Vicki Holthaus, accounting program chair at Minnesota School of Business-St. Cloud (MSB) and a small business owner, is enjoying her experiences with college students. On staff less than a year, Vicki recently won the Instructor of the Quarter award from her peers and frequently receives rave reviews from her students. Here are some thoughts on her life at MSB—and elsewhere.
Q: What is your background? Why did you choose MSB?A: I began working in municipal government after college and spent the better part of the past decade working in local government finance and management. During grad school, I set a goal to one day teach higher ed because I so enjoyed the informal teaching opportunities that I encountered in local government. I feel very privileged to teach for MSB.
Q: What is the best part of your job?
A: I love advising! I will take any opportunity I can get to sit down with students and discuss their career aspirations, academic interests and their vision for the future. The information students share with me helps me, as chair, create opportunities for career exploration. One of my first goals as program chair is to introduce as many professional networks as I can to the student body [in order] to encourage career exploration early and often throughout a student’s time at MSB. I [also] love applied learning projects! Applied learning projects give students an opportunity to learn by doing, and very often we are doing good in the local community by assisting non-profits that need it most. The past couple of quarters I’ve had students help out Hands Across the World and an area youth hockey association with various accounting projects.
Q: What advice do you have for your accounting students?
A: Here’s my list!
- Read the text. Reading, in-class demonstration, problem solving, etc. may seem redundant at times, but the more ways in which your brain receives the information, the better chance you have of absorbing and mastering the course content.
- Teach a classmate. Hearing, seeing and practicing your lessons are necessary, but if you can demonstrate the material to another person, you’ve come along way at mastering the material.
- Join an association and begin networking early on.
- Take every opportunity to improve your public speaking skills. (Especially if you strongly dislike public speaking!) Public speaking does not come easily for many of us, so the more we can practice our public speaking skills the more comfortable we will become presenting information to a group.
- Find a mentor. Mentors can help us at all stages of life. A mentor can give you guidance and help you grow throughout your college career and beyond. Mentors can help us grow professionally and personally.
- Volunteer. If paid work experience in your field of study is not an option, seek out opportunities to volunteer for an organization on a trade or non-trade related project. Employers like to see that you are active and engaged in your community. You never know what opportunity may present itself from a networking opportunity gained by volunteering and making a positive impact on the community.
Q: What is the job outlook for your graduates?
A: The job outlook for accounting grads is great! There’s a lot of variety in career choice for an accounting graduate. I refer to accounting as the “language of business.” Accounting graduates may very well find themselves working in business management or in a more traditional role in public accounting, non-profit accounting, governmental accounting, corporate or managerial accounting. Students that are near completion of their program or seeking work experience during their college career should talk with Career Services on campus or their advisor about available opportunities!