Rutgers–Camden Student Lands Full-Time Accounting Job Months before Commencement

Octavio Yamamoto

By Sam Starnes

Hideki Octavio Yamamoto’s visits to the Rutgers University–Camden Career Center paid off in a big way.

After meeting with a staff member who critiqued his resume during his junior year, he followed up with her and told her about his hopes for an internship.

“In less than 20 minutes, she called and said, ‘We have an employer here. Do you want an interview?’” says Yamamoto, who will earn a dual degree in accounting and finance on May 18 from the Rutgers School of Business–Camden. “It happened on the spot because they had an open gap between interviews. I went back and got the internship.”

With more assistance from the Career Center, Yamamoto built on that internship in the summer 2016 to land another internship in 2017 and ultimately, three months before graduating, a full-time job as an audit associate with KPMG in Center City Philadelphia that will start in September.

“It happened so quickly, I couldn’t believe it,” says Yamamoto, who will speak as the undergraduate student representative at the School of Business commencement ceremony at the BB&T Pavilion in Camden.

Octavio Yamamoto and Terri F. Smith

Yamamoto with Terri F. Smith, employer relations coordinator in the Rutgers–Camden Career Center, who helped him find internships and plot his career path.

Support on Campus

A native of the Dominican Republic who came to the United States in 2011, he graduated from Maple Shade High School in 2013 and started at Rutgers–Camden. In his four years as a student, he has found many professors and staff members who are thoroughly invested in his success.

“A unique aspect of the Rutgers community is that we go out of our way to help others,” he says. “I would not be in the position that I am today without the great support of faculty and friends. The benefits of a small campus are crucial to quickly find information and make connections. I’ve created personal relationships with multiple faculty members who eventually became my mentors. Their guidance has been a key component in my college career.”

Campus Involvement

Yamamoto has been deeply involved as a Rutgers–Camden student. In his freshman year, he benefited from funding from the New Jersey Educational Opportunity Funds and was involved in the TRiO Student Support Services.

“As a first-generation student, those programs were the most valuable assets I had my freshmen year,” he says. “Their guidance and support gave me the foundation I needed to be successful.”

He went on to serve as president of two campus organizations: B1GS, which stands for Bridging 1st Generation Students, and the Latin American Student Organization. He also served as a resident assistant (RA) during his senior year, studied in Germany and South Africa via Rutgers–Camden’s Learning Abroad program, was a member of the Business Leader Development Program (BLDP), and joined Beta Alpha Psi, an honor organization for financial information students and professionals.

“The leadership skills that I developed by being involved changed who I was,” he says. “Before coming to Rutgers, I was a quiet and very shy student. I noticed everything that I missed by not getting out of my comfort zone, and I knew something needed to change. Rutgers–Camden gave me the tools and support I needed to become the person I wanted to be. Coming to Rutgers and being part of the community changed my life.”

Belonging to a Diverse Community

Even though Yamamoto says one of his main attractions to Rutgers–Camden was its diversity, he says the extensive range of backgrounds on campus surprised him.

“I have friends from India, Egypt, Pakistan, Vietnam, and Colombia,” he says. “Being exposed to this extremely diverse community changed the way I saw Rutgers–Camden. At first, I thought it was going to be the place I went to school, but it became my home. The diversity here is what I value most. Getting to know people with such different views and backgrounds helps you understand more about the world and yourself.”

Commuting or Living On Campus

Yamamoto has had the experience of both commuting and living on campus. In his first year, he commuted by bus. His sophomore year he lived on campus. His junior year he commuted. His senior year he lived on campus and was an RA.

“Living on campus gave me the opportunity to be more involved,” he says. “Being able to attend events and club meetings at any time of the day is something I value.”

Yamamoto also appreciates Rutgers–Camden’s proximity to Philadelphia, a five-minute train ride.

“Being so close to Philly is great,” he says. “It gives Rutgers–Camden the benefits of a larger campus thanks to all the activities the city has to offer. The ability to attend a small university with the perks of the city has been the perfect combination for me.”

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