Graduate Spotlight: Will Lazenby

by Kylie Gibbs, marketing intern, Mike Cottrell College of Business

Name: Will Lazenby

Degree & Graduation Year: BBA in Accounting, 2014

Title: Staff Auditor at Carr, Riggs, and Ingram

What is your role? What do you do in your role? I am a staff auditor with Carr, Riggs, and Ingram out of Atlanta, Georgia and I am in my second year. We are the 20th largest accounting firm in the US and we have been one of the fastest growing firms in the US each of the last 3 years. My role is to perform audits of Non-Public, Public, and Employee Benefit plans (also public and non-public).

What is your favorite part of your job? I am a very social person and like interaction, so being able to travel to different clients and interact with them is one of my favorite things. It also gets me out of the office so I am not in the same place every day.

How did you get your position? I worked really hard to develop a network and relationships with Atlanta-based accounting firms by email and through LinkedIn.  One day, one of my relationships finally paid off as I was called to interview at CRI by a former NGCSU Alum and then the rest is history.

What was the interview process like? The interview process was your typical interview process, really. It was formal and I interviewed with a couple of different people. I met a few of the audit partners in the office just to get to know them and to get some face time.  People are normally scared that interviews will be technical skill based, but I found out during my recruitment that the art of the interview is more based on being real with the interviewer because they are truly just trying to judge if they like you as a person and if you will fit the culture of the business that they are trying to create.

How do you feel like the Mike Cottrell College of Business prepared you for your career? I feel like the Mike Cottrell College of Business did a good job preparing me for my career- and not just by the classes that I took in the accounting degree program.  The extracurricular activities are what really pushed me over the edge and made me an outstanding candidate for a job like I have now.  So I encourage everyone to get involved in things such as Beta Alpha Psi, the Cottrell Scholars, and the like!

What are the 3 biggest things you have learned in the business world so far? 
1.      There are no spring breaks, fall breaks, Thanksgiving breaks, etc.  where you have extended time just because that the schedule that you are on.

2.      The business world that I am in with public accounting can be grueling and it can be cyclical in nature. There are really busy times and there are some slow times.  You have to know how to manage your time during the busy times to keep your house in order and when it is slow- enjoy it! It will be busy again before you know it.

3.      Atlanta Traffic is not fun.

What do you miss most about college? Refer to #1 above.  But seriously, when you are in college things seem busy and you are stressed about school and such, but in the business world there is no grading system. You either do it right or you do it wrong.  So you have to make an “A” everyday so there is more pressure to perform. There isn’t that kind of pressure in college. I also miss intramurals and the wings at Johnny B’s. Best wings ever.

If you could go back and tell yourself anything in college, what would it be?  Enjoy your time in college. I was always rushing through college trying to get into the business world and be successful.  There are times when you wish you could just go back and take a nap like you did right after your 8:00am class, but you can’t.   Also, build strong relationships with your friends and cherish the memories. When you graduate, everyone sets out on their own path, which leads to difficulty maintaining those friendships.

What is the best advice you could give current college students?  Understand the concepts and the relationships between all your business classes.  It is easy in college to compartmentalize everything as different class segments then do a brain dump once the semester is over. In the business world everything is thrown into a giant mixing pot and understanding the relationships between Business Admin, Ops Management, Marketing, Accounting, Finance, Economics, etc. is essential. If you can understand those relationships the transition is much easier and you will be ahead of candidates who do not understand those relationships.

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