guidance from the CoB career center really transformed my resume. They’ve got a standard format that looks very clean and is practical. I’ve had interviewers compliment my resume and said it was easy to take a look at and to understand. Your resume is how you get your foot in the door, how you land that interview, and the Career Center will definitely make sure that your resume can accomplish that.
Want to hear more of Kenneth’s story? Check out his testimonial video!
Would you like to be featured in our Soaring Beyond Success Series? Email Jeanette Hickl. We’d love to share your story!