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USM School of Accountancy Hosts Virtual Meet the Firms Event

Mon, 09/14/2020 - 14:59pm | By: Bailey Harris

Harper, Rains, Knight and Company virtual meetThe School of Accountancy in The University of Southern Mississippi’s College of Business and Economic Development hosted the first virtual Meet the Firms event on Thursday, Sept. 10. More than 200 individuals participated in the event, including firm and company representatives, current School of Accountancy students and alumni, faculty members and staff.

The annual flagship recruiting event is a critical component in the professional recruiting process for USM accounting students and graduates. 30 firms participated and nearly 300 resumes were submitted in total.

Given the current challenges with COVID-19 and social distancing, the event looked a little different this year, as it was hosted entirely through the Microsoft Teams virtual platform. This decision was made due to the priority of protecting the health and safety of all involved.

“Meet the Firms is an important event for our accounting students to network with employers for potential internships and full-time positions. Unfortunately, Covid-19 forced us to do a virtual event this year. Thus, we did not know what to expect,” said Dr. Marvin Bouillon, Director of the School of Accountancy. “But through the hard work of an excellent organizational team, we were able to provide a successful event that served the students and potential employers well.”

Keiyana Gaskin, an accounting student from Vicksburg, Miss. shared her thoughts on the experience. “I am very grateful and blessed for the opportunity to participate in the Meet the Firms event. Although we face difficult and uncertain times, our accounting faculty and career services staff members worked very hard to make the event a success,” said Gaskin. “The demo day was very helpful and allowed us to navigate throughout the event seamlessly. The firms also developed a professional and friendly environment whether communicating through video or in the chat boxes. This event was well developed, and I am happy to be a Golden Eagle.”

A lot of work was done behind the scenes to shift the large event from face-to-face to a virtual delivery model, including Microsoft Teams Demo Days and virtual training sessions that were developed for students as well as participating employers, resume virtual workshops and critique sessions.

The goal was to creatively and effectively design a virtual event that was as close to the real face-to-face event experience as possible, and it couldn’t have been done without the hard work of Amber Hatten, Jasmine Coleman-Miller, Amy Yeend, Marvin Bouillon, Bailey Harris, and Mary Ann Iverson.

“This year’s Meet the Firms event at Southern Miss was very well thought out and organized in a way that most closely resembled a live networking event. After attending events at several other universities, I would have to say that USM was the most successful in making their virtual event ‘feel’ like a live meeting,” said John McCallum of GranthamPoole PLLC.

“Meet the Firms” is a national initiative designed to provide accounting firms and other organizations throughout the country an opportunity to showcase their establishment’s attributes to accounting students. With 100 percent placement for USM students in the Master of Professional Accountancy (MPA) Program, Meet the Firms offers that first opportunity for students to begin the career development process.

“We are grateful for all of the firms and organizations represented at the event, and we sincerely appreciate their continued interest in recruiting and hiring our talented accounting students at Southern Miss,” said Amber Hatten, CPA, Professor of Practice and Director of USM’s MPA Program. “We are hopeful that many students might be granted internship and/or full-time opportunities as a direct result of the Fall 2020 Meet the Firms virtual event, and we look forward to the day when we can all be back on campus together again in person!”

The USM School of Accountancy offers an accounting undergraduate program and a Master of Professional Accountancy (MPA) program, both of which are accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) International. Meet the Firms is just one of many opportunities the school provides to set their students up for success.

The School of Accountancy and College of Business and Economic Development extends a special thank you to all of the professional participants:

1. Anglin Reichmann Armstrong

2. Becker CPA Exam Review

3. BKD CPAs and Advisors

4. CSpire

5. Carr, Riggs, and Ingram, LLC

6. Crow Shields Bailey PC

7. Ernst and Young

8. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)

9. Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC)

10. Gleim Exam Review

11. GranthamPoole PLLC

12. Hancock Whitney Bank

13. Harper, Rains, Knight and Company

14. Heard, McElroy, and Vestal, LLC



17. Laura Brame Cerra, CPA, PLLC

18. Matthews, Cutrer, and Lindsay, P.A.

19. May and Company

20. Mississippi Department of Revenue

21. Mississippi Society of CPAs

22. PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (PwC)

23. Robert E. Donnell III, CPA PC

24. Saltmarsh, Cleaveland, and Gund

25. Silas Simmons, LLP

26. Smith Dukes

27. Surgent CPA Review

28. TMH

29. Trustmark National Bank

30. UWorld Roger CPA Review

31. Wilkins Miller LLC

To learn more about the School of Accountancy and the College of Business and Economic Development, call 601.266.4659 or visit: