Not everyone’s academic journey and career path looks the same. Sometimes there are delays, detours and unexpected forks in the road that lead to new destinations. No one knows this better than LMU accounting senior Todd Conley.
Originally from Columbus, Ohio, Todd attended The Ohio State University for one year before realizing he wasn’t quite ready for college. He joined the U.S. Navy and spent six years in San Diego where he worked as a fire controlman specializing in weapon systems.
“Joining the Navy was the best decision I could have made, not only because now they’re paying my tuition, but I also gained a lot of the discipline and work ethic that I was lacking when I tried college the first time,” said Todd.
Leadership skills and a global perspective were additional benefits. Todd was the youngest First Class Petty Officer on the USS San Diego and led a division of 10 junior sailors through a seven-month deployment to the Red Sea. His time in the service took him to all parts of the globe, including Vietnam, Mexico, Hong Kong, China, Jordan and Thailand.
Todd also has the Navy to thank for navigating him toward a career in accounting.
“One of my collateral duties was to serve as my department’s financial specialist, and I spent a lot of time helping junior sailors manage their finances,” said Todd. “I really loved helping people manage their money, so accounting was a way for me to continue on that route.”
Todd enrolled in accounting courses at Santa Monica College for a year before transferring to LMU.
“I chose LMU mainly because I loved the campus and the smaller class sizes,” he said. “After a year of virtual learning, I am so excited to be on campus and in the classroom again.”
Todd recently completed an audit internship with SingerLewak, and credits Professor Rosemary Kim’s “Accounting Information Systems” course for setting him up for success.
“Though Professor Kim’s course was really difficult, it has been the most relevant class that I’ve taken so far, and I was able to apply what I learned in my audit internship.”
Outside of class, Todd keeps active by running, hiking, surfing and snowboarding. He also enjoys playing video games and hanging out with his two cats, Salt and Pepper.
After Todd graduates from LMU in May 2022, he plans to continue his education and pursue a master’s degree in accounting. He hasn’t decided on a school yet, but LMU is definitely at the top of his list.
No matter what school he chooses or what firm he eventually joins, Todd will continue to build upon the solid foundation that LMU and the Navy provided him and seize other opportunities that come his way.
“As a veteran and transfer student, I am proof that you don’t have to follow the traditional path of entering a four-year college right out of high school,” said Todd. “I am so grateful for the experiences I’ve had and the people I’ve met. They have all shaped me into who I am today and led me to this point in my life. I’ve never felt more confident or prepared to start my career.”