Previous University: Northeastern University
Undergraduate Degree: Bachelor of Science in Economics and Business Administration, concentration in Accounting
Q: What sparked your interest in the PlusOne MS in Accounting?
A: I learned about the PlusOne MS in Accounting as an undergraduate student at Northeastern University. The high quality of teaching I had already experienced within the accounting program stood out. I had already built connections with and learned so much from my professors and peers, and I was excited to continue studying in an environment that allowed me to thrive.
I did three internships at PwC through Northeastern's undergraduate co-op program in international tax and asset and wealth management tax. These meaningful experiences confirmed my aspiration of becoming a certified public accountant (CPA.)
The PlusOne was an excellent opportunity that fit my schedule and goals well. It helped me meet the 150-credit requirement to sit for the CPA licensure exam and obtain my master's degree three months after completing my undergraduate degree.
Q: Do you feel prepared for a data-driven accounting world?
A: My classes prepared me well for the accounting profession. Especially at the graduate level, I learned and applied high-level accounting concepts that set me up for success at the start of my career. In particular, the Auditing in a Big Data Environment class offered experience in real-world auditing procedures and data analytics platforms relevant to the profession. Even more so than expected, I use daily a significant portion of technical knowledge and skills gained in the PlusOne.
I applied these skills by participating in Compass, Northeastern's student-led accounting resource center. This unique opportunity allowed me to gain real-world client-focused experience, honing in on communication and leadership skills and additional exposure to accounting software. It helped me realize I enjoy thinking outside the box and working on unique smaller projects. The client I worked with was starting her own bookkeeping business, and it was cool to hear her experiences with becoming a business owner. I gained so much experience working with Compass, and I would highly recommend it to all accounting students.
Q: What drew you to pursue audit for your full-time role?
A: I switched from the tax track to audit during the spring semester of my junior year, a month before I was accepted into the PlusOne. I enjoyed my time in tax, learned a lot, and am so grateful for my experiences. However, I was seeking a career that felt meaningful to me and contributed toward a greater cause. The overarching purpose of the audit profession inspired me; I wanted to serve the public by building trust in financial systems and institutions. The switch to audit was the most important professional decision I've made thus far, and I'm so thankful I took the leap because I feel fulfilled and challenged in my role at PwC.
Q: What advice would you share with future students?
A: If you are interested in a career in financial services, a master's in accounting can help prepare you for the future and set you apart. There's so much more to learn from graduate-level courses. Northeastern offers a fast track to obtaining this skill set through the PlusOne program, from business consolidations to nonprofit accounting, data analytics, and more.
However, the value of this program is not limited to the courses offered or the experiences gained. I built lifelong friendships and connections at Northeastern, both as an undergraduate and within the PlusOne. My time at Northeastern shaped me into who I am today—personally and professionally—because of the people I studied with and learned from. I would encourage future students to use this time to build meaningful connections because I am so grateful I had this experience.
“I never thought I would have the chance to do my master's. I'm proud to be the first person in my family to get a master's degree.” says Lauren Reilly, PlusOne MS in Accounting'22
“I was able to leverage the analytical skills I learned through my education in accounting to pursue a new career in talent acquisition,” says Fingar.
“Today, I am proud to say that I was able to graduate from undergrad in four and a half years with over one year of full-time work experience at a Big Four accounting firm, and half of my master's degree already complete,” says Secchia.