Meet Kayla Dybas, an accounting major/business communication minor who landed her dream job right out of the gate.
Editor’s note: This is one in a series of stories highlighting a few of Concordia’s uncommon May 2022 graduates. Faculty and staff submit candidates for consideration. Stories are posted in the days leading up to commencement. View more uncommon graduates here.
Waiting on God. It’s a concept with which most of us are quite familiar. The idea is that God’s timing isn’t our timing, and we often have to be patient and trust that He will answer our prayers, one way or another, in His own time.
But then sometimes, He answers them right away.
That’s probably how Kayla Dybas (’22) felt when she learned that she had landed what was pretty much her dream job months before graduation. Not only is Plante Moran one of the top accounting firms in the nation, they’re known for having a great employee culture. So Kayla was thrilled to be offered an auditing position in their Grand Rapids, Michigan, office.
“They were number one on my list of places I would like to go,” Kayla recalls. “I interviewed with them in October. My interview was at 10:30 a.m., and they called me at around four that afternoon and offered me the position. Wow! It was a big week.”
Talk about making a great first impression!
In reality, it wasn’t quite as sudden as it sounds. She had been in touch with them since May, trying to work out whether it would be better to do an internship with them, which would postpone her graduation a semester, or just apply for an entry-level position after graduating. She opted for the latter, and it paid off. God must’ve been on board with the decision.
Seeking God’s guidance
Believe it or not, this Summa Cum Laude graduate did not always know that accounting was the right path for her. After high school, she says she was dead set on going into engineering, because, you know, “Wooo! Women in STEM!” But it only took a couple of college-level chemistry and calculus classes to steer her away from that idealistic ambition.
From there she “bounced around a little bit,” thinking maybe she’d go into music and become a band director, or major in education and be a teacher, but she really wasn’t sure. After two years at Delta College in the Bay City/Saginaw Area, she graduated with an associate degree and a plan to study accounting. But it wasn’t until after she transferred to CUAA that things started to get more clear.
Always a top math student, Kayla had already spent a couple of summers working internships in accounting, doing audits. It just took her awhile to find the right niche and realize that’s what she was meant to do.
“The more I did it, the more I realized that you like the things you’re good at,” she explains. “Accounting is often something that you either get it or you don’t. And I was good at it.
“It’s also very hard to teach. And it’s so awesome when you find someone like Professor [Amber] Gray who can teach it so well. Like, ‘Thank you for making it so much fun!’”
In this case, that appreciation is very much a two-way street.
“Kayla was a joy to have in class and always showed up with a smile on her face and an open mind,” Dr. Gray recalls. “I had Kayla during my first semester teaching at Concordia, and she made me feel welcome from day one. She’s a very special individual and Plante Moran is very lucky to have her!”
Building a bigger family
Kayla grew up in a close family in the small town of Pinconning, Michigan, with her parents, Jamey and Colleen, and one younger brother, Josh. She also
had good friends at Pinconning Area High School and at St. John’s Lutheran Church, where she and her family have attended her whole life. So when she left for Ann Arbor, the right major wasn’t all she needed to find. In leaving behind all the people who are most important to her, she also asked God to help her make some friends.
“I would sit and pray and I’d be like, ‘I’m going to Concordia, please just give me a couple of good friends,’” she says. “Like, people I can have in my life forever and watch them grow and succeed with and live our lives together. The first couple of weeks here, I didn’t really talk to anyone. But then I met a great group of people and became so close with them.”
She met people by getting involved in things. She became an RA, played Ultimate Frisbee, and got involved in the theater program. Before long, she was putting down roots and building some lasting relationships.
That focus on family, friends, and faith is definitely where she finds her passion. But she also gets what some might consider strangely excited about accounting, as well.
“I’m a very black-and-white thinker, very cut and dried, so I like all the rules and stuff,” she says. “But I feel bad for my friends sometimes because their eyes kind of glaze over when I start talking about accounting. I get so excited I’m like bouncing off the walls!”
This passion is confirmed by another one of her professors.
“Kayla was one of the students that make teaching so rewarding,” says Professor Emeritus Jorge Gonzalez. “She was always deeply involved in the class. This was most noticeable in Business Policy and Ethics. Most students participate well in general but they can sometimes get distracted for a while or have days when they’re not quite ‘there.’ Kayla was always completely ‘on.’ With her comments and insights she helped everyone get more out of our discussions.”
One step at a time
Whether her new job will turn out to be all she hopes it will be, and whether it’s just a first stop or a lifelong career, that’s something she feels only God knows. And that’s okay with her.
“I used to have this idea in my head of what life would look like, that my plans for life would go a specific way,” Kayla says. “But there’s no way to control all those little details and no one ever really knows what will happen.
“I do know that I’m heading in the direction I want to in terms of career. I know that I want a family of my own someday, and to stay close to the family I already have. In terms of what I want in the future otherwise, I’m not super picky; I don’t have a lot of specific preferences. I’m really just excited with the direction that God has made my life go and that’s enough for me.”
In other words, God’s plan. God’s timing. And a great start to want promises to be a rewarding and fulfilling career.
Concordia Offers a variety of degrees in business at the bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral level.
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