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Alex Oliveira: Building Connections with Students

Alex Oliveira
Alex Oliveira

Before faculty member Alex Oliveira came to Pensacola Christian College, he received three job offers almost at the same time, one of which was from PCC.

Since Oliveira had worked as an auditor for ten-and-a-half years, it would be a step of faith to accept a faculty position. However, after spending time in prayer with his wife Priscilla, Oliveira knew God was leading them to PCC, where he could use his knowledge and experience to help prepare finance students for excellence in their own future careers.

“My main goal as an instructor is to prepare students to perform well in their jobs,” said Oliveira. To accomplish this goal, Oliveira does more than lecture on key concepts and principles of the finance field—he shares examples from his own work experiences. “I bring a lot of career information to the students, so they can make a decision about their future and focus on what God called them to do.”

Alumnus Jarrett Swank (Accounting ’18) acknowledged Oliveira’s ability to connect with his students. “Mr. Oliveira is an incredible teacher who understands the current pressures young people face,” said Swank. “He is kind with his students and blends an amazing sense of humor with practical, understandable instruction. This blend creates an instant connection with each student regardless of their background or accounting career goals.”

Alex Oliveira teaching in front of a class of PCC students.

To make his instruction feel practical, Oliveira references experiences from his previous work as an auditor at PricewaterhouseCoopers, a multinational network of firms, both in Brazil and in the United States.

“During that time,” Alex Oliveira said, “I audited financial statements of major international corporations such as Volkswagen Bank, Hedging-Griffo Investment Funds, Credit Suisse Bank, BankBoston, Embraer, Peugeot Citroën, Freddie Mac, Eastman Kodak, etc.”

Once he and his wife moved to Florida, however, Oliveira determined to become a licensed CPA in the United States. “In the U.S., I had to take all four parts of the CPA exam. It was a big challenge since I studied on average 120 hours per section of the exam while working full-time,” said Oliveira. “To keep my CPA, I have to take 40 hours of professional training every year through seminars, conferences, [and] online learning.”

Becoming a CPA has enabled Oliveira to confidently highlight material that will help his own students prepare to obtain a CPA license, if they so desire. Oliveira explained, “Studying for the CPA helped me as an instructor to prepare assignments focusing on the topics that are tested the most on the CPA exam.”

Alex Oliveira holding a textbook and writing on a chalkboard.

In addition to preparing lectures, updating assignments, and researching changes to the accounting and auditing fields, Oliveira said that he spends “a lot of time helping students with career decisions” such as applying for jobs and graduate school, as well as offering advice about their résumés.

One of these students was Swank himself, who now works for KPMG, a Big Four accounting organization. “I really enjoyed taking Auditing and Advanced Auditing with Mr. Oliveira and then started talking with him in his office about this new program KPMG was creating that merged data and analytics with auditing,” Swank said. Once he felt confident in which career path he wanted to follow, Swank got Oliveira’s help in taking those next steps. “[Oliveira] proofed my résumé and wrote a letter to Ohio State recommending me,” said Swank.

As he looked back on Oliveira’s influence, Swank acknowledged, “He is a big reason why I as a farm kid from Michigan transitioned well into Ohio State, entered public accounting, and received my CPA license in Massachusetts.”

Read more about how God is directing and working through PCC faculty and alumni.