Veteran Finds Military Skillset Helpful in Landing Position with Major Firm

Andrew Polifko

Andrew Polifko spent his childhood living “all over the world” because his father worked for the State Department. At a young age, Polifko joined the Marine Corps, continuing to travel, learning languages and enjoying foreign cultures.  When he left military service, Polifko decided to attend the University of Montana and study business administration.

While majoring in management information systems, Polifko learned he needed to translate his military skillset, first, to an educational setting, then to a business environment. Veterans are often challenged by trying to help those who have not served in the military understand how military experience can be an advantage in other types of professional environments.

Andrew Prolifko was working as a UM senior intern at a local software company, Orbital Shift, when he met a UM alumnus and recruiter for KPMG, one of the largest professional services companies in the world and a “Big Four” auditing firm.  Polifko knew immediately that he wanted a full-time position at KPMG after he graduated. Polifko also knew he needed to convey his organization skills, his ability to communicate and his ability to set and accomplish goals to this alumnus, all qualities Andrew Polifko honed in the military.

“When the KPMG recruiter mentioned he wanted me to organize an event so KPMG could get to know veterans a bit better, I knew it was an opportunity for me to prove myself,” said Polifko. “It was also an opportunity for other University of Montana veterans to have an open conversation about the many positive qualities vets bring to an organization.  The event would provide a forum for all of us to learn how we should translate the skills we acquired in the service into assets a business would value.” 

Andrew Polifko and KPMG collaborated on what became a very successful veterans’ luncheon. Polifko contacted all the veterans on campus, worked with KPMG’s recruiting team, with Estella Anderson from SoBA’s Career Development program, Shawn Grove from University of Montana Veterans Office and SoBA professors Jason Triche, David Firth and Bruce Costa. According to Polifko, the business professors “played critical roles in the success of this event. They will have my eternal gratitude.” 

KPMG plans to host a Veterans’ Luncheon at UM again this spring.  Although, next year KPMG will have to create the event without the help of Andrew Polifko on campus. 

Today, Andrew Polifko works for KPMG, Los Angeles.  He assumed his position shortly after graduation.  “I’m excited to be working for such a fine international company. I’m working with people from all over the world,” he said.  It is obvious that Andrew Polifko learned how to effectively translate the skillset he developed in the military into qualities that KPMG managers desired in an employee.  And thanks to Andrew Polifko other UM students will have the opportunity this coming spring to do the same.