Since before her senior year, Caitlin Kouba ’12 has been seeing green and yellow in her future.
The product cost accountant at John Deere Power Systems is putting her accounting degree to work—and her time with John Deere didn’t start just after graduation.
“I got my job with John Deere by first interning with them before my senior year,” she explains. “I interviewed at the Iowa College Recruiting Network fair and I had second interview at headquarters in Moline before being offered an internship in Horicon, Wis. for the summer.”
From there, Kouba has had John Deere on the brain—she was offered a full-time position in the financial development program, which has her traveling for the first three years on the job to get an understanding of the company. Kouba’s first year was spent in the Intelligent Solutions Group in southern California. Since July, she has been in Waterloo working with engineers and employees in supply management, and her next stop is still a mystery—she won’t know where she is headed until March or April.
“I love getting to work with engineers and people outside of the accounting function because it gives you a broader sense of the company and what we are really trying to do,” she says. “Sometimes as an accountant, you get lost in the numbers and so getting outside, seeing the product, talking with customers, working with marketing is really awesome, which is what John Deere is all about.”
Kouba’s time at Central has been a key part of her success in many different ways—she was a co-captain on the volleyball team for two years, president of the Student Athletic Advisory Council her senior year and studied abroad in Spain, earning her Spanish major. On top of her extracurricular activities, she was a stellar student and says her professors gave her the advantage when searching for jobs.
“Debela Birru (associate professor of business management) and Bob Maurer (retired associate professor of accounting) were very tough professors, but they taught me perseverance. They wanted me to succeed and helped me strive to be my best,” says Kouba. “Central gave me the tools I needed, and then I took what I learned and ran with it.”
Although she doesn’t know where her Central education or current position will take her, Kouba knows that the life skills she learned at Central, like leadership, responsibility and time management, will help her as she explores new opportunities.
“I love working for John Deere and in an accounting function, so hopefully I will continue to do so for many years,” she says. “I learned my ABCs of education and accounting at Central, but I also learned how to really thrive in a work environment where you make sure things are done on time, you’re being responsible, taking initiative and applying what you know to problems and finding solutions.”