Students interested in earning an accounting degree online have to develop a number of skills as they progress through the curriculum. From developing a strong understanding of accounting principles to understanding technical standards and building a sense of comfort with the technology used by modern professionals to facilitate day-to-day work, there are plenty of areas where students have to develop proficiency to succeed.
Although not directly tied to courses, grades or graduation, networking is a vital consideration for program participants. The ability to develop, maintain, and strengthen professional relationships in a mutually beneficial way is as important a skill as auditing or cost accounting. It can influence everything from having productive discussions about developments in the accounting profession to seeking out career opportunities after graduation.
Advice for networking in an accounting bachelor’s degree online program
Networking in an online program may sound like a complicated proposition at first glance. It’s easy to think that on-campus learning offers more opportunities to meet fellow accounting students and get to know professors. While building professional connections at the University of Alabama at Birmingham can be a simple task, it’s also a straightforward and fruitful one for online students.
Highly involved and well-regarded faculty work just as closely with remote students as they do with those on campus, and upper-level courses in the Bachelor of Science in Accounting curriculum offer plenty of opportunities for students to meet each other. Other university resources, such as the UAB Career Center, supplement networking efforts to help online learners connect with graduates and potential employers. Consider the following suggestions for making the most of networking opportunities as a participant in the UAB bachelor’s in accounting online program.
Build off of group projects and other collaborative work
From the collaborative writing projects included in the Business Communications course to the interactivity required in the final class of the program, Accounting Capstone, there are a variety of opportunities for students to interact with fellow learners. These digital meetings are especially valuable because they help students meet others in similar positions. While every learner has a unique perspective on his or her educational and professional career, current program participants have many things in common.
These shared interests, goals, and experiences offer a strong base from which students can develop long-lasting professional relationships. Being in the same general position in terms of career development and, frequently, actively seeking out accounting roles means there’s plenty of relevant information for students to share with each other. That’s true both as they progress through the program and for many years after graduation.
Maintain connections with instructors
The professors in the Bachelor of Science in Accounting program at UAB have plenty of experience as professionals in the accounting world as well as instructing students. They can also be effective networking partners. With a variety of connections developed with past students and in various professional capacities, instructors can offer a wealth of information and guidance beyond the confines of their classes.
Of course, it’s important to not treat professors as one-way streets of information, only ever asking about industry leads or connections that could end in job opportunities. Sharing interesting developments in the world of accounting or simply passing along something that aligns with a professor’s interests can help the relationship feel more mutually beneficial, allowing it to last well into the future. Students need to provide something of value to their professors if they expect to leverage them in networking efforts.
Making the most of online networking
Earning an accounting bachelor’s degree online means the majority of networking efforts also have to take place through digital means. Building strong contacts can lead to texting, phone conversations, and even in-person meetings, but the discussions all start online. Effective digital networking requires a few unique considerations, but also offers some opportunities for developing and strengthening connections.
The lack of visible body language and audible tone and inflection in communications can sometimes make it difficult to gauge reactions that are important to understand as relationships develop. Err on the side of professionalism and politeness, especially at first. If a camaraderie develops with some of your contacts, consider transitioning to a more casual and familiar type of conversation. When networking, use the built-in latency of textual communication like emails, texting, and chat to consider what’s said and plan the response.
Remember that a short conversation isn’t necessarily a bad thing if it’s a fruitful, mutually beneficial one. If the two people involved both get something out of a quick back-and-forth discussion, there’s no pressing reason to force it to continue. Finally, be clear when making a specific request or when asking if you can help one of your contacts. Without the additional context that face-to-face meetings provide, it’s important to avoid any uncertainty or second guessing.
Earning your Bachelor of Science in Accounting Degree with UAB
An excellent education is the most important part of choosing where to earn an accounting degree online. Students who select UAB also enjoy a variety of networking opportunities, allowing them to more effectively learn about career opportunities and industry developments. Additionally, they have the ability to earn their degree at their own pace while balancing their existing personal and professional responsibilities. To learn more, get in touch with an advisor today.