Jake Pullukat recently graduated from Polk State College’s Bachelor of Applied Science in Supervision and Management Program which, paired with internship experience and federal COVID-19 relief funds that supported the completion of his degree, positioned him for success in his job with a Big Four accounting firm.
Pullukat is a business analyst for KPMG, which provides a global network of professional firms with audit, tax, and advisory services. The Big Four accounting firms are considered the largest and most prestigious of their kind.
“Joining Polk State’s BAS Program was the best decision I had ever made at that time,” said Pullukat, who enrolled in 2020 after changing his major from nursing. “The education I received and the amount of networking I was able to generate have been extremely beneficial to me.”
“Joining Polk State’s BAS Program was the best decision I had ever made at that time. The education I received and the amount of networking I was able to generate have been extremely beneficial to me.”
That includes financial support such as federal COVID-19 relief funds that are helping students pay for tuition and fees that are not covered by other forms of financial aid. Pullukat has also benefited from services provided by the College’s Internship and Experiential Learning Office.
Additionally, he is a graduate of Polk State Lakeland Collegiate High School. The College’s three charter high schools provide juniors and seniors with the opportunity to complete college credits at no cost to them simultaneously with requirements for their high school diplomas. Pullukat graduated with substantial college credit toward his Associate in Arts degree, which saved him time and money on his educational journey.
“I was an Eagle early on in my career and I would recommend Polk State because it truly works with every student to give them the tools to be successful,” he said.
When he graduated from the collegiate program, he completed his associate degree and prerequisite courses before enrolling in a nursing program. He was nearing the completion of his nursing degree when he had to undergo emergency surgery.
“I had to sit out a couple of semesters and just work on being able to do physical activities and get my life back,” he explained. “It was an opportunity for me to change paths because I wasn’t enjoying what I was doing as much as I thought I would. I have always been good with numbers and decided to switch to business.”
That’s when he came back to Polk State, where he saw a difference in his motivation and performance academically.
“I got all A’s and that was monumental for me,” Pullukat said. “It solidified that I had made the right decision.”
He touted the value of his classes and expertise of his professors in the Polk State Business Program, including Professor of Mathematics Richard Decker and Professor of Accounting Tristan Davison.
“From quantitative methods – which are quite important in the business world in order to forecast numbers and data – to my accounting and finance classes, the professors are always there for students with any doubts or questions,” Pullukat said. “Those two professors and their classes are really the pinnacles that helped me to be where I am now.”
“I would recommend Polk State because it truly works with every student to give them the tools to be successful.”
He also stressed the importance of internships and real-world experiences for students.
With his background in health sciences and the help of Polk State’s Internship and Experiential Learning Office, Pullukat participated in a finance internship with Lakeland Regional Health, where he previously served as a patient care assistant and lab assistant.
“This really boosted my momentum as someone with no business or finance background who was determined to go into the accounting world,” he said. “The internship helped me get an inside look into the field, develop my skills, and expand my networking.”
Pullukat will continue to grow his skills and network, as he plans to pursue a master’s degree in business administration and aspires to become a senior associate in the accounting field.
The best part is, he is excelling at something he truly enjoys.
“My biggest advice to students is to explore your options and interests, and never doubt that you can make a career out of something you really enjoy,” he said. “Because it’s true what they say, that if you enjoy what you do, it doesn’t really feel like work at all.”