Unsure of what major to declare when he started at Post University back in 1994, Daniel Kusaila was encouraged by his father to pursue a degree in accounting.
That encouragement was all that Kusaila needed. Today, he is a tax partner for Crowe LLP, one of the largest public accounting, consulting and technology firms in the United States.
The accounting profession is often described as the language of business. “I initially debated going to school for business, but with a degree in accounting, I also received knowledge of the business world,” explained Kusaila, a 1999 alumnus of the University’s Malcom Baldrige School of Business.
Perhaps more than the challenge of managing an array of accounting projects, Kusaila relishes his role as someone who helps people. This alum, inducted into the University’s Hall of Fame in 2015, has been making a difference to Post University students since 2006 when he initiated an internship program, which turned into successful accounting careers for dozens of Post students. Kusaila is also a member of the Accounting Advisory Board, which reviews current program offerings to make sure they are up to date for both undergraduate and graduate programs. In addition, members on this board assist with developing new programs and serve as ambassadors who provide connections to an ongoing exchange of information and ideas with members of a broader society.
With his bachelor of science in accounting, Kusaila began working at Deloitte in 2000, one of the largest accounting firms in the world. Desiring a chance to grow in his career, Kusaila accepted a job with a smaller firm, Saslow Lufkin & Buggy (SLB) as a staff accountant in 2005 . Beginning as a small firm of eight employees, Kusaila helped grow the firm to over 100 people. In 2015, Crowe merged with SLB.
The internships that Kusaila started with Post grew from a simple need – more accountants. Kusaila knew that if SLB were to grow, he would need extra staff. “I needed talent, and my first thought was to go back to my school,” Kusaila said with pride.
Kusaila met with one of his Post University accounting professors, who loved the idea of adding an internship program. Each year since 2006, Crowe has had one or two accounting majors from Post complete the internship. In order to achieve the top students from the program, Post faculty members consult with one another to determine which students should go for the interview.
“The faculty members at Post truly know their students. I know firsthand from when I was a student there. We work together with the faculty to decide the best candidate for the internship position. We even get the opportunity to meet these students throughout the year at different campus activities,” said Kusaila.
Each year, Crowe awards a $1,500 scholarship to a Post accounting major, which is also chosen by the faculty.
Kusaila shares how the internship program is invaluable for students who plan to pursue a career in accounting. “Our interns work alongside the staff,” he said. “They are given a client list. They work on the same tasks, have the same responsibilities and attend the same meetings. Therefore, they are more than prepared to take on a full-time position once the internship ends,” said Kusaila.
Program Chair of Accounting Richard Dumont expresses his appreciation and respect for Kusaila,
“I’ve worked with Dan Kusaila for a dozen years and during that time I have grown increasingly in awe of the work environment he has created at the Crowe LLP Simsbury Connecticut offices. He is one of those rare people who are technically proficient, a good administrator and a leader. Several of our students have been employed by him and have grown under his tutelage. He’s a great friend and supporter of the Post University Accounting Department. My hat is off to him.”
Kusaila discloses that about 95 percent of students at Post who have had an internship with Crowe were offered a full-time job after graduating. In addition to benefiting their career path, an internship benefits the students’ experiences in the classroom as well, explains Kusaila. “Having hands-on experience in the field can allow students to relate the content within their courses to reality through their own personal xperiences.”
There are currently eight Post alumni working at Crowe, and two more will be joining this upcoming fall.
The University’s 2020 Valedictorian Brianna Rotunno began her internship with Crowe during her senior year and will be starting her full-time position there this upcoming fall. Within her valedictorian speech, she shares, “The small size of the University allowed me to develop close relationships and connections with my professors that have proved to be highly beneficial in establishing my career. One such relationship with former Professor Noelle Taddei actually enabled me to secure a job prior to the start of my senior year. Professor Taddei provided me with endless guidance, support, and advice and she worked rigorously with me to ensure that my resume and interviewing skills were impeccable.”
Another 2020 Post Alumnus, Jacob “Jake” Custer, completed his internship with Crowe during his junior year. He, too, will be starting his career with Crowe this fall. On a WATR interview in 2019, Custer shared, “During my internship with Crowe, I was working on insurance tax, and I was surrounded by Post alumni.”
The career opportunity that often succeeds the internship can eventually lead into higher positions in the company as well. Crowe Manager Alicia Miller is a 2013 Post alumna. She completed her internship during her senior year at the University and then immediately transitioned into a full-time job after graduating.
“The internship was presented to me in an unexpected manner, as my professor coordinated without my knowledge. I was nervous to accept based on how busy I was, but Professor Taddei was able to adjust my schedule and make it work. I would not be working at Crowe today if it were not for the support of my professors at Post and the option for this internship.”
Not only did the internship land Miller a job in 2013, but also after seven years, she is now a manager at the firm.
Crowe continues to expand its network, now consisting of over 200 independent accounting and advisory services in over 130 countries. Therefore, the opportunities for students who complete the internship program and achieve a job with Crowe also continue to expand.
Post Alumni that are working for or will be working for CROWE