Alumni Success Stories
BBA '2018, MAcc '2019
Named 2019 MAcc Outstanding Student, Abmarie completed both her Bachelors of Business Administration in Accounting and Master of Accounting degree in 4.5 years. During her time as a KSU student, she was busy going to class, taking care of a sibling, working weekends, sitting for the CPA exam – and maintaining a 4.0 GPA. She also graduated with 90% of her Master’s degree being paid for through scholarships and awards. That hard work has paid off and Abmarie will be starting a position with EY this Fall.
What inspired you to go into accounting?
I think I always knew I wanted to major in the business field. Yet, I was specifically inclined to accounting because I liked how specific and integral the role of accountants is in business structure of any company. I believe that to be a successful accountant you must have both a clear understanding of the business industry as well as a prospective look to best be able to size future opportunities or mitigate potential risks. Beyond all this, accounting also offers a variety of career paths, because of this I felt I would have room to grow continuously as a professional.
What area of accounting do you plan to go into (Tax, External or Internal Audit) and
It is amazing to think that accounting offers so many opportunities as we advance through our career path. Upon graduation I will enter the working field rotating between an external auditor position and transaction advisory engagements. Personally, I selected this track because as an external auditor you are able to view a company’s position as a whole. Beyond so I also like to think as auditors as individuals who serve as an intermediary between companies and the investing society. Regarding the transaction advisory I was inclined to this due to its mission of helping the client strategize their growth opportunities. I think it is important to remember that no matter what you decide to specialize in you must feel consistently challenged and motivated about your job.
What class and or professor has had the greatest impact on you during your time as
As I think back to all my business professors and even more my accounting professors, I feel they have all played a role in my professional growth. One of the things I most enjoyed about my professors is that they were always willing to share their career experiences with me in a very honest tone. I will also always be thankful for their “open door mentality” throughout my undergraduate career and even now through CPA preparation I have always been able to reach out to my past professors for career tips and course help.
In regard to classes, I think that the best classes have definitely been tax, intermediate accounting, and forensic accounting. All of these classes challenged me intellectually as well as grew my interest for the accounting profession.
What steps have you taken to prepare for your career after you graduate? Tell us about
the accounting recruitment process you went through.
Experience, experience, experience! The accounting content we learn in courses is essential, but I think the most valuable learning is when you are actually out in practice. I am truly certain that my internship experiences allowed me to gain further insight to the accounting profession. Also, very important is network, network, network! “It’s a small world after all” is not an overstatement, it truly is a small accounting world, which means you must make your best impression and build a strong network base while in college. I think joining student organizations, participating in business school events/programs, and maintaining communication links with your peers and professors will help in this area. I have always jokingly said “Recruiting is a full-time job.” As business students we should truly develop the recruiting skill as a second nature. Personally, I have experienced in person interviews, video interviews, office visits, phone interviews, career fairs, lunch meetings, resume submissions, cover letters, reference letters, etc. There really is no telling what companies are going to utilize for their recruiting process therefore I think you feel best prepared for any of these after you do them so often. I would challenge myself to go to events and speak to professionals just to master the skill and beat the nerves of doing so. When it comes to recruiting practice truly does makes perfect!
Tell us about your experience in the MAcc program.
The MAcc program has been a challenging program but also by far one of the best decisions in my career. The KSU MAcc program really is designed to make you grow as an individual and a professional. Some of its key takeaways are preparing and sitting for the CPA certification exam as part of course requirement, exposure to key companies of the Atlanta area, the cohort community established with peers, as well as the dual objective of a MAcc education and CPA preparation. I walked into the program knowing that I wanted to continue my career education, but today, two months from graduation, I definitely feel better equipped with knowledge to better perform in the working field upon graduation. I am most certain that all the professors, staff, and directing body of the program have our best interest in mind and they truly design and operate the program in a matter that will make each student succeed.
What advice would you give students who are thinking about applying to the MAcc program?
My best advice to prospective MAcc students is to assess their own career path and goals and establish how the MAcc will help them meet these. The MAcc will require time and effort sacrifices but I think with a clear objective in mind these will not be seen as a barrier. I had many doubts before applying to the program because of the financial liability it would present, the time commitment, and my eligibility for the program. I was able to talk through most of my doubts with the program directors who were always so helpful and willing to address any concern. I also had the fortune of being nominated for the PCAOB scholarship via the SOA. Beyond so I also received additional funding via the KSU foundation. The combination of these funds sponsored more than half my tuition for the program. Lastly, to ensure my eligibility I met with the program director whom helped me map out my course schedule in order to ensure my eligibility. All in all, I can say my personal experience with the program is that you have to be willing to take the risk and assume the commitment, but in doing so you are gaining a whole support system and a unique skillset that will better prepare you to be successful in your career.
What are your career plans after graduation? What role have you taken with EY?
I have currently signed on full time with EY. I signed on to a rotational program that will consist of nine months of external audit engagements and three months of transaction advisory service engagements. Both are client-based services with different objectives one is reviewing client financials and accounting records to ensure regulatory compliance, whereas the other is more advising the client in major transaction such as mergers & acquisition, consolidation, etc. EY has truly allowed me to experience different areas of accounting and has highlighted their importance of fostering professional growth. I am looking forward to the new experiences and challenges that come with these roles!
Any other information that you would like to share with other accounting students.
If someone would have asked me if I saw myself in accounting, graduating 4.5 years with a MAcc, taking the CPA before full time employment, signing a full time offer before graduation, or landing a job with a Big Four I would have said no. But as I have learned in these past four years the first step in career success is just being courageous enough to take that first step no matter what it is. As mentioned, I believe accounting as a career is filled with opportunities and I am also convinced that SOA at KSU is determined to help us develop our potential to embrace these opportunities. It would be unjust to settle for “good enough” when we truly do have the potential to accomplish anything!