MPAc accounting student Griffin Mitchell

Leadership in Accounting Starts with Collaboration and Networking
Build trust with your team and with all your professional relationships

In the accounting profession, teamwork is pervasive, and for good reason. The industry is constantly presented with challenges never seen before.

No one person has the answer to every question. As aspiring leaders in the industry, my classmates in the Master of Professional Accountancy program understand that, and we practice collaboration on a daily basis. We’ve discovered that we simply accomplish more when we work together.

Leadership in Accounting Starts with Collaboration and Networking

The MPAc faculty and staff have done an incredible job in selecting this class of students for the program. Because we come from a variety of backgrounds, we have been able to build more and more on each other’s strengths and enthusiasm throughout the year. Technical skills are important, but work ethic and a good attitude are always the most desirable traits in a candidate or a classmate. The results are seen in the quality and quantity of firms interested in hiring us. I have never seen anything like it. 

“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go with others.” – African proverb

The MPAc program has given me the necessary technical skills for a career in accounting, and it has taught me the importance of growing a network and becoming a leader.


I have always made an effort to use my own interpersonal skills to my advantage. So far they have not let me down.

“The strength of the team is each individual member. The strength of each member is the team.” – Phil Jackson, former Chicago Bulls coach

Here are three tips I’ve found helpful for leaving a positive impression on a potential employer, coworker or professor when building my professional network:

1. Don’t put all your eggs in one social media basket.

It is important to invest your time in building out a strong LinkedIn presence. But having more than 500 LinkedIn connections doesn’t mean you have a quality professional network. Instead, invest in real life relationships.

2. Your network starts with trust. MPAc accounting student Griffin Mitchell

Building meaningful connections in the classroom, at events and at work are all based on one thing: trust.

3. You can established trust two ways.

Emotional trust often comes first. People remember how you make them feel. Strong handshakes, eye contact and body language translate to empathy and trust. Simple questions show you care about the other person, such as: “How’s your day going? How did you come about working for ____ company? Is there anything I can do to help you?”

Rational trust is established by something very simple: consistency. Show up on time, email when you say you will and be accountable. With rational trust, your network will never let you down and you will become the go-to person in your group. Soon enough, you will be able to do amazing things for yourself and for others. 

“Coming together is a beginning, staying together is progress, and working together is success.” – Henry Ford

My parents taught me to treat everyone with equal respect. Consequently, I have been able to develop many lasting relationships that are very important to me. Relationships and connections should be important for anyone looking to hold a leadership position.

There is a leader inside all of us. It starts with being trustworthy, and it is perpetuated by meaningful relationships.