Andrew Johnson’s campus involvement ultimately opened doors to an opportunity at a global accounting firm following graduation from Concordia.
Andrew Johnson ’18, Foxtown, Minn.
How did you decide to become an accounting major?
I knew I liked numbers, so I came in as a math major and ultimately switched to accounting. One of the reasons I really enjoyed the accounting department was because I connected with each of the faculty on a personal level. I also thought accounting would be very versatile for my career.
What were you involved with?
During my freshman year, I dove into Student Government Association and was saying yes to everything. After I got a percussion scholarship though, SGA conflicted with my schedule a lot.
One thing that has been consistent throughout college for me was my involvement with percussion – I did it all four years. The percussion ensemble has been my favorite music group to be a part of. As a freshman, I was unsure if I could stay awake for all three hours on Thursday nights, but I quickly realized that it’s a good getaway.
I also was heavily involved with Campus Events Commission since freshman year. I started with special events when Luke Fitterer was the commissioner, and when I toured Concordia for the first time he was my host. I knew then that I wanted to be involved with CEC. I was also on the health, wellness and diversity committee. Some of my favorite events we put on were Zumba, grocery bingo, trivia night and a murder mystery party that we held at Rustic Oaks.
I really enjoyed doing the finances for CEC, which I took over senior year. It’s a lot of budget and tracking expenses of commissioners. They like to know how much money they have left and how they can plan their spending. I fill out any payment requests for any artists who are coming to campus or reimbursement forms for students who buy anything on behalf of CEC. It’s a great experience.
And during my senior year, I was crowned Homecoming king. It was so exciting and unexpected! It was especially cool because I got crowned with one of my great friends, Corinne Burrell. We were both class reps our freshman year.
What is your favorite Concordia memory?
My favorite memory was studying abroad for four months in New Zealand in spring 2017. During my sophomore year, I went on a trip to Hawaii and we went to a Polynesian cultural center that explained the different islands. It got me thinking about New Zealand, and when I got back to campus the study away office had just added a New Zealand program. It was meant to be!
During my time in New Zealand, I was five minutes from the ocean – just a quick bus ride away. I bungee jumped twice over a river from a bridge and then another time was on a suspended hut above a canyon.
I took my Religion 300 course while I was there: New Zealand Religious History. It was extremely interesting. I did a research project about southeastern religions and how immigration affected the religious climate in New Zealand. I was able to apply numbers to a topic that maybe isn’t traditionally analyzed in that way. And most important of all, I made lifelong friends. After our time together abroad, we all met up in Toronto for New Year’s. It was a blast.
Did you have any favorite courses or faculty during your time at Concordia?
I really liked Managerial Accounting with Jill Zeitz. She explains things so well that I understand it the first time and I didn’t have to do much studying. It just really clicks when she teaches.
Did you have any internships?
Most recently, I was contracted by Kelly Services to work at Microsoft as the site team and operations intern. I am on the site team, which is basically the liaison between Microsoft Corporate and the Fargo office. It’s interesting because our team parallels CEC. We focus mainly on event planning and boosting employee morale. There is a high service aspect to our department. In October, we spent the whole month hosting events with nonprofits. That was really cool because Microsoft matched employee donations up to a certain amount.
I also completed an internship with Northwestern Mutual the summer after my sophomore year. It was interesting to learn so much about real-world financials instead of just concepts. The entire summer I worked really hard to learn as much as I could from it. I was one of the top 75 interns in the Midwest, so they flew me down to Minneapolis for a big conference. That internship really helped me to be more comfortable talking to people for the first time.
Can you tell us about your case-study competition?
My involvement in a case-study competition ultimately led to a job offer. Concordia teams up with Deloitte in a competition that basically uses accounting code to answer a prompt inspired by a Deloitte case from the past. They took out helpful information and we had to piece it all together. I worked on that closely with Josie Perhus. We had the prompt for about a month before we presented in Minneapolis to the Deloitte partners. Based off the presentations, they offered interviews to people who stood out. Shortly after, I interviewed with Deloitte partners and I thought the interviews went really well. I was well prepared because I read a bunch of their interview tips beforehand. They called me five minutes after I left the interview with an offer! It was incredible.
Tell us about your position at Deloitte.
I will be an audit associate at the Deloitte Minneapolis office, which means I am basically a fraud detective. I go into other businesses and see how their systems are operating and from there I figure out any errors. You need to make sure they aren’t committing fraud.
Do you have any advice for incoming freshmen?
I would say to establish your network, not because you want to get places but because you are genuinely curious about people. Come from a place of genuineness instead of selfishness. And be sure to attend and get involved in Fargo-Moorhead and campus events.
Also, it really is OK to not know exactly what you want to do. If you think you have it figured out, you probably don’t.
Danyel Moe '17 is a content specialist at Concordia.