Last-Minute Decision Launches Student’s New Career

Last-Minute Decision Launches Student’s New Career

Deena North, MActg '14, almost skipped the Careers in Banking and Wealth Management event this past January. But realizing that after graduation she likely wouldn't have the chance to network with representatives from so many organizations at a single event, she decided to attend.

That decision launched the soon-to-be-graduate of our Master of Accounting program into a new career with the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), a bureau of the United States Department of the Treasury. Here's how North—a nontraditional student with a daughter also attending the UO—arrived at this exciting opportunity.

UO Business: How did you find out about OCC and this opportunity?
After introducing myself and chatting with OCC recruiter at the Lundquist Career Services" Careers in Banking and Wealth Management event, I submitted my application online, took both an accounting and written test, had a phone interview, and finally, an in-person interview in Denver, Colorado. I came back to Eugene unsure of how I did because the interviewers were pretty poker-faced, but I didn't have to wait long before they called me with a job offer.

UO Business: What will your job with the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency entail?
I will begin as an assistant national bank examiner, working in the OCC's midsize and community bank supervision line of business. Some of my tasks will involve carrying out bank supervision procedures, checking bank compliance with laws and regulations, and recommending any necessary corrective actions.

After approximately five years of on-the-job training, I'll be eligible to take an exam to become a commissioned national bank examiner. People in this position act as the examiner-in-charge for entire bank examinations and often go on to specialize in such areas as asset management, bank information technology, international banking, and capital markets. There will be a ton for me to learn, but I am looking forward to the challenge.

UO Business: Do you mind telling our readers what your starting salary will be?
My starting salary will be $50,000, but OCC offers cost-of-living adjustments for various locations, so when I move to Denver, I'll get an 8 percent increase. The job entails a lot of travel—I will be away from home 50-70 percent of the time—but OCC makes sure their employees are home every weekend and they work a schedule that allows for every other Friday off. Of course, OCC also offers a full suite of great federal government benefits.

UO Business: You graduate this June with a master of accounting degree. Tell our readers a little bit about your journey to this accomplishment.
I began my career almost twenty years ago when I enlisted in the Navy, serving between the two Gulf Wars as a translator. Prior to joining the Navy, I studied Japanese and lived in Japan for a year. When I found out the Navy would send me to school to learn a foreign language—specifically Arabic—I jumped at the chance. My entire time in the Navy was spent stateside, with Fort Meade in Maryland being my final duty station. After the Navy, I spent the next years homeschooling my daughter in grades K through eight. After two years at Lane Community College, I transferred to the Lundquist College to finish my undergrad and graduate studies. It's been fun to finish up my degree at the University of Oregon because my daughter Kate is also studying here and is expected to graduate spring term 2016.

UO Business: Can you talk a bit about your Lundquist experience?
I had a great introduction to the college through taking a transfer seminar taught by Kim Rambo-Reinitz. I appreciated the incredible support I received from Lundquist faculty and Career Services professionals, especially Robin Clement and Jessica Best. They were so supportive and really taught me the skills I needed to be successful as I moved through each step of the job-search process. Lundquist students are so fortunate to have these resources. It made a tremendous difference in my ability to be successful in getting this job offer.

UO Business: Do you have advice for students about to embark on their own job searches?
First of all, take full advantage of the resources offered at the college—connect with Career Services, attend Career Services seminars and events, and participate in competitions and student clubs.

Secondly, I must say that students should try not to be discouraged by rejection, whether from a company for a job or an internship or from any other aspect of college life. It's hard at the time, but often that rejection puts you a step closer to where you are really supposed to be in your life. Not getting a job during fall recruiting ended up being a great outcome for me, as I ended up with a wonderful opportunity with OCC that is a much better fit.

UO Business: If students want to talk with you about your experiences, how can they contact you?
They can find me on LinkedIn or email me at I would be happy to hear from them.