Governors State Multiplied Her Career Successes
With an MBA already in hand and solid investment experience under her belt, an ambitious Crook set her sights on earning her certified public accounting (CPA) license. Governors State fit nicely into her vision. But once Crook enrolled, she decided to pursue a second master’s in accounting in addition to taking classes for her CPA.
Some 13 years later, Crook is now looking for a way to give back to the institution that embraced her goals and accelerated her career.
“There is incredible knowledge at Governors State University. My professors were able to bring their field experience into the classroom and it helped move me forward,’’ said Crook, who today is Director of Investment Accounting at Asset Allocation & Management Company, LLC (AAM), responsible for the accounting and reporting of approximately 28.6 billion in assets under management (as of September 20, 2019) for roughly 80 insurance companies across the globe.
Why did you choose Governors State University?
Governors State had an excellent reputation for an engaged faculty. So when I decided to take classes for my CPA exam, it came to mind right away. Then, I found out the school offered late classes, so attending after work was easy.
Please describe your role at Asset Allocation & Management Company (AAM).
I am responsible for the long range strategic plans and management of the investment accounting department that monitors our clients’ investment reports. All of our clients are insurance companies that rely on AAM to invest and manage their money, and we are held to very specialized and high standards as it relates to investments.
How did GSU help you in your career?
Many of the faculty were adjuncts and had real world experience. They were able to bring what they were doing in the field into the classroom. I already had my MBA and experiences at firms like Jackson National Life and Northern Trust when I got to Governors State, but my time there really helped me to move forward. After graduation, AAM promoted me from Assistant Vice President to Vice President. I further advanced to Director of Investment Accounting in 2017.
What’s next in your career?
I’ve been thinking about students who come in for interviews and are not equipped for the workplace. They don’t have what they need—basic interviewing strategies, what to wear, how to act in a professional setting. We have a lot of work to do. I'd like to reach back and pay it forward in a meaningful way. I have been a member of the National Black MBA Association since 2003 with various positions on the Chicago Chapter Board. I am currently the Vice President of Strategic Programming with the Career and Professional Development Committee and the Education Committee under my purview to further develop this initiative. I just joined Governors State’s College of Business Advisory Board to help push the business school forward. I want this hidden gem to shine. And, by the end of 2020, I expect to have my CPA.
What advice would you give to current students?
My advice to students is to get everything you can get from your college experience, from Study Abroad to Career Services to student clubs and organizations. It is more than noteworthy that you can pay it forward and network at the same time. Networking is key to getting to that next level and can be fulfilling and rewarding when in service to others.