'06 BBA, Accounting Concentration
Director of Accounting Services, Northeast Community College
As an architectural engineering student at Northeast Community College in Norfolk, Nebraska, John Robertson was pretty certain of his future — finish architectural school at a 4-year college and then a professional career as an architect. But a few elective courses in accounting, a move to Nashville, TN and a volunteer position as church treasurer changed all that. “I really enjoyed the courses and the work really made sense to me,” he says.
"As an accountant, I'm able to use my analytical skills to read beyond the numbers to understand what drives a business to be profitable. I'm challenged to find solutions to problems. Through earning my BBA, I acquired the technical knowledge I needed.”
Obtaining those skills at Belmont University was an obvious choice for Robertson, who moved to Nashville with his wife, Erica, in 2002 after both earned associate’s degrees at Northeast. "It was our dream to move to Nashville, but we needed to bring more than just a dream,” says Robertson. “We needed a purpose.”
Purpose meant finding a school as well as a job. Roberson says that when his wife searched a listing of Nashville colleges, Belmont initially caught her eye because it was one of the first listed. After researching the school and learning the value a Belmont business degree would carry no matter where they decided to live in the future, the Robertsons never looked further. Erica entered Belmont’s Music Business Program, graduating in 2004, while Robertson found a job in Belmont’s mailroom and began taking classes through Belmont’s Adult Degree Program in the fall of 2003.
The same fall Robertson returned to school, he took on a volunteer position as treasurer of his church and solidified his career path as an accountant. “Playing with numbers has always been a pastime,” says Robertson “Numbers go through my head all of the time.”
Robertson says that at Belmont, he found the personal attention and support that he wanted. "As a part-time student, I enjoyed the flexibility of the day and evening programs. The close relationships I formed with my professors, the staff, and my fellow students made this feel like home."
While finishing his coursework at Belmont, Robertson was asked to join Belmont’s Finance and Accounting Department to assist with inventory. Within a few days, Robertson began working in accounts payable, where he processed all expense transactions for the university. “I knew I wanted to complete my degree at Belmont, but it was a huge bonus to be able to apply what I learned in the classroom back to my work on a daily basis.”
Robertson particularly liked the practical approach offered by his instructors. "It allowed me to examine actual business scenarios and dilemmas and to discuss solutions with my classmates - many of whom were professional managers or business owners - that produced new ideas and suggestions I wouldn't have always considered."
After graduation, Robertson was promoted to Accountant of Grants and Restricted Funds at Belmont, where he worked with restricted funds, including endowments, federal and state grants, as well as federal money for financial aid disbursement.
The Robertson’s daughter, Elizabeth, was born in 2008, leading them to move back to Nebraska where they could be closer to family. Robertson returned to Northeast Community College, where he is currently Director of Accounting Services.