Austin Wilder is a junior accounting student attending Louisiana State University and graduating in May 2020. LSU is an IAEP School with The IIA, and it has a special program for students seeking CIA certification.
He chose LSU, he explains, because it is Louisiana’s “flagship school.”
I have always been impressed by the quality of students that have graduated from this university. I look forward to being a part of the renowned group of graduates who serve their community through the use of their education.
An active traveler, Austin has recently spent time visiting cities all across the United States. He’s covered a lot of ground, but tells us he has much more to see in the near future. When he isn’t in class or traveling, he’s usually spending time with friends and family or taking his dogs to the local park.
Two things drove Austin into accounting. One, he tells us, was discovering early in his college career that he had a knack for the subject matter. It became more evident as he noticed how quickly he took to advanced topics. But he also has an interest in helping others.
Accounting by nature is a confusing topic, and being able to provide a service to my friends and family with my experience is very rewarding.
Austin is planning to pursue his CIA certification after he passes the CPA Exam. He sees credentials and experience as two critical points of differentiation that ensure success.
While experience is gained over time, certification can catapult a career. That is my primary driver to accomplish so much and aim so high [ . . . ] it will reward me greatly in my early career.
There are, of course, other ingredients to success, and Austin has found opportunities to gather them through academic and other pre-career avenues. One particularly important ingredient is networking.
My program offers terrific opportunities such as interacting with real-world professionals, incredible networking opportunities, as well as access to a handful of top internship openings. I have done my best to take full advantage of each of the key experiences that my program offers and I can truly attest to the value of a graduate degree and all of the benefits that it provides.
Austin first heard about the Gleim Campus Rep program in 2015 in one of his undergraduate accounting classes. When he was ready to apply for the program, the timing turned out to be just right.
I joined the rep program because I believed that I was fully capable of providing the service of connecting students to top-tier preparation material for certification exams. I was fortunate enough that at the time of my application, LSU did not have a representative. It was the perfect win-win scenario [ . . . ] My favorite part of the rep program is getting to meet and interact with other and younger accounting students. I know that when I was in my undergraduate program I had many questions and I value getting to provide that information while building those relationships through my time as a rep.
When something works, and works well, it’s easy to recommend. Austin lists several favorite features of Gleim review courses—the same ones he now recommends to others.
The video lectures, the task-based simulations, and the study planner. Each of these offerings align with how I study best as a student now, and I look forward to utilizing them during my preparation. I have encouraged other accounting students to do their individual research when it comes to determining how to prepare for accounting exams and each has returned with the realization that Gleim has been the obvious choice.
At Gleim, we know a lot about studying.
But if there’s anything we’ve learned from our students and candidates, it’s that although there are some common study styles and preferences, no two study approaches are ever truly identical. Austin’s is a classic style aimed at solitude and high focus.
I have an office both on campus as well as in my home. I prefer to study there where I can limit my distractions and really dedicate my time to bettering my understanding of the material at hand.
His general advice to other students—in his own words—is not as conventional, but it’s certainly sound advice for the modern accountant.
Utilize the people around you. Many people believe accounting is a field for the introverted, however, the biggest strength, I believe, a student can have is the opportunity to share ideas and questions with each other in order to benefit themselves and others.
Per Spotlight tradition, we asked Austin to share with us what motivates him. Like study styles, sources of inspiration tend to take a unique shape from one accounting student to the next. Austin’s number one motivator is tied to a personal goal.
One of my ultimate goals in life is to be financially free. By that I mean be at a place in which I can freely go about life without being concerned for where my next paycheck is going to come from. I know that may seem lofty, but very possible at the same time. I know too many people who spend most of their lives stressing about finances. I love being in the field I am because I am able to constantly educate myself of being financially intellectual. I wish to do this not only for myself, but my friends and family as well. I would love to give assistance to those who share the same desire I have because I know that I would want someone to do the same for me.