Nikki Dement
nikki dement ernst young best companies
Title: Staff 2 Employee
Company: Ernst & Young

Nikki Dement got a jump on the job market early. She started college at UGA in 2006, when she was 17. Immediately after her freshman year, she started looking for ways to get her foot in the door in accounting, a field she says had always piqued her interest.

She applied to jobs through her college counselor at a UGA program called INROADS, which helps underserved youth get started in business and industry at some of the top companies in the country. In May 2007, Dement says, she heard from the INROADS recruiter. "They told me, 'We have Ernst & Young, and they want to talk to you.' They said, 'you seem very eager -- you're young, but you're very eager.'"

Dement went into Ernst & Young's emerging leader's program, and was hired on for a two-year internship at the company. By the time she graduated, Dement already had years of experience with the company, which she joined officially as an employee in October 2011.

"I have a strong year under my belt," she says. "I've done a lot of work with the largest accounts -- one being a public offering, which was awesome." Now she's an entry-level employee in the firm's Atlanta office, working in financial services.

In the future, Dement says, "I really want to serve banking clients. This is such an interesting time."

  @FortuneMagazine - Last updated January 17 2013 09:46 AM ET
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