During his four years at Rutgers Business School-Newark, Gary Carter savored the diversity and the opportunities that were available to him as a student.
“I’ve been a sponge to the people who have experience,” he said.
“The diversity on campus felt like home to me, what I had in Jersey City,” said Carter, 21, who grew up in Jersey City and graduated from McNair Academic High School.
In high school, Carter had a mentor who taught him about accounting. “It inspired me to become an accountant,” Carter said. “He shed light on how having your own assets, your own business, would bring you generational wealth. I wanted to learn more.”
Carter came into Rutgers Business School as part of the Business Student Transition at Rutgers (B-STAR). B-STAR participants arrive on campus six weeks before their freshman year begins to meet one another and attend programming, including their first college classes. Throughout college, B-STAR continues to provide support, mentoring and opportunities to network with alumni and other professionals.
The award-winning B-STAR program, created and managed by the Office of Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Access (IDEA), has been helping students transition from high school to college since 2014.
“We had a cohort of friends (in B-STAR) we could rely on,” Carter said. Throughout his time at Rutgers, he said, B-STAR helped him mature through its professional training and development.
Carter hopes to make an impact as he progresses on his career path. He said he wants to help close the gap where there is a lack of diversity in Corporate America. “It can be who you know, not what you know,” he said. “If you’re in, don’t be settled in, don’t get comfortable, help someone else get in.”
Carter took extra classes to finish the five-year accounting program in four years. After graduating, he will work as an associate for KPMG’s Economic & Valuation Services, an area where he interned the summer after junior year and assisted during the firm’s busy season this year.
Carter first connected with KPMG when the B-STAR program visited KPMG’s Short Hills office. Recruiters encouraged Carter to apply for KPMG’s Embark Scholars, a multiyear internship program that helps develop high-performing students of color into future leaders at the firm. Carter spent the summer after sophomore year with KPMG in a rotation program of the audit, tax, and advisory areas.
During freshman year, Carter spent three days in Hollywood, Calif., learning more about the accounting profession through Rutgers RISE program.
But his biggest role outside class has been as president of the Rutgers-Newark Chapter of the National Association of Black Accountants. C. Daniel Stubbs, Jr., assistant professor of professional practice in accounting, identified Carter as a leader after he did well in two difficult classes Stubbs teaches.
“I sought him out to lead our student chapter of the National Association of Black Accountants because he displayed outstanding leadership qualities and he readily gained the consensus of his peers,” Stubbs said. “He has good time management skills as he didn’t allow my challenge to lead the chapter to negatively impact his academic success.”
Carter first heard about NABA from a peer and then went to the organization’s conference in Norfolk, Va., his freshman year. “I saw people who looked like me and had the same aspirations as me,” he said.
Being a leader with the NABA chapter raised Carter’s confidence. “NABA is the highlight of my academic career,” he said. “It gave me an outstanding network not only in school but outside school.”