From Huron to Bowling Green and beyond: BGSU alumnus finds remarkable success in accounting career
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Ryan Cook '15, '16 credits University experience for professional growth
By Patrick Pfanner
Ryan Cook's '15, '16 journey with Bowling Green State University illustrates how students can capitalize on the best of both campuses — in Huron and Bowling Green — to leverage supportive faculty and resources to access a wide realm of opportunities that propel their careers.
Cook's journey started in August 2011 at the BGSU Firelands campus in Huron, Ohio, where he enrolled in the Business Administration program. His education continued as he transitioned to the Bowling Green campus, where he ultimately earned a Master of Accountancy in May 2016.
“I credit my career to BGSU because of how easy they made the entire recruiting process with career fairs and on-campus interviews," said Cook, who works in Toledo at Plante Moran — an accounting and business advisory firm that offers financial services in areas such as tax, audit, consulting and wealth management.
One of the key factors that drew Cook to BGSU Firelands was the exceptional quality of education it offered, all at an affordable cost. Raised in Bellevue, Ohio, the geographic proximity to BGSU Firelands was a boon as it allowed him to commute from home and tailor his class schedule to just two days a week. This flexibility provided him with the ideal conditions to manage his academic commitments alongside a part-time job.
“I was able to attend BGSU Firelands with many of my hometown friends, which made every day enjoyable,” Cook said. “Classes were challenging enough to learn something every day yet achievable to keep your motivation going.”
Cook faced his share of academic challenges, notably, the stress associated with exams and balancing a busy schedule. He fondly recalls the support he received from his professors during these times. He noted the faculty's open-door policy and their willingness to dedicate time to help students understand complex concepts significantly eased his academic journey.
"From the moment Ryan set foot on our campus, he made his passion for accounting very clear. His journey from student to accomplished professional is a testament to his hard work and the supportive environment offered at BGSU Firelands,” said Dr. Michelle Brodke, the Small Business Enterprise program coordinator within the Bachelor of Technical and Applied Studies. “We take pride in guiding our students toward fulfilling careers. We are immensely proud of our alumni like Ryan, who are thriving and making significant contributions to their respective industries."
Equipped with skills honed at BGSU, Cook started his professional career as a tax staff member, achieving the position of tax manager at Plante Moran in July 2021. Before that, his BGSU experience opened doors to an internship at Owens-Illinois, a Fortune 500 company, offering invaluable insights into the industry side of accounting.
The University introduced him to the intricacies of accounting through professors who have a wealth of practical experience. Furthermore, BGSU facilitated his entry into the workforce with a streamlined recruitment process, featuring career fairs and interviews.
Cook's time with BGSU fostered an immense respect for the faculty. He highlighted two instructors, Dr. Brodke at BGSU Firelands, and Dr. David Stott, the former BGSU Accounting Department chairperson.
“Dr. Brodke was really the first teacher I had a one-on-one meeting with regarding my future. We discussed my interests and dreams. She helped me focus on public accounting as a goal after undergrad, and I’ve been working happily in it for seven years.”
“Dr. Stott was a problem-solver and helped get things aligned whenever something caused a conflict with my class schedules, or if other random issues arose. If classes needed to line up a certain way for a part-time job or to make time on campus more efficient, he was always able to help make things work. It was a great relief getting that help.”
Cook accumulated an impressive academic record at BGSU, having achieved a 4.0 GPA throughout both his bachelor's and master's degrees. His dedication and excellence were further recognized when he was honored as the BGSU Outstanding Senior in Accounting by the Toledo Chapter of Financial Executives International.
Amid all the challenges and accolades, Cook cherishes the personal relationships cultivated at BGSU the most.
“The friends I made at BGSU have become lifelong friends,” Cook said. “It’s been great seeing them grow and have success in their own careers while building families. I still see many of them regularly, whether it’s on weekend trips, sporting events or holiday get-togethers."
Updated: 10/31/2023 09:05AM