Master of Science in Accountancy alumni finding success beyond graduation
In December, the first class of graduates from AU’s Master of Science in Accountancy program earned their degrees, and quickly the cohort of students began to distinguish themselves in the marketplace. Equipped with advanced accounting knowledge, leadership skills and real-world application of complex theories, these AU graduates became stand-out candidates for positions in the Chicagoland area. Vicky Sheers, ’13, is just one of these examples.
Sheers had landed a position in corporate accounting after she completed her undergraduate degree, but realized that she wanted to deepen her knowledge, pursue her CPA license and make a difference in the field with her expertise. She came to AU because she found a program that would fit her lifestyle – one that allowed her to balance the demands of working full-time and raising a toddler all while earning a degree that would help her get ahead. “In the end,” she says, “It was a lot of work, but it was worth it.”
For Sheers, it was the AU professors who made the experience both meaningful and feasible. “My professors, particularly David Diehl and Don Danner, pushed me to work hard and pursue my career,” she said. “Throughout the program, I was in talks with them every week, discussing career possibilities, leadership styles and specific coursework. Their insight was both interesting and knowledgeable, and they pushed me to think critically, use professional skepticism and apply classroom theories to my current job.”
In March, Sheers accepted a position as Assurance Associate at Pricewaterhouse Coopers, where she’s putting into practice the knowledge she gained while at AU. “As an auditor, you need to approach your work with skepticism, and to have great communication skills. Both of those were central to the MSA program at AU,” she said.
Now, Sheers has her sights set on the next step in her career – passing the CPA exam and moving into a leadership position at PwC. “I know that I’m prepared for the CPA,” she says. “The MSA program is specifically structured around preparation for each portion of the test.”
Sheers’ classmate, Lindsay McGoldrick, ’12, ’13, is likewise standing out after earning her MSA degree. McGoldrick accepted a position at Northern Trust as an Associate Accountant in January, shortly after completing both her undergraduate and graduate degrees at AU.
“I actually applied to two positions at Northern Trust upon the recommendation of my professor Steve Wells,” she said. “I wanted a position that would combine my undergraduate degree in finance with my graduate work in accounting, and he advised that Northern Trust would meet that description. I was offered both positions, and was happy to begin in the Associate Accountant role earlier this year.”
McGoldrick credits her success in landing the right job to the real-world preparation she received in her courses. “In the MSA program, everyone is working toward the same goal and have jobs in the field,” she said. “In my classes, I could see everyone’s angles on a project and how they were taking the knowledge from the program back to their career roles. The professors also shared their real-life stories, which brought the theories full circle.”
“Today, I am using everything that I learned both as an undergrad and a graduate student,” she says. “My job in financial reporting covers every class I’ve ever taken.”