Previous University: Colgate University
Undergraduate Degree: Bachelor of Arts in Mathematical Economics
Q: Tell us about your background.
A: I graduated from Colgate University in 2018 with a bachelor's in mathematical economics. I then began working at Morgan Stanley and Wells Fargo in wealth management and financial advising.
There weren't many growth opportunities in my position. After three years, I felt like I still was doing the same work as my first day. I decided I needed a change. I'm a very ambitious person, and I wanted more room for advancement.
Accounting felt like a natural next step because I love math and numbers. I had experience with financial data and advising clients and liked that the field offers a rigorous promotion schedule and mentorship programs to help you grow. I spoke with several CPAs before deciding to take the leap and apply to programs.
Q: What sets D'Amore-McKim's program apart from the rest?
A: When I started looking into programs, it was imperative to find one that included work experience. D'Amore-McKim's accounting program stood out to me because it included an MBA and a corporate residency. I admired that D'Amore-McKim built the corporate residency into their program, so I didn't have to choose between working and my education; I could dedicate my time to gaining work experience, making connections, and experiencing what it's like working in accounting.
The accelerated timeline is amazing, especially for someone not coming directly from undergrad and eager to start their career. It's highly impressive that I can earn a combined MBA and master's degree and work experience within 15 months. The MBA portion of my degree is a bonus. It'll provide an advantage and make me more marketable as I progress in my career.
Q: Tell me about the three months you spent working at KPMG.
A: I worked as an audit intern in KPMG New York Financial Services on the capital markets and banking team. I've been lucky enough to do first-year associate-level work and even some second-year work during my residency.
Despite communication being primarily virtual, my team was very helpful and willing to answer questions. They would set aside time to explain the “why” behind everything. I appreciated that, and it was admirable to see higher-level people in a big firm taking the time to explain auditing at its core and why we do the things we do.
The most significant thing I gained besides experience was confidence. Thanks to bi-weekly performance reviews, I recognized that I'm a big help to my team, even as a resident. This newfound confidence was beneficial going into a new career, especially after leaving one and restarting; it made it feel like I belonged. I finally found my passion, and it was all worthwhile.
I had such an amazing experience at KPMG, and I cannot speak highly enough about it. After graduation, I've now accepted a full-time position in capital markets and banking as a first-year associate. I'm super excited to continue on at KPMG after graduation.
Q: Do you feel that your coursework prepared you well for your residency?
A: I think my accounting classes have prepared me well. Northeastern professors do a great job facilitating conversations using accounting terminology during class, which was very useful. When discussing financial statements at work, you need to understand the different terms and how to discuss them in a group.
I was also grateful to have learned the Tableau software in class, as it helped me transition easily to the firm's proprietary tools.
My audit professor was a partner at Deloitte and had many experiences to share. Hearing those experiences, absorbing them, and taking them with me to my internship worked to my advantage.
Q: Can you tell us about your interest in using accounting to help your community?
A: I learned about environmental, social, and governance (ESG) investing when working in financial advising, and I thought it was such an incredible trend. The social and corporate governance aspects resonated with me because of the work I've done in my community to foster equality.
I foresee ESG becoming part of many businesses moving forward. There's a big push for us to rethink how operations impact more than the bottom line. In the accounting field, many industries are trying to formalize how they can audit while incorporating ESG standards. Companies are researching how to tax carbon and limit emissions, and diversity laws are being passed emphasizing how different perspectives can create a more efficient and effective business.
As I progress in my career, I'm interested in ESG consulting and helping companies become more environmentally effective, and make a positive social impact. I'm excited to be a part of this mission.
Q: How would you advise someone considering a career change to accounting?
A: I would recommend speaking to as many people as possible and listening to different perspectives. Don't hesitate to explore prospects; if you're considering a change, there's a reason for it. I'm so happy that I took a risk to grow and develop.
It's also important to continue learning, be ambitious, and encourage growth. Accounting is the perfect field for that. Also, every industry needs accountants, allowing you to follow other passions. If you're passionate about science, you can do accounting in the medical field. If you're passionate about the environment, ESG is up and coming. There are so many ways to pursue an accounting career. Don't be afraid; the Graduate School of Professional Accounting team faculty gives you all the tools you need to succeed and feel comfortable making that change. It's up to you to take the first step.
“The accounting corporate residency enabled me to build the self-confidence necessary to excel at work and also gave me the opportunity to develop strong relationships within the company that will help me begin my full-time career on the right foot,” says Victoria Sponsel, MS in Accounting/MBA'18
“I would highly recommend D'Amore-McKim. The program's connections to some of the biggest accounting firms in the world and the paid corporate residency make it worth it in itself, but the hands-on experience coupled with the classroom knowledge make this program an even bigger no-brainer for anyone interested in accounting.”
Undergraduate Degree: Journalism
“It's the perfect program for career changers. It provided a seamless transition from the arts to accounting.”
Undergraduate Degree: Jazz Drums, Electronic Production