Previous University: University of Massachusetts, Lowell
Q: What led you to pursue accounting?
A: After graduating in 2014 and completing several health-related internships, I wasn't sure what direction to take in my career. Hoping to find a field I could thrive in, I connected with a recruiter, and in 2017, I began working at the Massachusetts Society of CPAs where I attended events featuring CPAs. At these events, the speakers would discuss their career paths and the variety of interpersonal and analytical skills needed to be successful in the field. I had never considered how much of the accounting profession was about people—I thought it was all numbers! As someone who loves puzzles, critical thinking, and interacting with people, I realized that accounting was well-suited to my skillset, and I began seriously considering it as a career path.
Q: Why did you choose to pursue your graduate degree at D'Amore-McKim?
A: When I worked at the Massachusetts Society of CPAs, we collaborated with Northeastern's Graduate School of Professional Accounting for an event. Through this event, I learned that Northeastern had an accounting program for people with non-business backgrounds and that I could satisfy the educational requirements to become a CPA.
I was impressed with Northeastern's academic reputation, as well as the opportunity to gain real-world experience through the corporate residency program.
Q: Your corporate residency was as a tax intern at LGA. What were your responsibilities?
A: I worked with the family, estate, and financial tax group, where I did individual taxes for high-net-worth individuals, as well as estate planning. I started in the winter, and by the time tax season arrived, I was extremely busy. I spent most of my time prepping tax returns until I returned to school in April—and the quick pace meant I was able to become a valuable part of the team, where I was treated like a true associate.
Of course, my tax class was immediately helpful in this role, but the Master's in Accounting/MBA program also taught me a lot about communication. We focused on professional development and how to speak with other professionals. Presenting is one of the most valuable skills I developed in class because I know I'll be using it at all levels of my career; it was initially nerve-wracking, but the sheer volume of presentations in my business courses gave me valuable practice. I can confidently say that when I delivered my final presentation at Northeastern, I felt entirely at ease.
Q: How has your time at D'Amore McKim prepared you for your professional career?
A: To succeed in public accounting, I need my CPA license. I'm currently studying for the CPA exam, and I've found that Northeastern has prepared me extremely well. My professors guided us toward important exam topics, and I've found that a lot of my preparation is reviewing topics I learned in class.
When I entered the Master's in Accounting/MBA Program, I was initially more focused on the accounting part of the degree. I knew I would benefit from the MBA portion as someone from a non-business background, but I was focused on getting my CPA license, which the accounting curriculum would help me with. I've since realized how vital the foundational knowledge of the MBA coursework was. My understanding of accounting is rooted in my understanding of business. Not only will my combined degree set me apart from the competition, but I'm also well-equipped to understand the perspectives of the clients and businesses that I serve.
Q: Would you recommend this program to prospective students?
A: This program is a fantastic opportunity for students like me, who are looking for new opportunities. My class was a great mix of students who had just finished their undergrad degrees and students who had been working for years. Our greatest strength as a community was the variety of our backgrounds. I had never realized how many applications an accounting degree could have—taxes, audits, consulting, government, and even the FBI.
Q: What advice would you share with future students?
A: You don't need an accounting degree to succeed in this program. When I began at Northeastern, I was terrified of failing. I remember being assigned a case study on my second day and freaking out because I had never written a case study before. Entering an entirely new field felt intimidating at the time, but the support I received from my professors and peers helped me realize that I was capable of things I never imagined. Everyone on campus genuinely wants you to succeed. Use the resources available to you. Go to office hours, and don't be afraid to use your classmates as a sounding board. I met wonderful people in my cohort that I wouldn't have made it through without.
Above all, keep an open mind. Take advantage of every opportunity and every connection. The network you form here is invaluable.