Loyola University Chicago

Quinlan School of Business

Accounting alumna integral to nonprofit tax practice

Accounting alumna integral to nonprofit tax practice

Bridget Roche, BBA ’06 (center) and her nonprofit tax team at Grant Thornton. Roche stands with (from left) Gabriel Marsal (BBA '16), Shazeen Sayani (BBA '15), Emily Biller (BBA '12), and Shannon Armstrong (BBA '13).

By Whitney Critten |  Student reporter

For more than a decade, Quinlan alumna Bridget Roche, BBA ’06, has been working in Grant Thornton’s nonprofit tax business line, which provides tax and consulting services to nonprofit organizations. Currently she serves as a tax director, and has carefully built a five-person nonprofit tax team of Quinlan alumni.

“My team and I attribute our desire to work in the not-for-profit tax area to Loyola’s impression on us about the importance of giving back to organizations that serve communities in need,” says Roche. “We really enjoy working for clients that have a mission."

As the team looks to expand for the future, Roche and the firm will be doing on-campus interviews at Quinlan in early spring 2017 to look for interns and full-time associates.

Here, she discusses what she looks for in a new hire, the importance of internships, and her advice to students.

What does Grant Thornton look for in new hires?

At Grant Thornton, company culture is very important to us. We want to know someone’s career goals and help them achieve it. And I think as an organization we’re looking for a person that’s a team player and is willing to grow with us—long term.

Senior Tax Associate Emily Biller (BBA '12) hard at work. 

In interviews, I tend to ask both behavioral questions to gauge personality type and skill set questions to gauge technical skills. More emphasis is given to behavioral questions, because a person’s skill set will grow and develop over time. I can teach and train new hires how to do the job, but I can’t teach them how to have presence with clients and other team members. 

I also look at how you speak to someone. Do you make and sustain eye contact throughout a conversation? How are your writing skills on your resume, and do you know professional email etiquette in your follow-up email to your interviewer?

These are important skills that students need to have when entering the job market because technical skills will grow with time, but having a good attitude, presence, and writing skills will help young professionals land wonderful jobs with inventive companies.

Why intern and volunteer?

When it comes to internships, you have to determine what’s important to you in terms of what you’re getting out of it.

Do you want a resume-builder type of internship with a large organization where you’ll work on really large clients or task-based projects, or an internship where you can feel challenged by the organization beyond one aspect, and gain invaluable working experience?  

Both look wonderful on resumes, and there is nothing wrong with either one, but students should have a pretty good idea of what they want before starting to interview for internships.

Secondly, for students seeking out other resume-building opportunities, I recommend they supplement paid internships by volunteering with a nonprofit or look at unpaid internships opportunities with nonprofits. Nonprofits are always looking for volunteers to help their organization do everything from communications work to bookkeeping.

For example, keeping the books once a month at a nonprofit is going to be a skill-building experience because you will be learning how to keep financial records and statements for audits. It can also turn into a long-term relationship with the organization with a potential opportunity to help serve on the board.

What advice can you offer students?

Being exposed to different areas outside of your major makes you a well-rounded individual, and this is important no matter where you go on to work, because well-rounded people are able to hold engaging conversations.

I had multiple internships, and none of them were related to what I’m doing now. I just wanted different experiences to be certain that pubic accounting was what I wanted to do with my career.

And finally, don’t be afraid to go out there and make things happen for yourself, always try to give back, and make your career your own. 

Quinlan alumna Bridget Roche, BBA '06