News & Stories

James Hancock
February 25, 2021

Accounting major finds the secret to success through hands-on learning

James Hancock ’21 knew exactly what he wanted in a college — a warm community with plenty of opportunities to gain real-world experience. “After getting the chance to visit Berry, I fell in love with the community feeling of the campus. Everybody at Berry is so kind and caring. Also, the LifeWorks program at Berry had a huge impact on me coming here because I knew how awesome it would be to get real work experience while still in school.”

James sought out campus positions that allowed him to apply concepts learned in the Campbell School of Business. “In my first LifeWorks job, I worked in customer service in financial aid where I learned to stay calm under pressure, find solutions and work in a deliberate manner,” he says.

With a knack for numbers and a reputation for grace under pressure, James took on increasing responsibility as the accounting team director of Berry Student Enterprises (15 on-campus businesses operated by students with annualized revenues of almost $300,000). “I supervise five accountants who track the books for respective enterprises,” he says. “It took me out of my comfort zone to be the leader who is ultimately responsible. Working with people in different majors and with a variety of personalities builds people skills.”

When Berry Student Enterprises took over the campus store's management, James played a strategic role in the transition. He implemented the point-of-sale system to track inventory and sales and set up the e-commerce platform.

Placed in the Office of Enrollment Management as the student budget manager, James put his accounting skills to the test, overseeing budget tracking for six departments. He forged a strong working relationship with the department’s project manager, Alisa Elmore. “James’ ability to jump in and manage our budgets without much direction was a blessing,” she says. “Our budget reporting and tracking were in much need of a makeover. He applied his knowledge and made suggestions that help us monitor our budgets more effectively.”

With graduation close at hand, James has options. Even as he weighs decisions about graduate school — including offers from the University of Georgia and the University of Alabama — accounting firms are recruiting him. He has also interviewed for several internships. “Before coming to Berry, I lacked hands-on experience related to accounting,” James says. “Now I have much more experience and expertise in my career field. Because of my growth at Berry, I am destined for future success in achieving my long-term goal of being a certified public accountant in a regional accounting firm.”

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