Danielle Atkinson

#myJourney -- As president of AU’s Enactus chapter, 2012 business graduate Danielle Atkinson helped fund and build a computer lab in a foster home in Honduras.

It was also during Atkinson’s tenure with Enactus—while she was competing nationally with the entrepreneurial service club—that she was noticed by KPMG. The accounting and consulting giant invited Atkinson for an interview a few months later. After earning her master’s degree in accounting in North Carolina, Atkinson joined KPMG. 

Atkinson, who earned a B.S. in Business with concentrations in accounting and finance says her involvement with the Enactus at AU helped her apply what she was learning in her business classes to “the real world.”

Learned to be a leader

“I learned to be a leader… I’m a master delegator thanks to Anderson,” she says.

The leadership and delegation skills picked up through AU and Enactus play into her work every day.

“I am continually delegating tasks to interns and first year associates.  Knowing how to properly delegate (and) encourage others is key to keeping successful employees and mentees. My leadership skills have helped me in planning and coordinating events, recruiting new students to the firm, and serving as a mentor to new employees.”

AT KPMG, Atkinson works with clients in different industries, from financial services to consumer goods to healthcare manufacturing.

“I have a lot of face time with clients, and get to build a relationship with them and review financial information. I don’t stay in one place. I get to travel around…”

Atkinson’s tasks have included test work that involves speaking with clients, learning about them and their daily functions, and figuring out what controls are in place, and that they’re following proper procedures.

Senior Associate

She’s received an award from KPMG for her hard work and has recently been promoted to Senior Associate. She’s worked with clients in many fields and realized she enjoys working in the consumer goods industry.

Atkinson says here intermediate accounting classes at AU and her senior seminar, which incorporated all of her business classes, were extremely relevant to her job, as was a finance class on how to read financial statements and figure out future projections.

Carol Karnes, dean of the College of Business, notes that other recent grads started careers with prominent firms, such as Enterprise, Home Depot, and State Farm. Karnes stressed that the business school encourages students to be proactive and aggressive when networking.

“That’s what Danielle did,” she said. “She started early.”

Students at the College of Business also have to complete an internship their senior year. Often these internships lead to full-time employment; Dr. Karnes says AU students who interned with First Quality became employees, as well as an AnMed intern who earned a position in its human resources department.    

Originally from Hartsville, South Carolina, Atkinson felt it was important that she go to a Christian school for college.

“I knew it would prepare me to go out into the world and be a steward leader.” She says AU and its faculty is a reliable source