Patrick Beebe (BSBA ’09) and Ian Schmitt (BSBA ’12)

Graduation day brings about a counteracting sense of pride and discomfort for many students — relief and self-confidence are high, but a fear of the unknown hides below the surface.

To mitigate the fear, some graduates take bold risks, but others respond to these uncertainties by securing a stable job at a larger company, typically one that can help eliminate debt and offer a wealth of learning opportunities. Many who sign up for employment at these prestigious firms find a fit there.

After graduating from Fisher, Honors Cohort alumni Patrick Beebe (BSBA ’09) and Ian Schmitt (BSBA ’12) were among that latter group — both accepting positions at professional services firms, Deloitte and Accenture respectively.

Their post-graduate stories, however, highlight the power of embracing new challenges and pushing to understand oneself in the search for the right career path.

Patrick Beebe (BSBA ’09) pictured on the right
Honors Cohort alumni and CFO of Face Forward Aesthetics Patrick Beebe (BSBA ’09) (far right) embraces former Cardinal Health mentors.

Beebe, a member of the 11th Cohort, graduated from Fisher with a degree in accounting and spent four years in Deloitte’s Columbus office. He earned his CPA and collaborated with a variety of clients during his time in the company’s audit practice division, including massive corporations as well as smaller, privately-held firms.

“The transition to the workforce was a huge adjustment. I was heavily involved at Fisher but had to brace myself for starting over again,” he said.

Beebe was grateful for the experience, appreciative of the exposure to different industries he received at Deloitte, but he was itching to gain a new skillset. That was when health care services company Cardinal Health (Cardinal) reached out on LinkedIn, offering him a chance to delve into the mergers and acquisitions (M&A) space.

Knowing that Cardinal presented a more hands-on experience he craved, leaving Deloitte was the logical choice.

“Cardinal had a track record of growing through M&A, and I knew that I would be able to see the life of a deal more closely there,” said Beebe.

While resigning for the first time was not easy, quick connections he made at Cardinal helped assuage his concerns. “My interviewer and I chatted for three hours,” he said. “I could tell how much the company cared about my growth just by how much time they spent with me and by the types of questions they were asking.”

At Cardinal, he worked with startups and developed an interest in that arena.

“I felt that I had a sense for what running an earlier stage company might look like and I wanted to try my hand at it,” says Beebe.

A peer had recently founded an aesthetics company and approached Beebe with an offer to become its CFO. Beebe found himself in a familiar situation – the idea of resigning made sense, but executing would be a challenge.

“I asked myself, ‘You can always stay at Cardinal longer and learn more, but is this what I want to be learning?’” he said. “I knew that joining a startup fit into my broader plan, and I made sure that my peers and mentors at Cardinal understood that.”

Beebe is now in his third year as CFO at Face Forward Aesthetics.

Ian Schmitt (BSBA ’12)
Honors Cohort alumnus Ian Schmitt (BSBA ’12) is a Program Executive at Olive.

Schmitt, a member of the 14th Cohort, graduated from Fisher with a degree in accounting and spent three years at Accenture in Columbus. At Accenture, he worked in branch technology and application delivery for Chase Bank.

Chase asked him to join their team full-time. Considering he admired the manager he would be working for at Chase, he did not have trouble making that decision.

Chase allowed Schmitt to find a healthy work-life balance, and his free time provided more opportunity to explore his passions and examine his job from a new angle.

“The role was niche,” Schmitt said. “As Chase’s priorities changed, I needed to move on to remain challenged. I wanted to see what I could do in a different environment, but I knew what I was doing at Chase, and I had such a great relationship with my manager.”

Schmitt had yet to look around when he was introduced to someone at Klarna, a Swedish-based payments company. It had an office in Columbus and was expanding into the United States.

“I felt confident in my relationships at Chase, but knew that if I did not take the leap then, I might never have,” he said.

Only five months into working for Klarna, Schmitt learned the company had hired someone else to do his work in its Stockholm office. His determination to find the right startup did not waver.

“I was encouraged knowing that I now had startup experience,” he said. “With my chips remaining, I decided to bet on myself again.”

This time he drove the search. Although evaluating a startup’s financials can help eliminate some of the risk, Schmitt knew that he had to prioritize culture — he had never had coworkers his age, going through similar career challenges.

At Olive, a Columbus-based healthcare software startup, he found a role similar to his at Accenture. He was motivated by the company’s service and felt comfortable with those he interviewed with. Today, Schmitt is a program executive at Olive. In two-and-a-half years, he has taken on four roles at the startup.

Both Beebe and Schmitt took several chances before finding the companies, roles and peers they felt a strong connection with.

“Business schools prioritize good jobs at good companies,” Schmitt said. “I would not be in the place I am today if I had tried to go to a startup right out of college. But, when your love for learning is not being satisfied anymore, that is the sign that taking a risk might be worth it.”

Honors Cohort gave Beebe and Schmitt key tools needed to navigate the unpredictability of winding career paths: the ability to connect with others and communicate effectively.

“Things are complex. In Cohort, we always had great classmates and professors that helped promote thought,” Beebe said.

Early exposure to business and case studies translated into an ability to diagnose financial statements and their own career trajectories.

“As the CFO of a small company, I have reached out to Cohort peers who are experiencing the same new challenges,” Beebe said. “We debate each other’s approaches.”

Added Schmitt: “We learned how to lean on others in Cohort. The program provided me with the professional sophistication I needed to get where I wanted to go.”