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Ryan Polk

Ryan Polk

M.S. in Accounting 2016 (Tax Consulting Track)
Now: Ernst & Young, Tax Staff (McLean, VA)

Undergrad school

College of William & Mary

Most memorable class

Negotiation with Professor O'Connor; the class was an eye-opening experience into how quick we are to make basic mistakes in the middle of a negotiation. The opportunity to be in a class with nearly the entire cohort—while learning a really valuable life skill—was a lot of fun!

Leveraging the M.S. in Accounting degree in the workplace

Although I've been out of school for only a few months, it's really cool to be a part of the McIntire alumni network. Through an alumnus, I was placed with the international tax group at EY, which has been an amazing learning opportunity in an area of tax you don't see in school. I look forward to returning to Charlottesville to recruit new hires.

A typical day on the job

No two days are really typical at a major accounting firm. My days as a first year staff have consisted of preparing returns, joining client interviews for consulting engagements, and assisting with major transactions involving multinational corporations and their respective tax jurisdictions.

What makes the job great

It might sound cliché, but I would definitely say the people I work with. Whether it's in the office taking a break from work, at the nearby Biergarten after work, or at a softball game—there's always an opportunity to have a lot of fun.

Advice for future M.S. in Accounting students

In order to get the most from the program, I'd advise future students to go outside of their comfort zones. Whether that's improving public speaking or learning something about the tax code, the program does a great job of allowing you to improve and become a better professional in a low stakes environment. In addition, have fun! There's so much to do in the area and the people who come to McIntire are fantastic. My class became like a family by the end of the year, and I look forward to staying in touch (and working with a few!).

Preparation for professional success and leadership in the workplace

McIntire left me, as someone in tax, prepared technically for my profession through the classes that were part of the Tax Track. More importantly, the program helped me become a better teammate and communicator, an invaluable skill in public accounting.