Jordan Shutts jump-starts accounting career with internships, Enactus

In this issue’s Spotlight, meet junior accounting major Jordan Shutts, president of the college’s chapter of Enactus, a student organization dedicated to taking entrepreneurial action on behalf of others.

Q. Where were you born and raised?
A. Queensbury, New York. It’s about 3 1/2 hours by car from here—just the right distance where I don’t want to go home every weekend.

Q. Why did you choose SUNY Oswego?
A. I started doing the tours and checking the campuses out and imagining if I could live there. At Oswego, I thought that the buildings were new and all the academic buildings were nice. I had a second tour, actually, and during that I knew it (was the one), so I said, “I have to put my deposit in right now at the Admissions Office or I won’t come here. If I go home, I’m going to think about this for hours and hours and change my mind and need to tour all the other schools again.” That’s sometimes just how I am—I’ve just got to make a decision. It has worked!

Q. How did you decide on an accounting major in the School of Business?
A. When I came here, I was a business administration major. I was doing well in accounting classes, and accounting made me pay attention and was challenging me. Dr. (Susan) Wright recommended the CMA (Certified Management Accountant) route. I got more involved in accounting and I’m now on track to do the 5-year MBA program here. I’m not accepted yet, but I’ll take the GMAT this summer and I’m getting my references right now. During my fifth year here, I’ll start taking (the exams for) my CPA.

Q. Do you have a career goal at present?
A. I want to work on the audit side. I want to get into a Big Four (accounting firm).

Q. How are you aiming to gain the work experience required for the CPA?
A. I intern at Bowers & Co. (CPAs) each Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. I try to get at least 20 hours in. It’s busy season, so it’s been a little hectic. I work on people’s individual tax returns. On Monday, I went to Boston and I had an interview for an internship at Biogen in Cambridge, right next to MIT’s campus. They’re a huge biotechnology company. They have an internal audit department. I’ve already accepted it, so I’ll be working there this summer.

Q. How did you get involved with Enactus?
A. My freshman year I came into school thinking I wanted to start a business. I saw these (Enactus) posters everywhere and digital signage for a meeting. I went to the Student Involvement Fair and I talked to the president at that time, Tucker Sholtes. I was looking for people like me. I thought I’d go to the first meeting and listen and maybe run into some people who are entrepreneurially minded. I sat in the back and everyone’s up front and they’re all wearing suits and everyone is speaking very well and they’re professional, and immediately there was an opportunity for a project called Digitize helping small businesses with technology. They took me under their wing, and that’s what got me involved. We wrote a grant to Sam’s Club. We stayed up all night. We ended up getting it, and it was a $1,500 grant. We’ve installed iPads and point of sale systems in three Oswego businesses now: The first one was Mom and Pop’s Soda Shop and Eatery, then Taste the World—another $1,500 grant—and this year we’re working with The Cutting Board on a $2,100 grant.

Q. Can you tell me a bit about this year’s Enactus competitions?
A. We are competing in a Northeastern regional competition in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday (March 29). It’s a 17-minute scripted presentation. It’s very fast and there’s an awful lot of information to explain what we do in the community. It’s one the five projects we’re involved in; Digitize is just one of them. (Another one is) Enclothe Oswego. We work with Zink Shirts, a local T-shirt company, and we drive business to Zink. They turn back a certain percentage of sales to our club as donations of clothing, which we can then give out to the community. We donated to the ARC this year. We raised about $1,000 in cash this year, too.

Q. What else do you do on campus?
A. I just got into Beta Alpha Psi, the accounting honor society. I got into Omicron Delta Kappa, the leadership honor society last semester. I’m also on the Student Economic Development Advisory Council—I represent the School of Business, and if a business wants to use the Startup-NY program to come on campus, they need to get approval, obviously. I’ve been able to review some really cool ideas, even from other countries that want to invest in Oswego. Ultimately, our decision gets passed on to President Stanley.

Q. What have your experiences been like with professors at Oswego?
A. It’s been great. They are very engaged and they’re enthusiastic about what they’re teaching. Last year, before I was even president, I began working with Susan Wright on a strategic plan for Enactus. The planning definitely helped me develop leadership skills. If you’re just in class with these professors, I don’t think you’re going to get the full experience—it’s out of school when you’re in your clubs and organizations, when they’re your adviser, or if you’re going to go in to their office hours.

Q. What do you think about your fellow students?
A. I think there are a lot of students on campus who want to get involved but they don’t know how. I think when they do find that opportunity, they flourish, they finally take all of what they’ve been learning in the classroom and apply it to their lives. In the business school, we do a lot of team projects, and it’s cool to meet new people and learn how they work.

Q. What do you like to do in your down time?
A. When I go back home, I like to ski and snowboard. I work at a ski shop. Tucker Sholtes shared his book list with me and I’ve actually created my own book list, so over the past year I’ve been accumulating tons of audio books and paper copies, too. I read books about leadership and motivation. I like to read about entrepreneurs, too.

Q. What can you tell us about your family and their influence on you?
A. My dad, Glenn, works for North American Breweries. He works a lot; I think that’s where I get my work ethic. My mom, Jacklyn, right now is retired but she worked in sales for a number of years. She works as a bartender for fun at night. She’s always running around. I have trouble sitting still, too, so I think that’s where I get that. Both of my parents are big factors in my wanting to push myself all the time. I have a sister, 18, thinking about coming to Oswego. My older sister just got into an NYU graduate program as a creative writer.