Skip to main content
Blake Oliver
More Than I Imagined Seniors reflect on accomplishments and look ahead

Blake Oliver

Graduation year: 2024

High school: Bartlett High School

Hometown: Carol Stream, Ill.

Majors: Accounting; business administration – finance; business administration – business intelligence; data analytics – business analytics

Internships: Sikich

Post-grad plans: Auditor at Deloitte in Davenport, Iowa

Why Augustana?

I chose Augustana because it is one of the best colleges for accounting majors, and I had an opportunity to play baseball at the collegiate level.

Are you where you thought you'd be when you first came to campus?

Not even close. I expected to have only an accounting major and to still be playing baseball. A few injuries took baseball away, but allowed me to pick up two and eventually three more majors. 

When I heard the students explain how they were double majoring when I visited campus, I thought it would be too much work. However, I was able to work with all of my professors and advisors to create a schedule that still allowed me free time while attending class and completing assignments.

Who helped you get to where you are now?

Everyone at Augustana helped me get to where I am now, but I wouldn't have known that without the help of Dr. Delaney, Professor Schwartz, Dr. Coe, Mr. Bobbitt and all my professors. 

Professor Melton gave me an opportunity to do the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program and gave my name to Mr. Bobbitt for me to help our international students complete their tax returns. Around the same time, Dr. Delaney gave me the opportunity to help a local church complete its yearly audit. Since I took these opportunities, I was able to receive more opportunities. 

Dr. Zhou gave me an opportunity to join a team competing in the Chartered Financial Analyst Research competition in Chicago. Through this experience I was able to meet Mr. Anderson and continue advancing. 

Professor Schwartz, along with the entire Accounting Department nominated me for an internship with FASB/GASB. All of these opportunities, and more, allowed me get to where I am now.

Peak experience?

All of my experiences at Augustana were peak experiences, but the best was the National Character and Leadership Symposium. Augustana flew me to the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs to spend three days learning from the cadets and listening to speakers on how to improve my leadership skills. I heard from CEOs, Medal of Honor recipients, Air Force leaders and a multitude of other experienced professionals. At night I hung out with the cadets and learned the similarities and differences in our lives.

What surprised you?

The biggest surprise at Augustana is how many opportunities there are. Augustana is great at teaching, but taking advantage of the opportunities is amazing. I was able to work with Augustana's comptroller and CFO, go the Air Force Academy leadership symposium, perform real audits and provide real help to churches, complete real tax returns, present to a CEO, and even be on the news!

How did you use your Augie Choice?

My internship covered the cost for most things so I was not able to use my Augie Choice.

What will you miss the most?

I will miss the people the most. I have created connections and relationships at Augustana with my advisors, professors and faculty that I am really going to miss. Augustana has prepared me well to enter the workforce, but the people will always have a special place in my heart.

Advice for the Class of 2028?

My best advice is take the opportunities given to you. If something interests you, and there is more you can do outside of class, take that opportunity. Not only will it improve your academic learning, it will also help you do some incredible things.

"It has been a real pleasure working with Blake these past four years. He is an outstanding student and contributor to the Accounting Department. Between volunteering to do taxes for low-income individuals and projects for local non-profits, Blake provided more community service during his time at Augustana than any other student I can remember — just one reason Blake is our Outstanding Senior Accounting Student this year. He will no doubt be a star at Deloitte when he begins his career in public accounting."

– Dr. John Delaney, professor and S. James Galley Chair of Accounting