M.S. in Accounting 2009 (Financial Reporting & Assurance Track)Now: PricewaterhouseCoopers, Manager (New York City, NY)
Most memorable class
I absolutely enjoyed every class during my time at McIntire. “Leading for Success in the Accounting Profession” was incredible in helping me understand how I could be a leader in the profession. Since then, I’ve strived to continuously emulate the concepts I learned in that class. The accounting policy class expanded my myopic view of accounting. Understanding the standard-setting process and how it interacts with the political process was so interesting. This class actually sparked my interest in the FASB’s PTA program. I also really enjoyed “Special Topics in Financial Reporting.” I took this class when the crisis was at its peak and around the time Bank of America and Merrill merged. Our discussions in class quickly switched to understanding the role financial reporting played.
Leveraging the M.S. in Accounting degree in the workplace
My degree represents the skills I learned, the relationships I developed, and the network I am now part of as an alum. Fellow alumni have been extremely supportive of me at work. Some have even become informal mentors/advisers.
Typical day on the job
On my current project, we’re assisting a large cable company carve out about 11% of its business. This carve out is mandated by the FCC in order for our client to successfully close on its planned merger with another major cable company. As the manager on the project, I am leading a team of about seven seniors and associates; my typical day involves serving as the liaison between client, my team, and our project managers. I have daily meetings with the client team, which includes the assistant controller, to provide status on the carve out financial statements. With my team, I manage the carve out process and address any “fire drills” that may arise—for example, investigating and resolving a carve out balance that seems odd or not trending with prior periods.
What makes the job great
Working on a variety of interesting deals that you all may see on the front page of newspapers. But what I enjoy the most is working with motivated and hard-working individuals.
Advice for future M.S. in Accounting students
Don’t be afraid to take risks, to step outside of your comfort zone and pursue what others may deem as an “unconventional” career path. My career has evolved a lot over the past five years, and I’ve realized that it has slowly curved toward matching my personal interests to critical business agendas of the firm. That’s the benefit of working for a large organization—there’s always an opportunity for you within the firm. Identifying and pursuing these opportunities require you to take your career into your own hands and managing it actively. That’s how you stay engaged and motivated, when your day-to-day job has a personal meaning to you. In a few months I’ll be moving to Lagos, Nigeria, via London to help a partner there officially kick off PwC’s capital markets practice in Nigeria. I’ve always had an interest in spending time working on my home continent, so when this opportunity came about, I jumped on it.
As an undergraduate, I didn’t quite have the opportunity to step back and internalize my experience. I was working full time and going to school in the evenings/night. My priorities were a little different then. However, at McIntire, I had a year to essentially “figure myself out.” I was able to engage fully in my classes, interact with my classmates, and explore UVA’s various programs and facilities. This whole process allowed me to find my authentic self and understand what truly motivates me within the accounting space. The classes I took looked beyond the technical aspects of accounting. Interacting with extremely bright students to resolve a wide variety of business issues, not only accounting matters, broadened my perspective and enabled me to think critically. That skill and mindset have stuck with me, and have obviously evolved since I left McIntire.
Favorite Charlottesville activity
I absolutely loved participating in intramural sports, especially inter-tube water polo. I also thoroughly enjoyed visiting the surrounding wineries.