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James Bryant is a man of strategy and energy.
“I’ve found that when it comes to majoring in accounting, most people do it because it’s a good job, steady work, but very few people are passionate about accounting,” the Oregon State University MBA student said.
Bryant is one of those few.
“Public accounting, you get as much out of it as you put into it,” he said.
Bryant graduated from OSU with a Bachelor of Science in accounting in June 2014. When the time came for making a plan for the fifth year of college that Oregon requires for those hoping to be certified public accountants, staying in Corvallis was an easy choice.
“I felt connected to the faculty here and felt I had a lot more to learn from them,” he said.
Bryant, who’s funding his own education by working two sales jobs, cited Prof. Roger Graham and Assistant Prof. Bret Scott as two who have made a particular impact on his education.
“They pushed me to think about things more deeply, not just do the homework and get the answer right,” Bryant said.
Bryant has thrived in the case-study method of education.
“He performed exceptionally well at a regional case competition in which he, along with his team members, was responsible for analyzing accounting issues and associated business risk in a truncated time frame, and subsequently present his and his group members’ findings in front of a panel of experienced accounting and business professionals,” Scott said.
“His peers found him to be not only an effective leader but also a strong and reliable contributor when necessary,” Scott said. “I can attest to the claims from his fellow classmates when they say that James has outstanding communication skills and work ethic.”
Bryant, whose area of accounting emphasis is audit, has a job in Portland lined up with professional services giant KPMG, a 144-year-old firm that employs about 160,000 people. KPMG recruits at Oregon State.
“You’re always with a new client, in a different office, with different people, which is actually sort of opposite my personality,” he said. “But I think it’s good to push yourself outside of your comfort zone.”
The position at KPMG represents one leg of Bryant’s three-pronged career approach: work his way up to partner in a public accounting firm, become a C-level manager in a private company, or return to school for a Ph.D. and teach accounting.
“He has always carried himself with dignity, and represents the kind of integrity, honor and discipline we expect in all of our students,” Scott said.
Away from class and school projects, Bryant likes to work out and to spend time outdoors.
“Hiking, hunting, fishing, anything outside,” he said. “Living in the Pacific Northwest, too many people take it for granted.”