A heavy rain this past Tuesday, February 23rd, did not stop the members of the Zicklin Forensic Accounting Association from organizing a successful event with a guest speaker Michael Schulstad. Michael is a former FBI agent and currently employed at WeiserMazars LLP as a Director of Investigative Services. The organizers of the event were excited to see a great turnout. Many of the attendees were newcomers to the ZFAA event. That shows rising interest in forensic accounting profession among Baruch college students. The audience was eager to hear about the guest’s experience in forensic accounting field as one of the fastest growing areas in accounting profession, and get an advice on how to be successful in their pursued career.
Michael Schulstad, a recurring guest to ZFAA and Baruch College, is always happy to share his background in public accounting which he left to pursue his long-time dream to work for the FBI. That is where he spent most of his career and that is what he spoke about in the most passionate manner. First jobs in Afghanistan where he worked on fraud investigation and money laundering cases put him in the middle of dangerous zones and made him realize the risks of being a law enforcement officer.
Being a special agent with cases in Las Vegas, New York and Texas exposed him to many types of investigations. Whether it was uncovering a scam that took advantage of bankruptcy law, discovering an organized crime in casinos, exposing a bank officer making records on two sets of books or bringing to light fraudulent attorneys staging automobiles accidents for insurance proceeds, Mr Schulstad kept putting emphasis on the fun he had during the investigations and how beneficial the FBI career was for him, encouraging the students to pursue the same path. He also discussed how the love for solving puzzles, skepticism and investigative nature led him to forensic accounting and WeiserMazars accounting firm. He has been working at the firm for the last two years, conducting fraud investigations, data analysis, insurance claims and, as he says, simply enjoying his job.
When a guest asked him for some advice for the accounting students, Mr Schulstad recommended getting an internship and trying new jobs throughout the career to become “more well-rounded” and encouraged students to join ACFE and become certified. After the event, the guest and the two interns from WeiserMazars LLP, Evgeniya Silkina and Svetlana Pak who arrived with Mr Schulstad, were there to answer more questions and network with the attendees.