Alumnus Urges Graduates to Build Business Relationships, Focus on Purpose
Carl Carande landed his first job at an on-campus interview just before graduating from California State University, Northridge. In the years since, his degree has taken him to New York City to oversee the United States advisory practice for a global network of professional service firms.
Carande ’87 (Organizational Systems Management) has spent most of his career helping banks and other financial institutions operate more efficiently and profitably. At KPMG, which provides audit, tax and advisory services for some of the largest corporations in the world, Carande is vice chair of the U.S. advisory practice.
His branch of the company is a $3.7-billion enterprise that creates strategy to help companies sell, divest, buy or finance capabilities; offers management consulting services to leverage and implement technologies; and offers risk consulting to ensure clients comply with regulations and put themselves in positions of competitive advantage. Carande is responsible for setting and executing business strategy and managing growth.
“What really makes a career rewarding, and I’ll put it in KPMG parlance, is when the team is growing,” Carande said. “For us, it’s about growing the business, making more partners, making more managing directors, encouraging the team members’ skills so the entire firm can grow.”
Carande shared insightful career advice when he returned to CSUN on May 18 to deliver a speech in the Matadome for the David Nazarian College of Business and Economics’ Department of Accounting and Information Systems commencement recognition ceremony, which honored undergraduate students in accounting and information systems and master’s students in taxation. He urged students to be kind and build relationships at all levels of an organization, to view every assignment as a learning opportunity and to be open to career opportunities rather than having tunnel vision with set deadlines for promotions.
Carande, who grew up in Brockton, Mass., south of Boston — home of boxers Marvelous Marvin Hagler and Rocky Marciano, he’ll tell you — chose CSUN on the recommendation of his older brother, who was attending college in Southern California.
He said he has nothing but fond memories of CSUN — he met and married his resident adviser, Irene, and he took on a number of leadership roles on campus and in his dorm that set him up for leadership opportunities in his career.
“You see what CSUN has become: a tremendously diverse, inclusive campus. That’s really the type of candidates a lot of employers are looking for,” Carande said. “I’m happy to contribute in some small way to make sure KPMG is an active recruiter on campus, which is important. I’m very focused on undergraduate job placement. That first job is really important, and it can set the stage for the rest of their career.”
Carande got his first job during an on-campus interview with Bank of America, and he spent 13 years there, eventually becoming global director of corporate cash management pricing and analysis. He joined KPMG in 2000 and became a partner two years later. He served as national managing partner of advisory services at KPMG from October 2011 to 2015, when he was named to his current role. In 2013, he was named one of Consulting Magazine’s “Top 25 Consultants” for excellence in client service.
He urged CSUN graduates to stay connected to their career purpose, to have a good answer to the question, “Why am I doing this?” That answer will guide professional and other major decisions, he said.
“Your purpose is what will keep you on your path, and connect you to the things you care most about,” Carande said. “I encourage you to think bigger than ‘What job am I going to have?’ or ‘What car am I going to drive?’ Ask yourself, ‘What are the big picture goals and achievements I care the most about, and how do I reach them?’”