May 16, 2017
High school: Howell High School
Future: full-time position in The Dow Chemical Co.’s accounting department
Cameron Pratt didn’t need a math equation to discover his professional trajectory. But the math didn’t hurt.
The Howell native discovered his love for accounting during his sophomore year at Saginaw Valley State University, where he enrolled in an introduction to financial accounting course. He spent much of his remaining time at SVSU capitalizing on opportunities that empowered him to grow and take on new challenges.
After graduating from the institution in May 2017, Pratt’s dedication and hard work will pay off when he begins a full-time job working in the accounting department at The Dow Chemical Company in June.
“I found a purpose in the numbers of accounting that I couldn’t find in any other academic program,”
he said. “I fell in love with the business.”
Pratt accepted the job offer 10 months earlier, contingent on his graduation. The combination of factors leading to that opportunity included classroom studies, outside-of-classroom university organizations and a Dow internship Pratt discovered through SVSU’s Career Services.
Hired as an intern with Dow’s accounting department in the summer of 2016, Pratt spent much of his 3-month stint on a single project that involved collecting and analyzing data relating to a pricing policy that affected the company globally.
“I was using a (computer) system that only 11 people in the world knew how to use,” Pratt said. “It was a great opportunity.”
His complex analytics and thoughtful conclusions caught the attention of his employers.
“The rest is history,” said Pratt, who shortly thereafter was offered a full-time position that will begin June 12.
Pratt’s path to Dow started at SVSU with that introductory accounting class, and included one of the university’s competitive programs for business students: The Vitito Global Leadership Institute. The initiative develops leadership abilities for students enrolled in SVSU’s College of Business & Management, while exposing them to international business environments.
Kaustav Misra, an associate professor of economics and chair of the Vitito program, described Pratt as “dedicate, passionate and hard working.”
“He is definitely one of our best students in the college,” Misra said. “He is modest, respectful and has a very high level of people skills, which will definitely help him in the long run to grow as a leader. His sincerity, work ethic and team spirit are really commendable.”
Pratt was selected as one of 12 Vitito Fellows in the winter of 2016. The program heightened his understanding of international commerce while also providing him with a new network of friends.
“The Vitito Fellowship connected me with 11 amazing individuals who I still keep in close contact with,” he said. Recently, when a family member of a Vitito Fellow died, Pratt and others with the group attended the funeral and offered support.
“The camaraderie involved in that program is one of the big things I will remember fondly when I think of my experience at SVSU,” he said.
Pratt also spent time as a student tutor for accounting.
“When you work with students on that level, it helps you better understand the subject you’re teaching,” he said. “It instills confidence. It’s really fulfilling to work with people and help them in that way.”
Pratt said the experience as a mentor also exposed him to another role he one day could pursue: an accounting professorship.
“Something like that could be way down the road, but I feel like working as a tutor showed me that I could enjoy teaching the subject,” he said.
Pratt also served as president of the SVSU College of Business & Management’s Dean’s Student Advisory Council, exposing him to more opportunities to sharpen his leadership skills.
“It gave me confidence in myself that I could be a leader,” he said. “I had to be accountable for my actions and push people to reach their potentials. You’re never truly done learning how to lead, but that was a good start for me.”
Pratt defies the stereotype that accountants have no sense of humor. His varied interests led him to pursue another of SVSU's multifaceted opportunities. During his junior year, Pratt was a writer for an on-campus sketch comedy troupe called Cardinal Night Live, based in part on NBC’s Saturday Night Live program.
“That was a unique departure from my normal activities,” he said. “That really helped me broaden my horizons. It was a great experience.”
“A great experience” is the same phrase Pratt used when recalling — and running the numbers — on his years as an SVSU undergraduate.