Guiding the next generation: SAF alum’s journey from student to instructor

Tuesday, October 31, 2023

by Emily T. Social Media and Web Associate

Cody Buchenauer

Cody Buchenauer (CPA, CA, MAcc ’14) is a School of Accounting and Finance (SAF) alum with a remarkable career journey. From a student navigating through co-op terms to an industry professional holding a role as senior manager at EY, Buchenauer is now a full-time faculty member as well as a member of SAF’s co-op and experiential learning team. Bridging academia and industry to guide current students’ career paths as a passionate educator, his journey is a testament to the impact of the co-op experience offered at SAF.

During his student years at SAF, Buchenauer balanced academics with his interest in health and fitness by working part-time as a personal trainer and fitness instructor on campus. "Getting involved with activities on campus, even outside of accounting and finance, can truly enhance your university experience and foster lasting connections and opportunities," says Buchenauer. "This is where I discovered my enjoyment for teaching."

Buchenauer's career journey was enriched by his co-op experience during his undergraduate studies, a mandatory component of SAF programs. Throughout his work terms, he explored various roles at EY, following a more traditional path into public accounting. These experiences revealed to him the significance of co-op in developing soft skills such as time management, communication, and overall professionalism to succeed in any career. A thrilling moment that left a lasting impact on his career journey – working through a potential fraud in an end-of-year audit during his first co-op term – highlighted to him how dynamic the field of accounting could be.

Returning to SAF to teach was a dream of Buchenauer’s, and a stroke of luck transformed this hope to reality when he received an out-of-the-blue email from a former professor asking him to serve as an instructor for an upcoming course. Over the past four years, Buchenauer’s involvement has grown from teaching one course section to becoming a full-time definite term lecturer beginning this year. Like many faculty members in SAF, Buchenauer's industry experience allows him to go beyond theory. In his teaching, he provides more than just textbook examples, citing real-world cases and demonstrating how concepts apply in the field. "Teaching also keeps my technical skills sharp while I maintain a role in industry,” says Buchenauer. “It’s a win-win for both me and my students.”

Aside from teaching, Buchenauer supports SAF students in their career journeys as a core member of the school’s co-op and experiential learning team. In this new and evolving role, he hopes to offer students a chance to connect and gain insights into career paths related to his respective field in accounting, while Mohsin Bashir (CFA, BA Econ ‘03) is his counterpart specializing in finance. This role also involves fostering relationships between co-op employers and faculty, acting as a liaison to enhance opportunities for students.

When it comes to co-op and career planning, Buchenauer's biggest piece of advice to students is to actively take advantage of the available resources. "Many of these resources have been available since my time as a student, but are heavily underutilized," says Buchenauer. "I strongly encourage students to engage in conversations about co-op, whether it’s reaching out to Mohsin or I, or connecting with their professors and upper-year peers."

Buchenauer looks forward to continuing his full-circle journey, happy for the opportunity to share with students how he has integrated the learnings from his SAF education and co-op experiences into his professional career. With a foot in the door in industry, he is excited to connect with students and bridge this gap by showing how the skills gained in their courses can be utilized in real professional settings.