Allie Reading-Brown was paired with a mentor from KPMG

The Mentor Initiative pairs CUW students with leaders from the business community to help students succeed in their future careers.

On Monday night, Concordia’s Batterman School of Business hosted a reception for The Mentor Initiative. The event sought to celebrate the mentor-mentee relationships that have formed since the program’s start three years ago.

There are now close to 100 CUW students who have been paired with a business mentor. More than a dozen of them showed up to Monday’s reception. Here are just a few of the success stories that have emerged from the initiative.

A strong case for legal studies

Senior Sport & Entertainment Business major Matt LeVene with Jim Swaderski, J.D.
Matt LeVene addresses the crowd at The Mentor Initiative reception

Matt LeVene always had a career in law in the back of his mind, but he took a roundabout path to get there. He decided to major in Sport and Entertainment Business when he started at CUW and it wasn’t until partway through his collegiate tenure that he decided he did, in fact, want to pursue law school. After talking with his mentor and other area attorneys, he felt certain he could still successfully apply for law school without switching to a “more traditional” undergraduate major.

The advice proved true. LeVene was accepted to law schools at University of Wisconsin, University of Iowa, Indiana University Bloomington, University of Minnesota, and The Ohio State. He ultimately decided on UW for next year.

Here’s what he had to say about The Mentor Initiative:

LeVene: The Mentor Initiative has been one of the most rewarding and fulfilling experiences during my time here at Concordia. This program does not guarantee a job offer at the end of it. However, what it does guarantee is the opportunity to meet and network with distinguished professionals and be a part of a special group of people at Concordia. The Mentor Initiative helps form real connections with real people.”

Three Concordians at a “Big Four”

Senior Accounting majors Emily Ewert and Sophia Karlovich with Milwaukee Office Managing Partner for KPMG Joe Rock
Senior Accounting major Allie Reading-Brown with KPMG Audit Partner Lindsay Hammerer

Four competitive accounting firms in the U.S., or the “Big Four,” manage over 78 percent of all U.S. public audits and 99 percent of all public company sales. As one of the Big Four, KPMG provides audit, tax, and advisory services to many of the world’s leading organizations.

It is said to be incredibly competitive to land an internship at KPMG. One report cited KPMG’s internship acceptance rate at 8%, with more than 50,000 applicants vying for 3,900 internships in the U.S. between fall 2021 and spring 2022.

Three Concordia seniors have risen above the pack to land coveted jobs at Milwaukee’s KPMG Office following their graduation from CUW next month. They each credit their KPMG mentors with helping them decide on their best career path.

KPMG mentors and mentees

The KPMG mentor experience

Here’s what they had to say about their experience with The Mentor Initiative:

Karlovich: “When I was first talking to Joe, I didn’t know what I wanted to do in accounting so I thought it would be helpful to just learn more about the field. Just talking with him was so helpful, and he connected me with other people in his firm to help me figure it out. I’m excited to say that I’ll be working as an audit associate at KPMG after graduation.”

Ewert: “Similar to Sophia, I had no idea what paths or opportunities I had through accounting and so going into it with my mentor, he ultimately was able to help me narrow down what I was looking for in accounting. Another cool thing that came from the Mentor Initiative was that (CUW organizer) John Benson was able to set me up with the CFO of Culver’s franchising. I’ve worked at Culver’s for over six years and it’s been a big part of my life. My dream would be to own my own franchise in the future. So I got to talk to (Culver’s CFO) about what steps I can take right now to set me up for my future.”

Reading-Brown: “I’ve gained a lot of real-world advice. There’s been a lot of wisdom that Lindsay has shared with me that you can’t necessarily learn from a Powerpoint. I worked at KPMG last summer as an intern and now I have a job lined up as an audit associate.”

Hammerer: “To me, it’s all about the giving back. It’s all about sharing what you know to help the younger generation and equip them better. Of course we love to meet high-potential people from a recruitment perspective, but it’s so much bigger than that.”

Investing in his future

Junior Finance major Vincent Falcone with Annex Wealth Management Director of Retirement Plan Services Tom Parks
Vincent Falcone with his mentor

In addition to his role with Annex, Parks serves on the Board of Directors for the Independent Business Association of Wisconsin (IBAW). The organization has supplied a number of Concordia’s mentors for the program.

Parks: “Our members really do care about the students and want to help, but we had a very selfish reason for getting involved. Useful working adults is a commodity and it’s something that’s really hard to come by these days,” Parks told those who gathered on Monday.

Parks has found in Vincent Falcone an future worker with potential.

Falcone: “I was looking into the wealth management field so I was paired up with Tom. I think we had three or four meetings and I was able to get to know him and his company. I found that extremely helpful to meet with different people throughout the different sectors and get bits of pieces of advice from the different areas.

“Every conversation I’ve had with Tom has just been super comfortable. It was apparent that he just really wanted to give me his all. I so appreciate what he’s done for me. Being able to share that relationship is truly something I couldn’t get elsewhere.”

Want in?

The Mentor Initiative is an opportunity for Concordia students in the School of Business to connect with successful and elite business executives from the Milwaukee business community. Students in their second semester of freshman year and above are eligible for participation.