Alumni Features

Inside SAIT accounting

Yekaterina (Kat) Giyasova poses in the Suncor Engery Centre in downtown Calgary on Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2020.

SAIT’s accounting program has become a popular alternative to equivalent programs at MRU and U of C because of a more personalized learning approach.

 

However, the four-year degree program has only been offered by SAIT since 2011, and many employers were initially cautious about hiring students from SAIT because of how unproven the accounting program was.

 

Yekaterina (Kat) Giyasova was one of the first waves of SAIT accounting students to hit the job market. She worked hard to break through these barriers and landed a job at KPMG.

 

“Not many people knew that SAIT was offering degrees,” said Giyasova, “so that was a bit of a hurdle to get over with employers.”

 

The Importance of Extracurriculars

According to Giyasova, one of the main things that set her apart from her fellow students in the eyes of employers was her extracurricular involvement at SAIT.

 

“The students that are hired the most by KPMG from SAIT are the ones that are participating in extracurricular activities such as competitions with one of the big four accounting firms, or The Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada (CPA),” said Giyasova.

 

Giyasova started the SAIT Accounting Society in 2016, and the society has helped connect SAIT’s accounting students to the industry. Through initiatives like this, SAIT’s program is starting to gain equal standing with employers.

 

Giyasova believes it’s a natural process, stating that MRU’s program is one of the biggest contributors of accounting students to the Calgary job market, but they also had to earn the trust of employers when they started their program.

 

Accounting Mentors

She also highlighted the importance of getting to know instructors and finding mentors. They can help you grow into your professional role.

 

Stephen Bergstrom, accounting instructor at SAIT, was a big help for Giyasova during her time as a student.

 

“He helped me through a lot while I was in school,” said Giyasova.

 

“He has always been a great support system and a mentor.”

 

The SAIT Advantage

Giyasova also believes students pursuing accounting should also look to arm themselves with more technological know-how while at SAIT.

 

“I underestimated how digitized and technology driven the world would be,” said Giyasova.

 

For Giyasova, if she was back at SAIT today, she would seek out more classes for data mining, data analytics and other system-based courses that would help give her a leg up in this rapidly changing industry.

 

Ultimately, Giyasova is happy she chose SAIT. She believes the more personalized approach to education was instrumental to her success at KPMG.

 

“I do believe I had a leg up on other students from other schools because I went to SAIT.”

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