Making the Most of Summer

April 29, 2016 | by the Office of Marketing and Communications

Scott Johnson has maintained a remarkably busy schedule over his eight semesters at Elmhurst College.

In addition to his coursework as an accounting major and honors student, he found time to serve as right defender on the Elmhurst men’s soccer team. He also managed to fit in a pair of study abroad experiences.

Johnson’s summer breaks haven’t exactly been all about kicking back and relaxing, either. For each of the summers following his first three years at Elmhurst, Johnson worked in internships related to his accounting major—first at a chain of local banks in his hometown of St. Louis; then at computer-accessories manufacturer Logitech in Newark, California; and most recently at accounting giant PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) in San Jose. His hard work paid off in an offer from PwC to join the company as an assurance associate after graduation in May.

Johnson credits his parents with encouraging him to make the most of his summers.

“They sort of pushed me to work during the summers, so I figured I might as well find the best jobs I could,” he said.

Johnson’s job search took him far afield. Interested in the tech industry, he was eager to sample life beyond the Midwest. With the support of the College’s Center for Professional Excellence, he applied for an internship with Logitech in 2014.

“Everyone was talking about high tech and Silicon Valley,” he said. “I thought, ‘I gotta try it.’”

Assigned to Logitech’s marketing department, he was tasked with quantifying the return on investment from each of a series of the company’s promotional efforts. He found the independence he was granted at once thrilling and a little unsettling.

“They basically sit you down and tell you what they’re looking for, and then it’s up to you to find your own path forward,” he said. After a tentative start, Johnson thrived in the position. “I spun my tires for the first week; I just wasn’t used to that level of independence. But I got the hang of it and was really able to make the project my own.”

His work at Logitech, then a PwC client, brought him to the attention of employers at the accounting firm who offered Johnson an internship with PwC for the summer after his junior year. He was assigned to the company’s San Jose offices, where he worked on audits of PwC clients like Yahoo.

“It was an incredible opportunity to see great companies like Yahoo from the inside,” he said. Johnson will begin his full-time work with PwC in September.

Johnson even managed to keep his soccer skills sharp during his summers in California. He stayed in dormitory housing at San Jose State University, where he worked out and played pickup games with members of that school’s soccer team and players from nearby Santa Clara University.
Johnson learned early in his time at Elmhurst that he handled changes of scenery well. As a first-year student he visited European cultural capitals—Paris, Amsterdam, Berlin and Prague—as part of the College’s City as Text course. Two years later, he spent a month in Rome and Naples for an archeology course offered in conjunction with a consortium of Midwestern colleges. He called the trips abroad an excellent preparation for his summers working on the West Coast.

“I learned that I like to change things up,” he said. “I’m willing to give new places a try.”

As he approaches the end of his busy time at Elmhurst, he is ready to put that philosophy into practice again.

“I’m enjoying my senior year, but I’m definitely ready for my next chapter,” he said.

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