Photo caption: Wyatt Anklam is graduating this month with accounting and business finance degrees, but he already is making the transition from college to the workforce by living and working in Minnesota. The Wausau native is finishing his classes at UW-Eau Claire online and preparing to take the certified public accountant exam. (Submitted photo)
Thanks to the connections he’s made and the opportunities he’s found at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, Wyatt Anklam knows he’s well prepared to make the most of his future career and life.
Anklam is graduating this month with accounting and business finance degrees, but he already is making the transition from college to the workforce by living and working in Minnesota. The Wausau native is finishing his classes at UW-Eau Claire online and preparing to take the certified public accountant exam. He also is working part time at the public accounting firm Boulay in Eden Prairie, Minnesota, where he will work full time after he graduates.
Anklam says the key to his success in college was getting involved and building connections.
“My internships and student leadership positions gave me experiences that classrooms cannot teach,” Anklam says. “I loved that UWEC was enthusiastic about encouraging students to get involved in campus orgs and community jobs. I believe that they are essential to becoming a successful student and making connections that will last forever.”
He served on the executive board of the Student Accounting Society for four years, an experience he says was a great outside-the-classroom learning experience that helped him develop his soft skills and technical skills.
While he came to UW-Eau Claire knowing he wanted to study accounting, it was his involvement in SAS that helped him “narrow it down to becoming an auditor in public accounting,” Anklam says. Through the student organization, he learned about potential career paths and began building professional connections, he says.
“They had panels come to speak and we worked closely with upperclassmen and alumni,” Anklam says. “The opportunity to be a peer tutor in this group was especially helpful since teaching the material is an exceptional way to practice it.”
He credits Dr. William Miller, a professor accounting and finance, with convincing him that accounting really was the right path for him and for offering him guidance as he considered his career options.
Anklam also worked closely with DeeAnne Peterson-Meyer, a senior lecturer in accounting and finance, as he and other students helped run the Accounting Tutor Lab, an experience that helped prepare him for internships.
At UW-Eau Claire, Anklam was among the students selected for a highly competitive internship program with the UW-Eau Claire Small Business Development Center, an organization that helps entrepreneurs succeed by offering no-cost, confidential consulting and business education. The SBDC selects a team of student consultants to work with area businesses. Anklam says earning a place on the consulting team helped him gain many skills that will be valuable as he begins his professional career.
The SBDC was his most “meaningful internship,” Anklam says, noting that he “loved the connections” he made there.
“This internship helped me apply and understand everything that I learned in my accounting classes and more,” Anklam says “I loved this role because I got to see the difference I made in the community. Community members would come in because they were looking to start or expand their dreams of a small business. We made that a reality by helping them obtain grants and loans.”
The University Honors program also played an important role in Anklam’s college experience. He values the connections he made during the discussion-based Honors courses.
He enjoyed being “challenged and involved” in his Honors courses, Anklam says. For example, he especially liked a sustainability Honors course taught by Dr. James Boulter, professor of public health and environmental studies and chemistry. The sustainability course was an opportunity for him to “connect to the campus in a unique way” by investigating the university’s carbon footprint, Anklam says.
He always made room in his schedule for Honors courses because they were “fun yet meaningful” classes that went beyond what is typically taught in a traditional class, Anklam says.
Anklam’s advice for current and future Blugolds is to “get involved right away to meet friends.” His first job on campus in catering helped him make friends and build connections with faculty and staff when he’d see them on campus.
Already, he says, he misses the campus community and being able to walk to his friends’ doors.
Hopefully, Anklam says, he can build a similar close-knit community in Minnesota through his career and his life with his fiancée, a Blugold he met while working a catering job at UW-Eau Claire.