John Veihmeyer, chairman and CEO of public accounting firm KPMG in the United States and across the Americas, sits inside at least two airplanes every day.
Typically, one plane is to meet with distinguished global clients, such as Jeff Immelt, CEO of General Electric, while the other plane often sets course to college campuses. Of the many college campuses that Veihmeyer visits, Penn State is one of “most important” schools to visit, he said.
“Penn State is a really important school to KPMG,” Veihmeyer said. “We hired more students from Penn State this year than any other university we recruited at.”
Even during his visits at college campuses, Veihmeyer is on the constant move. Veihmeyer began his trip to Penn State with a kickoff dinner at The Carnegie House with both Dean of the Smeal College of Business Chuck Whiteman and Dean of the College of Information Sciences and Technology David Hall, as well as distinguished faculty.
On Friday, Veihmeyer attended a 9 a.m. meeting with Professor Ken Pasch to record an instructional topical message to freshman and sophomore business students in an introduction to accounting class. At 10 a.m., Veihmeyer visited an auditing class that features senior students, who are part of the five-year integrated masters of accounting program.
Later, Veihmeyer sat down with Whiteman to present the Executive Insights Program in the business building’s atrium, which had an audience of more than 150 students and faculty.
“KPMG is one of our Smeal Corporate Associates, and they reached out to us for John to speak today and wanted to show their support and commitment with Penn State,” Meg Handly, director of Career and Corporate Connections, said.
During the presentation, Veihmeyer discussed his leadership role within KPMG and the culture he is currently trying to cultivate within the firm. Veihmeyer said he hopes to leave a legacy that will provide 22,000 employees with the opportunity to make an impact on the firm.
In addition, Veihmeyer emphasized the importance of ethics and integrity and how the daily ethical decisions that people come across distinguishes trust.
Veihmeyer also talked about being open to new career opportunities that one might not have planned for, adding that students should maintain an intellectual curiosity to truly understand the line of work they’re in.
Many students, like Michelle Couture, said Veihmeyer’s insight and advice was relatable.
“He gave a perspective of what a student should be like and it gave me a better view of what KPMG is looking for in students,” Couture (sophomore-finance) said.
Veihmeyer also sat down with Schreyer Honor scholars and Sapphire students, as well as members of the student accounting organizations for a roundtable discussion.
Veihmeyer reflected that the Penn State students he had met came across as “appropriately confident, articulate, outgoing and fun to talk with.”
Finally, Veihmeyer ended his day at Penn State with a 3 p.m. roundtable discussion with accounting, risk management and finance faculty members.
Though Veihmeyer is frequently engaged in meetings with numerous global clients and employees of KPMG, he believes that visiting college campuses are his “best days.”
“The best part of my job at KPMG is when I’m outside of the office and meeting with clients, students, faculty and employees,” he said.