(June 15, 2015)

Rising senior looks forward to future with Professional Success

SHREVEPORT, LA — The next year looks very busy but extremely favorable for rising senior Justin Cueto. The business administration major, Gents Basketball guard, Phi Beta Lambda Vice President, and Student Athlete Advisory Committee Vice President has his next few months lined up with internships and his eyes set on someday becoming a CFO for a publicly traded company.

Justin Cueto
Justin Cueto '16

"However, the road there is quite a journey," says Cueto. "For me, that journey includes attending graduate school to earn a masters in accounting degree, beginning my career at a public accounting firm, passing the CPA Exam, and eventually getting an MBA after I gain work experience."

But Cueto is clearly off to a great start as this past school year he interned at Pel State Services, located in Shreveport, for nearly eight months. He worked directly under the Controller of Pel State affording him the opportunity to work on meaningful projects like preparing and analyzing weekly profit/loss reports, presenting results to senior management, and reporting completed analysis spreadsheets, projects, and reports directly to the Controller.

"The most beneficial experience I gained while interning at Pel State was being able to learn from and work directly with the Controller of the company, who has 20+ years of accounting experience," said Cueto.

Part of Cueto's success at getting ahead comes from working alongside Director of Professional Success Rachael Peters. As the woman behind the Office of Professional Success, Peters helps students just like Cueto achieve their goals while still at Centenary and beyond.

"Juniors can expect our office to review their professional marketing materials such as their résumé, cover letter, and LinkedIn site to prepare them for networking opportunities and applying for internships," said Peters. "With seniors, we focus more on ensuring they have the skills to make the connections that will ultimately secure them a place in graduate or professional school or employment."

Peters recognizes that much of Cueto's momentum comes from being proactive and intentional in developing his professional story. He sought assistance with his résumé and cover letter early on and began reaching out and connecting to employers a year prior to seeking opportunities. She also notes he practiced the advice from her office and was quick to implement and apply it to his internship search.

Justin Cueto
#12 Justin Cueto with the Gents Basketball Team

Ceuto agrees that Peters's expertise ultimately helped him stand out to recruiters, specifically at the ALPFA (Association of Latino Professionals in Finance and Accounting) Career Fair in Dallas last March where professionals were impressed with his materials.

"Rachael also guided me on professional attire and dining etiquette, which was particularly helpful when I had lunch with one of my interviewers," said Cueto.

Centenary alumni connections have also been helpful throughout Cueto's internship and future opportunity search. This next school year, Cueto will intern at James, Hardy, & Haley, one of Shreveport's leading CPA firms. Alumna Venera Haley '11 was Cueto's initial contact at the firm.

"I think Venera personally recognized how Centenary has prepared me to excel within the accounting field," said Cueto. "I am really excited to get started at JHH since it is a public accounting firm, which is the same industry in which I plan to launch my career after grad school. Although it is difficult to balance a full class load, college basketball, leadership positions on campus, and an internship, I believe it will be worth it in the long run. The relevant work experience really stands out to employers, as it indicates outstanding time management skills."

For more information about the Office of Professional Success visit centenary.edu/success or call Rachael Peters M.S., PHR, SHRM-CP at 318.869.5208.