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VOL. 131 | NO. 134 | Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Dixon Hughes Lets Students ‘Explore Memphis’

By Andy Meek

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Members of Memphis’ corporate community like accounting firm Dixon Hughes Goodman LLP see the recruitment of the next generation of talent to their firms as more than selling the firms themselves, office perks and the like.

It’s also about selling those new recruits on the city they’ll call home. Which is why DHG a few weeks ago kicked off a summertime event called Explore Memphis – essentially, one firm’s mini version of the collective efforts of groups that range from Choose901 to the New Memphis Institute.

Explore Memphis, according to DHG, is part of the firm’s larger recruitment initiative for college accounting students in the region. To accompany the firm’s annual national leadership conference in Charleston, S.C. – which receives some 700 applicants – DHG’s Memphis office aimed to show off the office and community firsthand.


“In our recruiting process, we typically visit campuses in the fall and then will ask certain students we interview to come to Memphis for an office visit,” said Buddy Dearman, a partner with DHG Memphis. “It’s typically overnight and includes dinner. There’s also some structured interviews and things like that.

“What we decided to try this year – we wanted to give them more time to see Memphis and maybe explore some of their own leadership qualities and tendencies.”

The firm kicked off what was a day-and-a-half event in which 25 students and additional interns from six schools were brought in on a Thursday afternoon in mid-June. The schedule with them included touring FedExForum, walking around Downtown and having a private dinner at The Rendezvous.

The next day, the students headed to the DHG office in East Memphis and learned about the city from representatives of groups like the New Memphis Institute. They got presentations about personal branding, in addition to facts about Memphis, and also toured St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

Treats like cupcakes from Muddy’s Bake Shop, MEMPops, Gibson’s Donuts and Memphis Grizzlies growl towels were also distributed.

Frankie Dakin, New Memphis Institute’s manager of strategic partnerships, said the DHG initiative makes it a leader in best practices for attracting young professionals to the city.

“Memphis has tons to offer young people – from culture and affordability to entertainment and green spaces – and DHG understands that first impressions matter,” Dakin said. “Their commitment to highlighting these assets on the forefront has led to great success in capturing the imaginations and professional commitments of early-career accountants.”

Students who attended the recent session hailed from schools like Jackson State University in Jackson, Miss.; the University of Memphis; Christian Brothers University; and Rhodes College. Participants were mainly sophomores and juniors who were targeted for internships that could potentially turn into full-time positions.

Dearman said he was especially pleased to connect the students with groups like Choose901 to help dispel any preconceived notions about Memphis and to talk up the city in a positive way.

Another benefit of Explore Memphis, according to Dearman, is that participants likely didn’t feel as rushed as they might during more traditional recruiting activities in the fall.

“We’re trying to help recruit the best and brightest to the city,” Dearman said. “At some point in their college careers, they’re going to have multiple opportunities for jobs and firms, with many location choices, and we just want to showcase Memphis. Generally, when we can get them to Memphis, they end up staying. If we get them here and plugged into the city and they find out we’ve got a lot of great things going on, they’ll end up staying with us.”

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