Previous University: UMass Boston
Military Branch of Service: U.S. Marine Corps
Undergraduate Degree: Accounting
Q: What were you looking for in a graduate school?
A: As an accounting major, it was important to me to expand on what I had already learned, so I wanted a next-level program rather than one aimed at people without an accounting background. D’Amore-McKim really stood out in that area—when it came to the range of coursework they offered for the MS in Accounting, the other schools I was looking at didn’t compare.
Also, I was active duty for five years in the Marine Corps before college. Northeastern has a reputation for being a very military-friendly school, with programs and resources that support veterans after their service.
Q: What did Northeastern’s military support look like for you?
A: Northeastern participates in Yellow Ribbon matching for veterans, so they partnered with Veterans Affairs to pay for my tuition beyond what the GI bill covered. And once I was in school, the CAVS center (the Dolce Center for the Advancement of Veterans and Servicemembers) was really great. They run lots of networking events, offer scholarships, even cover expenses like parking. CAVS also helped me connect with other veterans who were making the transition from the military to the corporate world.
The career support from the GSPA was incredible also. The director’s door was always open for me to talk about my questions and concerns, and the faculty were great resources for career guidance, from helping me set a schedule for the CPA exam to sharing industry knowledge.
Q: Did you know how much data analytics would factor into an accounting career before you came to Northeastern?
A: I had an idea of the potential, but I didn’t realize how much knowledge I would acquire in the program and be able to apply in my daily life. There was a dedicated data analytics course that introduced us to a couple of software tools—but it was more than that. It was about the mindset surrounding data and how it’s used in the phases of an audit, and how to leverage that for testing. That really kickstarted my understanding of the future of the industry.
Q: That interest in data eventually landed you a great job offer. What are you doing now?
A: I started in the Market Information and Data Analytics (MIDA) group at PwC, where I got the chance to apply what I learned in the program to my role. Our group is responsible for gathering and distributing market information and provides automated technology solutions to engagement teams across all lines of service. After my first year at PwC, I made a transition to core assurance in the Asset and Wealth Management sector.
Q: Do you think having data analytics skills gives you more opportunities as an accountant?
A: One hundred percent. The usage of data analytics and implementing digital tools creates efficiencies and enhances the quality of deliverables, which creates a value add and improves the client’s overall experience. I still don’t know exactly what I want to do long-term, but by earning my MS in Accounting at Northeastern, I’ve built a skill set that’s very flexible and adaptable in a changing environment, so I’ll be able to choose my own path.
“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.”
“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.