Current Position: Associate, FSO Assurance Services, EY
Previous University: Florida State University
Undergraduate Degree: Accounting
Q: What was your background before coming to the MS in Accounting program?
A: Accounting really just fell into my lap as an undergraduate student. I was taking some business prerequisites because I wasn’t sure what I wanted career-wise, and when I took my first financial accounting course, I didn’t know a credit from a debit. But the professor told us, “For half of you this will click, and for half of you, it just won’t.” For me, it did. Accounting is like a puzzle where everything fits together.
Q: Why did you decide to pursue a master’s degree?
A: I feel you need a master’s degree to be competitive today. I wanted to go to a business school that had a great reputation, and I wanted to get my education in a city where I could really grow my career.
Q: What about the MS in Accounting program at D’Amore-McKim convinced you to enroll?
A: I thought Northeastern’s coursework would do an excellent job preparing me for the CPA exam—since that was my ultimate goal—but also would introduce me to important topics I didn’t have experience with, like big data. It was a really nice blend. My instincts on that were right. Later on, when I interviewed for my current job, the senior managers were happy that I had exposure to the technological side of accounting in addition to the fundamentals.
When I visited the school, the program staff were so warm and welcoming; they just made me feel at home and made it clear they cared about each of us as individuals. I thought, wow—this is the place I should be. It was an easy decision.
Q: How did Northeastern prepare you for your current career?
A: I work in assurance at EY, under the umbrella of wealth and asset management, so I’m doing audits for clients in private equity, mutual funds, and hedge funds. My job is group work by definition—you have to have good communication skills. In the audit track of the MS in Accounting program, we were constantly paired up or put in groups for projects, which developed my ability to collaborate with people with different leadership styles and personalities and schedules. Especially now with everyone working virtually, that’s even more critical.
Before I graduated, the director of the MS in Accounting program went above and beyond to help prepare me to interview remotely for jobs, which was where companies were already headed before the COVID crisis hit. She personally did mock interviews with me, helping me nail down the soft skills I needed to look into a webcam and present myself professionally. I did my remote interviews with EY, and I got the offer. Actually, the only two people hired at EY in the Boston office in January were me and one of my MS in Accounting classmates. I think that’s a real testament to the program.
Q: What would you tell someone currently considering the MS in Accounting program?
A: You can’t go wrong choosing this path. I loved it. Great program, great faculty, great city, great people. This program expanded my horizons in so many ways, and I made friends for life. It was the best decision I could have made for my graduate education.
“D’Amore-McKim sets up their programs to encourage students to go beyond the ordinary,” says Salami.
In Internal Audit, presenting to a real client about a project you helped initiate into their company is the most “real life” experience you’ll get in a classroom,” says Cassara.
“The 6-month program is a perfect fit for me because I am able to complete it right after finishing my undergraduate degree in accounting and just in time for busy season,” says Reyes.