“Many people would not think a veteran would want to be an accountant,” says Kyle Pruis ’21, who will soon join the audit staff at Ernst & Young, one of the “Big Four” accounting companies in the United States.
“The college classes are difficult,” explains Pruis. “I had to obtain 150 credit hours to be eligible for the CPA exams, but it is something that interests me greatly! All company’s need accounting. It is the language of business.”
Pruis served four years in the Marines before coming to Chapman, where he helped establish the Veteran’s Business Club in the Argyros School of Business and Economics. We asked him about his time at Chapman, and his advice for other veterans attending the university.
Who was the most influential person for you at Chapman? Why?
Gabbie Castaneda. Prior to transferring, I was at Irvine Valley College and my counselor there told me, “You are transferring in as a junior you need to hit the ground running.” Gabbie helped me with resumes, cover letters, accounting society and more. The career center at Chapman is amazing.
If you could go back in time and experience one moment again from your time at Chapman, what would it be? Is there anything that you would do differently?
Most of my school was virtual but I really enjoyed starting the Veterans Business Club with Abdul Kahn ’22, and finding awesome influential speakers for our events, such as a retired marine colonel who flew the Marine One helicopter for four years while Bush and Obama were in office.
What do you wish you knew at the time of your graduation that you know now? What advice can you give to the students and/or recent graduates of today?
Do not be afraid to approach non-veterans for advice; be humble and open to any advice these students have. They may know about a speaker event you may be interested in, an alum who works at your dream company, and more.
How did Chapman prepare you for your career? For life? How did your experience prepare you for the real world?
The accounting classes were very difficult but the professors such as Lacy Willis and Hank Adler invested so much into mine — and all accounting students’ — learning. I feel prepared for whatever work lies ahead.
Were there any major societal issues in our country/world that you recognized or faced as a young college student? What was your perspective or how did you get involved?
Being in the military as I got older made me very appreciative of what I have. So many fellow Marines joined to get away from horrible lives. You truly never know what is going on in someone’s life. Simply be a good person.
Do you have any other words of wisdom for students and new grads of Chapman University?
Do not be afraid to reach out to an alum on LinkedIn. Ask a recruiter if any veterans work [at their company] and see if you can set up a call with them. We love to help one another.