Student Spotlight: Ben Harper
Ben Harper needed to further his education in order to stay relevant in the business environment.
“Having a bachelor’s degree in business, I was having a very difficult time finding work, and the jobs that I could find I was not passionate about,” he said. “I have always been good with numbers and problem-solving, and I was actually recruited for accounting by some of my professors during my undergrad, which I turned down.”
Before Harper and his now-wife left California, he applied to College of DuPage in order to take undergraduate accounting courses. This would allow him to enter Northern Illinois University’s Master of Accountancy program. However, before taking any classes, he was hired as a staff accountant at College of DuPage.
After working at COD for a year, Harper knew accounting was the right path to follow. It provided challenges and opportunity as well as hundreds of different industries and specialties. He began taking classes at COD in order to become CPA-eligible.
“Having gone through the Advanced Accounting certificate program, I can say with confidence that I could not have received better instruction,” he said. “My professors at COD were better in every aspect than those at my private, four-year institution. I am the kind of person who is always pursuing something. College of DuPage made it possible for me to work full-time, take classes in the evenings, and still receive a strong, balanced education.”
Using this coursework as a foundation, Harper passed all four parts of the CPA Exam on his first attempt. He most likely will pursue an MBA and, beyond that, is open to any and all opportunities that come his way.
Harper currently works for Sikich, a public accounting firm. He cannot say enough about the faculty, the curriculum and the value of College of DuPage’s Accounting program.
“You will not find a better group of faculty members. Not only are they talented, but they will challenge you to be better. I would recommend taking on-campus classes if possible, as it allows your professors to invest in you,” he said. “At a fraction of the cost of other options, you can receive a quality education that can lead to a successful career without significant debt. For accounting students specifically, the Advanced Accounting program will prepare you for the CPA Exam. Don’t get me wrong – I still studied hundreds of hours for the exam itself. But a strong foundation will give you a leg-up on the competition.
“As with anything in life, you will get out of the Advanced Accounting program what you put into it. The tools are all there. I followed a non-traditional path but was able to accomplish my goal and will soon be a licensed CPA. I couldn’t be happier with where I am today, with a lot of thanks to hard work and College of DuPage.”
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