Blog Archive

Monday, June 30, 2014

Interview with Minneapolis Office Managing Partner, Mike Nelson

Learn more about McGladrey's Minneapolis office from our interview with Office Managing Partner, Mike Nelson.

What is the makeup of the Minneapolis office?
McGladrey Plaza
Minneapolis has assurance, tax and consulting professionals; all three Lines of Business. We are a hub for consulting, serving the needs of a large portion of our Central Region. Our size gives us the ability to specialize both functionally and with respect to industry, which is valuable to our clients. For example, we have many International Tax specialists, Business Valuation Specialists and strong industry groups. Also unique to the Minneapolis office is the large amount of firm wide employees that sit here including HR, IT, Marketing, and Learning & Professional Development. We are also the only office where the building we sit in is named after McGladrey (McGladrey Plaza).

How long have you been with the firm? How did your career with McGladrey begin? 
I’ve been with McGladrey for 32 years. I came to the firm for a specialized tax opportunity and have since had a variety of opportunities in State & Local Tax and Estate & Gift Planning among others. I’ve also had the opportunity to work in McGladrey offices in Stillwater, MN and St. Paul, MN, both of which merged into the Minneapolis office several years ago.

What makes the Minneapolis office unique?
Minneapolis St. Paul MSA is pretty unique. There are many Fortune 500 companies here – we are #2 per capita for Fortune 500 company headquarters and 330 of the Fortune 500 have operations here. There is a very robust culture here – Minneapolis is above the National average in education, income, and health; we have all four major sports teams; the most theater seats per capita outside of NYC; and of course many outdoor activity opportunities. We are also in the heart of McGladrey country. We’re well recognized in this market and our office here is larger than some of the Big 4 Firms’ Minneapolis offices. We have a broad diversity of clients in many industries.  

What do you think was the best event the Minneapolis office held over the last year?
Our annual Halloween party. It’s a chance to be someone else. And it’s also fun to get a reaction out of people. We have a big Halloween party every year at the Minneapolis office which includes a costume contest. (Mike was Obi Wan Kenobi in 2013)

What are you looking forward to at McGladrey and in Minneapolis?
I’m looking forward to growing, and working hard to find great people to grow with us. Minnesota’s population grows less than 1% each year and with baby boomers retiring, we can’t find people fast enough. I’m also looking forward to our Friends of McGladrey golf outing in September. Chris DiMarco is attending and this will be a great event for clients and other “Friends.” And I’m looking forward to Halloween, of course. 

What are the biggest growth opportunities in Minneapolis?
Consulting and especially IT Consulting is basically on fire. Target’s headquarters is right across the street from us in Minneapolis, and what happened with them has a lot of people concerned. Additionally, companies are going to the cloud and looking at different IT solutions. Tax is really poised to grow too because of increases in tax rates at the federal and Minnesota state levels. These are big expenses for companies and we can help control that, which brings a lot of value to our clients. 

Why should someone join the McGladrey team?
Join the McGladrey team if you like the people and like the clients. If you want to work with middle market clients this is the best firm to be at. 

How can someone get to know McGladrey better?
Talk to any of our people to get to know us better. If you are a student, look at internships and our Pathways (externship) Program. When we are on campus, we visit with accounting clubs – join those clubs and meet us!

How does the Minneapolis office use flexibility?
We have a very flexible environment here. Many of our consultants are only in the office a couple days a month. Even when they are not at a client site, they may work from home or from their car. A recent change in our tax software has allowed our Tax team to work more flexibly too. I like to say, “I don’t care when you get your work done, just get it done.” Whether you like to get started at 6am like me or work best at 10pm at home. Email and IM make it easy to stay in touch. And using the old fashioned phone every now and then! Flexibility works great. 

What advice do you have for someone in our industry to own their career?
My advice is to seek out variety in what you do and be open to accepting different challenges. Be open to exploring new technical skills and also new business opportunities. Variety will give you a good background for any future. Every once in a while you have a take a risk. McGladrey has lots of opportunities to do something boldly different, like a secondment to Germany or Australia!

View all Minneapolis job openings here:

Monday, June 23, 2014

If you don't Own Your Future... Who Will?

By Ken Bansemer
National Talent Acquisition & Talent Management Leader
Denver, CO

When presenting to an audience, one of the best ways to capture attention and help others retain information is to tell stories. Using a single image that your audience can relate to, and then weave a good tale around it can help you avoid “death by PowerPoint.”  

I was fortunate to be able to speak to a group of students recently, and share through stories, some guiding principles around Owning Your Future and career success. The stated agenda for my time with the group was as follows:

· Kindergarten
· School Buses
· Sports
· Beer
· Facebook
· Risk and The Game of Life

Since nearly everyone can relate to one or more of these topics – we were off and running! While the stories were fun to share and allowed for audience engagement, they don’t translate as well in a written format. However, the principles for Owning Your Future are what I hope the group retained and will be able to apply as they begin their careers.

· Basics go a long way – remember what you learned in kindergarten. Treat others with respect. Say hello, please, thank you. Ask how their day or weekend was. Be prompt. Be responsive. Have a positive attitude. And live by your core values – don’t change who you are for the sake of your organization. When you think about sending of your child for their first day of school, what attributes do you want your child to display? Chances are you already know – you learned it years ago when you went to kindergarten. 

· Back of the bus principle – find ways to be seen and to direct your own career, rather than being driven around by others, possibly in the wrong direction. At the front of the bus you can see what’s coming and discuss where you are going. At the back of the bus, you only see what’s passed you by, and more often than not will find yourself saying “what did I miss?”

· Become the crowd favorite - Bring your unique skills, characteristics and personality to work each day – be the genuine you that makes you the right person to go to in a crunch. Like a player coming off the bench for a sports team, a bit of hustle, an inquisitive nature, a yes attitude, being open to feedback, and a willingness to pitch in when needed to help your team succeed will go a long way to becoming the crowd favorite.

· Work for the high moments – Very few people can remember what they have done on specific days of a given month or year. But they do remember key moments that produced an outstanding outcome. While navigating a long career, where energy and focus can peak and wane, you aren’t always going to like what you do. Rather than react in the moment and make snap decisions, keep your eye on the long term, because a special moment may be just around the corner. In the meantime, draw upon past experiences to carry you through until that time. Those moments become the stories you will tell others. 

· Put yourself in the game – to have a successful career, you have to rely on good preparation and a bit of luck. This means taking appropriate Risks that will put you in control of your destiny. And if you intend to win in the Game of Life, you have to play the game hard and play it well. You may have detours and setbacks, and you may not always succeed, but at least you know you tried by putting yourself in the game to begin with.

 In the end, you need to Own Your Future. If you don’t, who will?

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Working abroad in the Cayman Islands

By Melissa K. Barker
Assurance Senior
Phoenix, AZ

In January 2014, an email came into my Outlook requesting the assistance of two McGladrey seniors in the RSM Cayman office for a two and a half month period over the upcoming summer. As soon as I read the email, I jumped at the opportunity. I applied and found out within a couple weeks that I had been selected for one of the positions. I could not have been more ecstatic. 

I am now 6 weeks into my secondment with RSM Cayman and I can confidently say it has exceeded all of my expectations. To start with, since I joined McGladrey about 4 years ago my background has been primarily in the healthcare industry. However, my experience with RSM Cayman thus far has been entirely within the insurance industry. The first few weeks were a bit of a struggle. It reminded me of how it felt to be a first year staff! Now that I’ve gotten the hang of things, I’ve begun to really appreciate how much learning a new industry broadens your perspective on auditing overall. 

Melissa swimming with sting rays
And while the RSM Cayman office has had no trouble keeping me busy, one of the obvious benefits of a secondment like this is to get to experience the sights and culture of a different country. Some of the highlights I’ve experienced while not in the office include swimming with stingrays, yacht excursions along both the west and east coasts of the island, holding baby sea turtles at the Cayman turtle farm, parasailing and stand up paddle boarding. I’m also an avid runner and my daily runs along the beach just outside my condo have been an incredible perk! 

The culture in Grand Cayman has also made this experience incredibly unique. While I didn’t know this prior to coming to the island, there is a huge population of expats from all around the globe. As a result, the culture in Cayman is incredibly welcoming and friendly. I have made friends from all around the world that I will undoubtedly stay in touch with when I leave. I feel especially fortunate for this aspect of my secondment. 

As for the remaining month I have on the island, I have plenty planned to fill up any free time I get. In just a week, I have a weekend trip to Honduras planned with my fellow McGladrey secondee (Kelli Hall from the Kansas City office) and one of the managers from the RSM Cayman office. We have white water rafting and zip lining on the agenda once we arrive. Another item on my to-do list is to get my diving certification, as Grand Cayman is known for its world class diving. I cannot express enough how much I have gained from this experience, both professionally and personally. I would recommend a secondment to anyone! You won’t regret it!