Sarah West’s message to graduates: You are the company you keep

As spring approaches, MSUM students are ordering caps and gowns, finishing their last research projects, and preparing for the next chapter of their lives. Graduation is a time of excitement and uncertainty for what’s to come. On commencement day, it helps students to hear encouragement from others who have been in their shoes.

That’s why Minnesota State University Moorhead is welcoming Sarah West as the spring 2024 commencement speaker. Sarah graduated from MSUM in 2007 with degrees in finance and accounting. After working in the financial sector for more than 20 years, she became an entrepreneur and is the founder of Light Consulting, a financial consulting and executive coaching firm in West Fargo, N.D. along with having ownership of two other businesses and four properties.

4+1 MBA with Accounting and Finance

Sarah chose MSUM because it was close to home in Ulen, Minn., and it offered an outstanding reputation in finance. “MSUM’s finance program was the deciding factor for me to attend,” she says. She added her accounting major when she took an accounting basics course and fell in love with the subject and knew it would be worth it to add to her coursework.

Sarah filled her time on campus with classes, full time employment and internships. She completed an internship with Northwestern Mutual and finished second in the nation in insurance policies sold by an intern during her senior year. After graduation, Sarah set out to explore her skillset in financial and accounting firms that she enjoyed most.

Over the years, she has worn many hats in finance and saw the potential for consultant work on her own terms. Today, at Light Consulting, she helps small- to medium-sized businesses navigate financial arenas, such as working with tax strategy and creative financial offerings. She also runs Light Workforce Solutions, a labor solution for business needs in the Fargo-Moorhead area and is an investor in Dale Carnegie of North Dakota and Northwest Minnesota. Sarah understands that to whom much is given, much is required, therefore, she has served on a number of boards over the years and current holds seats at Park Christian School, United Way and the MSUM Paseka College of Business Advisory Board.

Pictured: The Light Consulting Team

Sarah appreciates the community's support for the Light Consulting team and the services they provide. Her message to graduates this May is a lesson that still resonates with her today. “You are the company you keep,” she says. Surrounding yourself with the people you desire to be like will make a difference in your aspirations. While students may feel lost at this time, she says “everyone is unique, but you shouldn’t feel alone, everyone is still figuring things out.”

View Commencement Spring 2024 details.

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