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Find Career Mentors While You're Still in College

Editor’s note: In recent weeks, the PreparedU Project has invited successful and accomplished executives to share insights into how women can help themselves and each other achieve success in the workforce. PreparedU research gave young millennials high grades for their skills, and so now we turn to millennial women students for their perspectives on preparing for a career.

For me, it’s essential to have great mentors in order to get ready for a career while you’re still in college.

Bentley’s PreparedU research on Women in Business revealed that women especially need mentors to help further their advancement. 

I’ll start by saying that I have amazing parents.

My mom is absolutely hilarious. She’s a librarian, and loves helping people.

My dad has been in the operations side of business and currently works for a large generic-name food supplier. He always said that I was very creative and would be good at marketing. I remember him saying this when I was really young, still in elementary school. And, when I first chose Bentley, I actually thought I would be a marketing major. But after the freshman year GB112 and 212 classes in accounting and finance, I decided on accounting.

Having my father in business has been really great and, as I’ve progressed through my college years and expanded my business knowledge, we’re able to talk more about what he does and how companies actually work.

My biggest passion in life is boxing and mixed martial arts (MMA). And I have awesome coaches in my gym back in Chicago — they always remind me to “Train hard, study harder!” One of my ultimate goals in life is to do tax, or another area of accounting, but definitely still train in mixed martial arts, or teach others. I’m a happier person when I have my boxing gloves on! 

After graduation, which is coming up very soon, my hope is to get an internship in Chicago with a large accounting firm, and then continue on to graduate school and become a CPA. I hope to have my masters of accounting or masters of taxation and my CPA certification within the next two to three years.

Looking ahead, I’m determined to be successful in business and have a family, too. I know this is possible, because I’ve had a lot of female accounting professors at Bentley who are great reminders that you can do both — and well.

My favorite mentor at Bentley, however, is Diane Thompson. Diane works in the Office of Undergraduate Admission. She’s definitely helped me prepare for the professional world because she’s very clear with her expectations and also very understanding when I make mistakes, which are always inevitable.

In addition, Diane has taught me how to communicate clearly to others. And she’s shown me that you just have to go with the flow some times. She’s very organized and detail-oriented, yet very friendly and easy going when it comes to people.

When I join the professional world, I hope to be like Diane.

Catherine Kershner ’15 is an Accounting major and History minor. 

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