Nothing to Lose – Meet Grant Hilsenrath

grant
Reposted with permission from the UAlbany Students Facebook Page.
“The perfect word to describe me as a freshman was “naïve.” I went to Jewish day school my entire life, so I grew up around people who were like me, who came from the same or very similar backgrounds. The University at Albany, SUNY prides itself on diversity, and having people of different colors, creeds, shapes, sizes, religions, ethnicities, etc. So coming here, I was naïve in the sense that I was close-minded in what I knew and believed in. Where in the past I would only be part of Jewish organizations, freshman year I joined clubs and the Pitch Please acapella group where I was the only type of person who was like me. It was very different. I lived with people and went to class with people who weren’t like me. I wasn’t naïve to the point where I didn’t know these things existed, but I just never experienced it.

I grew up in Brooklyn, and my dad used to say, “Grant, people are people.” My dad is in business with people who are Pakistani, Iranian, Iraqi, Afghan, Jewish, every type of people who you would think would be enemies. The kind of things that he’s shown me is that there’s differences in everyone. Whether you agree with them or not, at the end of the day, everyone lives and everyone’s gonna die. When you’re alive, respect the people that you’re living with. You don’t have to agree with them, but respect them. I read the news, I watch the election cycle, with such hatred coming from every side. There is a basic amount of respect that people need to show each other. And watching how that isn’t shown is making me grow and say “I do not want to be that.” I see my dad as my real role model of how to orient myself in this world and how to be an overall decent human being.There’s always a goal in business. So social agendas shouldn’t come into it. That’s how I plan on leading my life. There shouldn’t be any social agenda that leads to fighting coming into my business deals. It’s about simple, respectful discourse in a business world.

My long term plan is to just keep growing and working my way up as far as I can possibly go, and to continually learn from different people. If the opportunity shows itself where I could do what I love, which is music, and combine that with the business world, then that’s the ultimate goal. Accounting came naturally when I took it Sophomore year, so I decided to stick with it. There’s a strong ceiling that you hit if you’re not certified, so next semester I plan on beginning studying for the CPA exam. Once I have that foundation, I can do almost anything in business with a CPA. I’m going to work for a year or two, then go into an MBA program.

I get all the Handshake emails and saw a mid-sized accounting firm looking for a full time employee for the next year. It didn’t require a cover letter, and I hate writing cover letters, so I plugged in my resume, and a few days later I got a response. I met them at the UAlbany Career and Professional Development Career Fair, went to the informational, had a few interviews here and in the city, and then I got the job. I graduate in May, and the job begins next November. I signed up for Handshake last year because I was looking for an internship. I didn’t really think anything would happen with it, but I usually go with the mentality, “What do I have to lose?” If I have nothing to lose, then why not?”

Grant Hilsenrath
Majors: Accounting and Music
Hometown: Woodmere, New York
Year: Senior

Photo by Naomi McPeters

— at University at Albany, SUNY.

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