Some say it’s grit. Others describe it as putting your shoulder to the wheel.

Whatever you call it, Manchester accounting graduates are known for their work ethic, and Brandon Renninger ’20 is proud to have joined their ranks.  “At the end of the day, whether you succeed or not has a lot to do with your work ethic,” says Brandon. “You have to work hard and be determined.”

This month, Brandon will complete bachelor’s degrees in accounting and finance. Thanks to two successful internships at Baden Gage and Schroeder – a tax, accounting and consulting firm in Fort Wayne – Brandon had a job waiting for him there. He also is one of Manchester’s first graduates of the 3+1 Master of Accountancy, earning 150 credits and preparing him for the CPA exam.

Two things drew the Columbia City, Ind., native to MU. “As far as my career, I knew that Manchester was 100 percent the way to go because of its accounting program,” says Brandon. 

The other reason was Coach Corey Brueggeman ’12 and the Spartan soccer program. Soccer helped Brandon make close, lasting friendships, and it taught him a lot about work ethic. “Playing soccer and balancing all that school work was very hard,” says Brandon, who did homework on the bus rides to and from soccer matches. “It’s what you have to do if you’re a student-athlete.” 

He appreciates that associate professors Jennifer Shock ’94 Simmers and Heather Clark ’96 Twomey had “teaching styles that aligned with how I learned,” says Brandon. They did not, however, allow shortcuts. “They always tried to push us and make us earn our grades.”

Brandon played soccer for three years and loved it, but didn’t play his senior year to concentrate on academics. His finance degree pairs well with accounting and gives him something extra in the job market, as does his master’s degree, which saves considerable time and money. “I knew that if I could finish in four years it’s that much sooner that I could get out in the world.” 

That world is starting at Baden Gage and Schroeder, a relatively small firm and, much like Manchester, a tight community where Brandon says, “Everyone is super friendly.”

Brandon hopes to advance in his career as far as he can and, thanks to Manchester, the idea of working hard for it doesn’t faze him.

He also wants to stay connected to Manchester friends in the Fort Wayne area and find a life balance that, Brandon says, will leave plenty of time for a home and family. “I think I have a lot to look forward to.” 

By Melinda Lantz ’81