Les Stone
 
 
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Les Stone

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Executive Principal, Managing Director

Accenture, Global Finance & Enterprise Performance

New York City, NY

 

Riveting the Recruiter

Q&A with a big-time recruiter

When it comes to recruiting some of the best and brightest, Les Stone is what you might call an expert. This Executive Principal and Managing Director dropped some serious knowledge on exactly what it takes to impress recruiters these days. He also served up several primo résumé tips and shed light on what makes for good interview fodder.


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ThisWaytoCPA:  Thanks for joining us! After today’s chat, one lucky attendant will be selected to receive a one-on-one resume review with our panelist, Les Stone, from Accenture. Interested? Send a quick email to us now with your name, mailing address, best telephone number and email address . Don’t delay! You’ve got until 6 PM EST to enter. The lucky recipient will be selected tomorrow. Send your email now to ThisWayToCPA@aicpa.org.

Wednesday October 16, 2013 02:56

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ThisWaytoCPA:  NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Promotion begins at 12:00 pm EST on 10/03/13 and ends at 6:00 pm EST on 10/16/13. All entries must be received by 6:00 pm EST on 10/16/13. Subject to Official Rules at www.thiswaytocpa.com. Open to individuals who are over the age of 18, are also legal residents of one of the 50 United States, the District of Columbia or U.S. Territories and are students who registered for the 2013 AICPA Accounting Competition. See Official Rules for all requirements, terms & conditions. Void where prohibited. Sponsor: AICPA, 220 Leigh Farm Rd., Durham, NC 27707.

Wednesday October 16, 2013 02:57

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ThisWaytoCPA:  Official Rules

Wednesday October 16, 2013 02:57

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ThisWaytoCPA:  Les Stone is an Executive Principal-Managing Director in Accenture’s Global Finance & Enterprise Performance (F&EP) practice. He specializes in financial business process improvement, finance and accounting operations, shared services, and finance operations strategy.

Wednesday October 16, 2013 02:58

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ThisWaytoCPA:  He's ready for your questions, so send them on in!

Wednesday October 16, 2013 02:58

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Les Stone:  Good afternoon everyone. Thanks for joining our live chat this afternoon.

Wednesday October 16, 2013 02:59

Ron:  I have heard that acquiring a Notary Public for your state can be helpful to land a position in a firm. How helpful is it?

Wednesday October 16, 2013 03:01

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Les Stone:  Hi Ron. Those types of additions to your skills are always great, but to be honest....if I was interviewing someone, that wouldn't make or break the deal.

Wednesday October 16, 2013 03:02

Rebecca:  Are there certain things I should focus on in an interview (classes, internships, future plans)?

Wednesday October 16, 2013 03:03

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Les Stone:  Hi Rebecca. I don't want you to underestimate the importance of solid academic requirements, but there usually is more than that to put you into the next phase. I personally look for a well balanced candidate. This would include things like extra curricular activities (clubs, athletics, part-time work, etc.) along with demonstrating leadership (e.g. office positions in various organizations, leading your team activities in various coursework, etc.).

Wednesday October 16, 2013 03:05

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Les Stone:  That helps demonstrate that you can multi-task, determine priorities, etc.

Wednesday October 16, 2013 03:06

Rebecca:  Are there any outside areas of study that would serve as good complements to an accounting degree? Are recruiters looking for a well-rounded candidate or a focused one?

Wednesday October 16, 2013 03:07

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Les Stone:  I would supplement coursework with staying very in tune with current events. I suggest you become an avid reader of monthly publications such as the AICPA Journal of Accountancy, Business Finance Magazine, CFO Magazine, etc.

Wednesday October 16, 2013 03:08

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Les Stone:  In addition, there are many of those that provide daily newsletters, in addition to others like AccountsWorld, Treasury and Risk Management, etc.

Wednesday October 16, 2013 03:09

Pavla:  Good afternoon, Mr. Stone. I am currently double major Accounting/Management Information Systems with 10 years of experience in personal financial consultancy, looking to graduate in May 2014. When is the best time to apply for a position (I heard the Fall semester as bigger corporation have longer recruiting period)? Can you describe the hiring process, including the approximate timeline? Thank you.

Wednesday October 16, 2013 03:10

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Les Stone:  Hi Pavla. I will answer this in multiple parts. First of all that is a great double major. In today's world, whether you are in public accounting, industry, or consulting, you cannot separate the two.

Wednesday October 16, 2013 03:11

Which of the following best describes you?

High school student
( 0% )
Freshman in college
( 0% )
Sophomore or junior in college
( 28% )
Senior in college
( 42% )
CPA Exam candidate
( 28% )
Young professional
( 0% )

Wednesday October 16, 2013 03:11

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Les Stone:  The majority of hiring is done in the fall, usually in the September to November time frame. Offers will go out and we would expect accepts/declines in the January or so timeframe.

Wednesday October 16, 2013 03:12

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Les Stone:  Once we see what the acceptanance rate is, we may go back and extend an offer to those that just missed the cutoff. However, that is based on our original targets in the fall as to how many people we want to hire.

Wednesday October 16, 2013 03:14

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Les Stone:  We typically would not go back out onto campus again in the winter or spring.

Wednesday October 16, 2013 03:14

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Les Stone:  Does that make sense?

Wednesday October 16, 2013 03:14

Ashlyn:  After the interview, should I hand-write a thank you note, or send one via email?

Wednesday October 16, 2013 03:15

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Les Stone:  Hi Ashlyn. I like the personal touch of a handwritten note but in today's world, that may take a lot longer to get to your interviewer. In today's virtual world, whether in public accounting, industry, or consulting, many of us aren't in the office that often. Therefore I think an email is fine. Just don't make it look like a 'form letter'.

Wednesday October 16, 2013 03:18

Pavla:  If the majority of hiring is done in the Fall, that actually means applying right now. Do I need to apply for a certain position or just submit my resume to a recruiter? Is it more efficient to go through the campus career center or find a specific recruiter within the company or submit the resume online on your company's website?

Wednesday October 16, 2013 03:19

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Les Stone:  Hi Pavla. If the company you want to interview with has identified your campus as a 'visiting' campus, I would always work through your career center. If your school is not a 'visiting' campus, I would apply directly through the company's website.

Wednesday October 16, 2013 03:20

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Les Stone:  Most of the time going through the website will be for a very specific role.

Wednesday October 16, 2013 03:20

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Les Stone:  Going through the career center may be for multiple roles that the company is looking to fill.

Wednesday October 16, 2013 03:21

Michael:  I go to a really small school and we don't get recruiters on campus. What can I do to get still get a job?

Wednesday October 16, 2013 03:21

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Les Stone:  Hi Michael. Another great question. I would imagine that many of you are in a similar situation.

Wednesday October 16, 2013 03:22

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Les Stone:  I would first do some research and find out the names of some senior positions within your targeted company.

Wednesday October 16, 2013 03:23

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Les Stone:  For public accounting, that may be an office managing partner.

Wednesday October 16, 2013 03:23

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Les Stone:  In industry, that may be a controller, VP budgeting and planning, etc.

Wednesday October 16, 2013 03:24

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Les Stone:  I would not go initially to the recruting office or HR office.

Wednesday October 16, 2013 03:24

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Les Stone:  Write a very creative cover letter that will differentiate you from the dozens of other letters that person my receive.

Wednesday October 16, 2013 03:25

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Les Stone:  Something that will want that person to pick up the phone, call you, and ask you to come in for an interview.

Wednesday October 16, 2013 03:25

Jenna:  Are there any questions that you ALWAYS ask in an interview?

Wednesday October 16, 2013 03:26

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Les Stone:  Great question Jenna. I will talk with many candidates during a recruiting day.

Wednesday October 16, 2013 03:27

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Les Stone:  There are many questions that we just can't ask due to various laws and regulations.

Wednesday October 16, 2013 03:28

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Les Stone:  However, without asking anything specific, I will always dedicate the first 3-5 minutes to letting a candidate open up and tell me about themselves.

Wednesday October 16, 2013 03:28

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Les Stone:  Many times, I will have candidates that are all tied for one or two spots.

Wednesday October 16, 2013 03:29

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Les Stone:  My tie breaker is thinking back to those first 3-5 minutes and deciding on what person I would really like to work with.

Wednesday October 16, 2013 03:30

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Les Stone:  We spend a lot of time in the office working, and regardless of how qualified a candidate is, we all like to work with people we feel comfortable with. Hope that makes sense.

Wednesday October 16, 2013 03:30

Michael:  What do you mean by very creative cover letter?

Wednesday October 16, 2013 03:31

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Les Stone:  I hate receiving a letter that is a standard form letter. Personalize it with background that you can ascertain about the person, the company you are applying to, etc.

Wednesday October 16, 2013 03:32

Paul:  How much internship experience do recruiters expect to see on someone's resume?

Wednesday October 16, 2013 03:32

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Les Stone:  Hi Paul. Interships are extremely important in today's world. One caveat. It must be relevant to your field of study or a role you are interested in pursuing. It provides both you and the employer the chance to see if there is a good fit. As I said, you want to work with people you enjoy.

Wednesday October 16, 2013 03:34

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Les Stone:  It allows both parties to do a 'test drive' to ensure that the chemistry is there.

Wednesday October 16, 2013 03:35

What industry would you most like to get your first job in?

Public
( 25% )
Corporate
( 50% )
Non-profit
( 0% )
Education
( 0% )
Government
( 25% )
Consulting
( 0% )

Wednesday October 16, 2013 03:35

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Les Stone:  Even if you are successful and get an offer, there may have been something that would cause you not to accept it. It is all about having a great experience on both sides.

Wednesday October 16, 2013 03:35

Nicole:  What do you do if two people you interview are both really good? How do you decide who to hire?

Wednesday October 16, 2013 03:36

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Les Stone:  Hi Nicole. We typically have more than one person doing the interviewing. It is possible that someone may have had a bad interview with someone, yet hit a home run with the others.

Wednesday October 16, 2013 03:37

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Les Stone:  During our debrief at the end of the day, I always like to hear what the other interviewers have to say.

Wednesday October 16, 2013 03:38

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ThisWaytoCPA:  For more help getting ready for an interview check out the Interview Simulation on ThisWayToCPA.com. https://www.thiswaytocpa.com/career-tools/interview-simulation/

Wednesday October 16, 2013 03:38

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Les Stone:  This makes it a challenge for you because you have to be on your 'A' game for quite a few hours, stay engaged, enthusiastic, etc.

Wednesday October 16, 2013 03:39

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Les Stone:  And don't make any excuses about having a late night exam the day before.

Wednesday October 16, 2013 03:39

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Les Stone:  In the working world, we all work long hours, sometimes late nights and weekends, and are tired. We are all trying to balance a professional life and work life. You need to be on your 'A' game all of the time.

Wednesday October 16, 2013 03:40

Eric:  When you're looking at a job candidate's resume, is work experience more important than educational coursework? Or vice versa...

Wednesday October 16, 2013 03:42

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ThisWaytoCPA:  Just as a reminder, one lucky attendant will be selected to receive a one-on-one resume review with our panelist, Les Stone, from Accenture. Interested? Send a quick email to us now with your name, mailing address, best telephone number and email address . Don’t delay! You’ve got until 6 PM EST to enter. The lucky recipient will be selected tomorrow. Send your email now to ThisWayToCPA@aicpa.org.

Wednesday October 16, 2013 03:43

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Les Stone:  Hi Eric. It is extremely important to show balance. I don't want to simplify this, but if someone doesn't work, doesn't have extracurricular actitives, etc., it usually will result in higher academic achievements.

Wednesday October 16, 2013 03:43

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Les Stone:  I like to see someone that can balance multiple activities, prioritize, and be successful overall.

Wednesday October 16, 2013 03:44

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Les Stone:  Today's world demands that.

Wednesday October 16, 2013 03:44

Carter:  What makes an accountant from Accenture successful?

Wednesday October 16, 2013 03:45

Nicole:  What makes someone from your firm successful?

Wednesday October 16, 2013 03:45

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Les Stone:  Hi Carter and Nicole. Balance, Balance, Balance.

Wednesday October 16, 2013 03:46

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Les Stone:  I can't tell you how many times you think you have your day planned out and all of a sudden, you get multiple requests that all have to be addressed.

Wednesday October 16, 2013 03:46

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ThisWaytoCPA:  Information on the Accenture Management Consulting Development Program can be found at www.accenture.com/mcdp. For more information on entry level careers at Accenture, including a host of resources to assist you in planning your career, visit www.accenture.com/campus.

Wednesday October 16, 2013 03:47

Tiffany:  What's the best way to apply for a job at your company?

Wednesday October 16, 2013 03:47

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Les Stone:  If your school is a 'visiting' school, attend the various information sessions and work through your career center to get a slot on the interview schedule.

Wednesday October 16, 2013 03:48

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Les Stone:  If you do not attend a visiting school, you can use the link that has been provided.

Wednesday October 16, 2013 03:49

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Les Stone:  If you are already out of school, and are interested in joining Accenture, again use the link.

Wednesday October 16, 2013 03:49

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ThisWaytoCPA:  If you are interested in applying for the Accenture Management Consulting Development Program, visit www.accenture.com/mcdp-job.

Wednesday October 16, 2013 03:50

Jerry R.:  Do people really read letters of recommendation?

Wednesday October 16, 2013 03:50

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Les Stone:  Fantastic question Jerry. I personally do not put a lot of weight on those letters.

Wednesday October 16, 2013 03:50

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Les Stone:  I take the position that none of you are going to provide the name of a reference to check, or provide an actual letter, that the person is going to say something bad about you.

Wednesday October 16, 2013 03:51

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Les Stone:  I would rather have you tell me, through the interviewing process, why I should select you.

Wednesday October 16, 2013 03:52

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Les Stone:  In some areas, reference letters are good, e.g. when applying to one of our service academies (West Point, USNA, etc.) but in general, I don't put much effort into those.

Wednesday October 16, 2013 03:53

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Les Stone:  I want to hear from you why I should select you.

Wednesday October 16, 2013 03:53

Tiffany:  How much does my GPA matter?

Wednesday October 16, 2013 03:54

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Les Stone:  This is amazing. All of you are asking great questions. This makes this forum fun.

Wednesday October 16, 2013 03:54

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Les Stone:  We have ranges of GPAs that we look for in both technical and nontechnical majors. But it doesn't stop there. Let me provide and example to all of you.

Wednesday October 16, 2013 03:55

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Les Stone:  If I have Candidate A with a 3.7 GPA in accounting and they don't have work experience, extra activities, vs. Candidate B that has a 3.4 but is more well rounded, I will lean more heavily towards Candidate B.

Wednesday October 16, 2013 03:56

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Les Stone:  Again assuming there is a chemistry and I feel I can work with that person. If not, I would look for another candidate, again they may not have the highest GPA but will have to be well rounded.

Wednesday October 16, 2013 03:58

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Les Stone:  All this while maintaining our minimum requirements for either the technical or non-technical major.

Wednesday October 16, 2013 03:58

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ThisWaytoCPA:  Need tips on how to dress for the interview? Check out our article, "A tasty interview wardrobe on a Ramen noodle budget": https://www.thiswaytocpa.com/career-tools/articles/resumes-interviewing/tasty-interview-wardrobe-ramen-noodle-budget/

Wednesday October 16, 2013 03:58

Jason:  How much should I show that I've researched the company?

Wednesday October 16, 2013 03:59

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Les Stone:  Hi Jason. I will tell you that anyone that comes in for an interview with me and asks a 'silly' question that they should know the answer to, will not be considered for an offer.

Wednesday October 16, 2013 04:00

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Les Stone:  As you are interviewing, you can demonstrate your research by asking some very provacative questions to the interviewer.

Wednesday October 16, 2013 04:01

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Les Stone:  I think for an interview (or series of multiple interviews in a single day), you can easily invest 2-3 hours of research.

Wednesday October 16, 2013 04:02

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Les Stone:  Look at the annual reports, 10ks, MD&A discussion, analyst meetings, meeting and presentations with bankers, etc.

Wednesday October 16, 2013 04:02

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Les Stone:  Don't ever go in under-prepared.

Wednesday October 16, 2013 04:03

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Les Stone:  If I have an introductory hour call or meeting with a new client, I can easily spend 2-3 hours of prep.

Wednesday October 16, 2013 04:03

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ThisWaytoCPA:  Remember that one lucky attendant will be selected to receive a one-on-one resume review with our panelist, Les Stone, from Accenture. Interested? Send a quick email to us now with your name, mailing address, best telephone number and email address . Don’t delay! You’ve got until 6 PM EST to enter. The lucky recipient will be selected tomorrow. Send your email now to ThisWayToCPA@aicpa.org.

Wednesday October 16, 2013 04:04

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ThisWaytoCPA:  NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Promotion begins at 12:00 pm EST on 10/03/13 and ends at 6:00 pm EST on 10/16/13. All entries must be received by 6:00 pm EST on 10/16/13. Subject to Official Rules at www.thiswaytocpa.com. Open to individuals who are over the age of 18, are also legal residents of one of the 50 United States, the District of Columbia or U.S. Territories and are students who registered for the 2013 AICPA Accounting Competition. See Official Rules for all requirements, terms & conditions. Void where prohibited. Sponsor: AICPA, 220 Leigh Farm Rd., Durham, NC 27707.

Wednesday October 16, 2013 04:04

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ThisWaytoCPA:  Official Rules

Wednesday October 16, 2013 04:04

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ThisWaytoCPA:  Thanks so much for joining us, everyone. Your questions were great!

Wednesday October 16, 2013 04:04

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Les Stone:  Again, I want to thank you for your time today. Great questions. Best of luck to you in school, your job search, and your careers.

Wednesday October 16, 2013 04:05

Rebecca:  Thank you so much, Les!

Wednesday October 16, 2013 04:06

Wenyin Kong:  Have a good day!

Wednesday October 16, 2013 04:06

Pavla:  Thank you!

Wednesday October 16, 2013 04:07