Hometown: Durham, Connecticut
Major: Accounting (minors in Economics, Mandarin)
Placement: CPA Development Program at John Hancock, Boston
Tom Linden’s academic and internship experiences had clearly impressed recruiters at John Hancock, the financial services leader based in Boston. But as part of the interview process for a position in the company’s accounting division, they wanted to see another side of him. So they asked him to perform a skit.
Linden, an accounting major who also earned All-American honors as a Stonehill football player, hadn’t expected this. He knew they would want to hear about his internship experiences with a Connecticut aerospace company and Boston hedge fund along with his coursework in Beijing. He was even prepared to demonstrate his fluency in Mandarin, one of his two minors (economics is the other). But improv acting?
Yet there he was, in Hancock’s sleek new offices in the Seaport District with a small group of other promising accountants, being asked to collaborate on a skit about the company and the role of its CPA development program, which he hoped to join.
He nailed it. And did it with a daring twist that demonstrated bold imagination.
“My idea was to basically resurrect John Hancock from the dead,” he says with a laugh. After he and his team “reanimated” the founding father, they acted out a guided tour of modern-day John Hancock, explaining what the company does and the key role accountants play.
“We ended up pulling it off really well,” says Tom, who will now graduate knowing he starts at John Hancock in June. “A lot of people liked it and still talk about it.”
As for the skit’s inspiration, he credits his liberal arts experiences. “They really make you think outside the box,” he says of courses that included religious studies, history and literature. “It’s helpful for a business major because you’re forced to think creatively.”
Tom, who also had offers from two other major accounting firms, says there were a number of other Stonehill experiences that helped him succeed. In addition to the benefits gained through a business program accredited by the prestigious Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB International), he points to the internship and job-search guidance he got from the College’s Career Services Office and the mentoring he received from professors, singling out his Mandarin professor, Ming Owen, as a particularly important influence and “lifeline.”
He says it also helped that Stonehill’s athletic program puts success in the classroom on par with success on the field. “And that’s not just in season,” he says. “That’s throughout the entire year.”
“I’m extremely thankful for the numerous skills I learned during my time at Stonehill,” Tom says. “Without a doubt, those skills had a profound effect on my ability to make the most of any opportunity I could get my hands on.”