Chapel Hill, NC
Chapel Hill, NC
Student-Athlete, UNC-Chapel Hill
Academic background: Management and Society, UNC-Chapel Hill
Athletes are more than just brawn and athleticism – they possess a unique set of skills and traits that make them perfectly suited for the world of finance. Gabi Hall is a driven and accomplished student-athlete who has excelled both on and off the lacrosse field. After completing her undergraduate degree at the UNC- Chapel Hill and being a part of the UNC Women’s Lacrosse team that won a national championship in 2022, Gabi has continued her academic pursuits at the Kenan-Flagler Business School where she is currently enrolled in the Master of Accounting (MAC) program.
While contemplating her next steps after graduation, she found the MAC program which would allow her to continue to play the sport she loves and embark on a new profession in business. Throughout her time at UNC, she proved herself to be a skilled and dedicated player; however, COVID-19 and an injury temporarily forced her off the field. “The opportunity to continue my education and play lacrosse for the next two years is truly the silver lining of the Covid and injury years”. She knew that Kenan-Flagler provided outstanding education and opportunities for its students, so the MAC program was an obvious choice for her.
What separates this program from the rest, according to Gabi, is the fact that you don’t need an accounting or business background, allowing for different student perspectives. The structured recruiting process, online program flexibility, lack of “bean counters,” and the program’s ability to transcend the online classroom have all been notable attributes of the UNC MAC program for her.
Being a student-athlete in the MAC program has not been without its challenges, but Gabi has found the online program’s flexibility to be crucial to her success. She appreciates the support she receives from everyone in the program and the community of Carolina. Her career aspirations after the MAC program are to work with an accounting firm or go into corporate finance. She believes that this program will lead her to greater opportunities and help her extend beyond her current potential.
Ernst & Young
New York, New York
Tax Associate, EY
Academic background: Music, UNC-Chapel Hill
In her junior year at Carolina, Zhuo was pursuing a degree in music with a voice performance focus when the COVID-19 pandemic began, and it continued through her senior year.
Just a month after graduation, she went from studying piano and voice to joining the Master of Accounting Program at UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School.
Zhuo dove into the one-year MAC Program and the community. As a student with a non-traditional academic background and as an underrepresented minority, Zhuo was nervous about fitting in.
“I had some reservations, but the more I looked at Carolina’s program, and how it was so welcoming of students from non-traditional backgrounds, it really drew me in,” she says.
Zhuo’s MAC studies helped refine her career path, both in accounting and the arts. The two fields unexpectedly compliment and inform each other, she says.
After graduation, Zhuo joined Ernst & Young’s financial service organization as a tax associate in New York. She feels she has the well-rounded education to one day launch a side career in social justice advocacy and arts entrepreneurship.
“Accounting and working in financial services provide many tools needed to be able to serve areas in need,” says Zhuo. “I am really grateful for my time at Carolina. It helped give me the courage and drive to try different things. I developed into an agile learner. It made me unafraid to change paths.”
Charlotte, North Carolina
Audit Assistant, Deloitte
Previous role: Accounting Assistant, Agile Capital Management
Academic background: Political Science, Philosophy Minor, UNC-Chapel Hill
Dayelin Anuel was in her final years of undergrad at UNC-Chapel Hill when she started seriously considering the Master of Accounting (MAC) program at UNC Kenan-Flagler. Having participated in the MAC Mentorship program while receiving her bachelor’s degree, Dayelin knew the return on investment that she would get from obtaining a UNC MAC degree. “My junior year, I spoke with the director of the UNC MAC Program and was given guidance on how I could make the program fit for me, and the many opportunities having a MAC degree could offer me,” says Dayelin.
After finding out that she was expecting her now 3-year-old son, Dayelin realized that the online format for the MAC degree was the best choice for her and her growing family. “The UNC MAC program offered a master’s degree without the need to have an accounting background or prerequisites, and it offered a flexible online program that fit my wild schedule,” she says. With a desire to round out her professional skillset, Dayelin decided to pursue both the Audit and the Financial Analysis & Reporting concentrations offered by UNC MAC.
Once in the program, Dayelin participated in the structured recruiting process run by the program’s Career Services team and landed a position with Deloitte in Charlotte, North Carolina. “They were able to help me work through my networking skills, enhance my resume and advise me in my career path,” she shared. “Career services was such a huge help with my ultimate decision in joining Deloitte, and without their help, I wouldn’t have been able to really improve my professional skills.”
When reflecting on her time in the program, Dayelin credits the instructors, mentors, students and staff with helping her reach her career goals. “It is one huge support system, and everyone is there to give a helping hand,” says Dayelin. “Having these amazing people support and motivate you throughout the program is an incredible benefit of joining the MAC program.”
Gino Esposito (BSBA ’21, MAC ’22) radiates positivity even when the world can be downright gloomy. He is a renaissance man with interests that range from wrestling to short story writing. But more than his eclectic skillset sets him apart. In these times especially, his kindness and humanity are noteworthy.
After a trip abroad in undergrad, Esposito began to think about entering the Catholic priesthood. Esposito says he never imagined such a life before taking this trip. It had a large impact on his mindset. What’s most interesting and unexpected is that Esposito’s desire to follow his faith and become a priest have not changed his motivation to learn more about business.
While most would believe that a priest might eschew business, Esposito has a completely different stance. Instead, he sees his knowledge of business as being a way to have a positive impact, particularly on poverty. “Business skills can help with being a priest,” he says. “Man does not live on bread alone. This country is the wealthiest country in the history of the world, yet there is something missing in people’s lives. I have a desire to be there for those people who are in a place of despair or hopelessness.”
Of course, he also spends much time focusing on the MAC program.
“There are things you get exposure to in undergrad but now it’s bringing it to a depth I didn’t get then, especially on the finance and accounting side, just getting a deeper level of mastery over those concepts,” he says. “I feel it’s building on and complimenting what I’ve done in undergrad.”
His new business and finance skillsets have also come in handy with his latest entrepreneurial endeavor.
He comes from a large family with siblings and step siblings who range in age from 4 to 28. They enjoy breaking bread and watching movies together. Apparently, they also like trying their hands at a startup.
During the pandemic, he and family launched CappuGino’s Coffee and Shakes, a coffee shop in his native Milford, Connecticut.
He sees the business as a way to give back to the community. They hire locals, including high school students, and work with many nonprofits to help them fundraise. His aunt runs the day-to-day operations – they have invested in a food truck – and he enjoys to applying what he’s learning to the family business.
Another part of his story is gratitude.
“I am grateful for my parents, siblings, family, professors, coaches, mentors, teammates, and friends for supporting me and making me who I am,” he says. “I couldn’t do anything without them. As they say, ‘No man is an island.’”
Director of Accounting and Finance
Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC)
Greensboro, North Carolina
Director of Accounting and Finance, Atlantic Coast Conference
Previous role: Assurance Practice, EY
Academic background: Business Administration, UNC-Chapel Hill
Sports and accounting might not seem like they go hand-in-hand, but Kelvin Anthony has combined his passion for both into a successful career as the Atlantic Coast Conference’s (ACC) director of accounting and finance. Originally from West Texas, Kelvin grew up playing sports and had admiration for Carolina, which led him to Chapel Hill and becoming a double UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School graduate. His experience of working as a student manager for the UNC Football program coupled with his time at UNC Kenan-Flagler offered him foresight of the possibility of a future career in college athletics as business professional.
Thanks to the influence of his godmother who is a CPA, Kelvin had a strong interest in accounting from a young age. After joining the National Association of Black Accountants’ (NABA) Accounting Career Awareness Program during his high school years, Anthony realized that numbers were his passion and set his sights on obtaining a CPA. “I knew that UNC-Chapel Hill did not offer an accounting undergraduate degree, so my plan was to always attend its master’s program so I could pursue my interests,” Kelvin says. “The UNC Master of Accounting Program was a great fit because it had a diverse class makeup, fulfilled the requirements I needed to take the CPA and offered me another year at Carolina.”
Before joining the UNC Master of Accounting (MAC) program, Kelvin worked in the assurance practice at Ernst & Young. He then left EY as a senior to join the ACC. In this new role, Anthony once again blends his interests in college sports and finance. He credits this career advancement to the MAC Program and his CPA licensure. “The MAC Program and faculty taught us to be resilient,” Kelvin says. “The emphasis that Dr. Jana Raedy placed on research prepared me to be a resourceful professional in the finance and accounting world.”
Kelvin describes his current role in the ACC as a mix of accounting and more financial controller-like responsibilities of creating efficient processes for the organization. “I’ve started to notice a trend of accounting professionals entering the college sports arena,” Kelvin states. “College athletic departments are starting to recognize the need and are incorporating more accounting professionals into the college athletic space.”
Kelvin believes that the importance of accounting professionals will only grow in the college athletics space as these organizations grow and become more business focused.
Durham, North Carolina
Revenue Accountant, Google
Previous role: Scheduling Coordinator, Happy Tooth Orthodontics
Academic background: Economics, UNC-Chapel Hill
Luis Lopez was about to apply to dental school when he began to reevaluate his career path and explore other options. While working in an orthodontics’ office, Luis discovered that the business side of the clinic grabbed his attention more than the clinical aspects of the office. He decided to follow his newfound interest and investigate accounting as a possible career alternative. Luis started his journey into the accounting world by joining the UNC Master of Accounting (MAC) Mentorship program (MMP) and applying to various accounting firms to learn more about the career opportunities available to accountants.
After landing a job at Ernst and Young (EY), he made the decision to attend a graduate-level accounting program to gain the skills and knowledge he would need to succeed in his new role. As a former MMP mentee, Luis was drawn to the UNC MAC program. “I was familiar with the professors and preferred a program that was open to non-accounting majors as it led to a very diverse cohort in terms of life experiences,” said Luis.
Once he graduated with his masters, Luis started his career at EY as an International Tax Accountant and continued his tax work at VF Corporation. Currently, Luis has joined Google as a Revenue Accountant within the Devices & Services group. He credits the UNC MAC program with helping him find success and professional growth in the accounting field. “The critical thinking and research skills that I acquired through MAC have been continuously used in my roles as I often find myself having to conduct research and think critically on how it applies to my daily work,” said Luis.
Senior Director of Investor Relations
Realogy Holding Corps.
Madison, New Jersey
Senior Director of Investor Relations, Realogy Holding Corps.
Previous role: Director Corporate Finance/Investor Relations, McGraw-Hill
Academic background: BS in Finance, College of New Jersey; MBA, Fairleigh Dickinson University
Danielle Kloeblen knew she needed in-depth knowledge of complex accounting concepts to get to the next step. She was already a seasoned business professional when she decided to advance her career by pursuing her Master of Accounting (MAC) at the UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School. As the Senior Director of Investor Relations at Realogy Holding Corps., Danielle serves as a vital liaison between senior leadership, analysts, and other business stakeholders associated with the company.
When Danielle started transitioning over to investor relations from her previous role, she recognized a need for continuing her education and decided to enroll in a masters-level accounting program. “As I evolved… it became more critical to understand not only our financial statements, but really the accounting frameworks and the FASB rules & structures… and how they could impact the story and the business model,” she explained. After researching the options available, she decided to apply to the Kenan-Flagler MAC program’s online format due to its top rankings and reputation.
During the program, Danielle found that she was able to apply what she was learning in the classroom to her professional life in real-time. Being grounded in accounting gave her the baseline she needed to work across a wide range of business teams successfully. “For me, I look to this as a steppingstone to get me to that next level and assume more of a leadership role,” she said. “Having this foundation is really important because it’ll take me help me in my current role, but also help me position for growth in the future.”
Durham, North Carolina
Tax Associate, TJT
Previous role: Staff Accountant, Pro Athlete
Academic background: BBA in Accounting, Angelo State University
Emily Franchuk was a young professional fresh out of undergrad when she began considering graduate school. She was serving in AmeriCorps in the volunteer income tax assistance program when she discovered a passion for accounting and tax that she had not realized before. She decided to pursue this new interest and began her search for the best graduate accounting program that fit her needs.
After spending time researching her options, Emily chose the Kenan-Flagler Master of Accounting (MAC) program. “UNC was the top from the beginning,” she explained. “Reading about the program… it just resonated with me that it was going to be a rigorous program and having the flexibility of online course work was just something I knew I needed,” she said.
After joining the UNC MAC program’s online format, Emily found that she was able to apply what she was learning in class to her profession in real-time. “You only see such a small portion [of accounting] when you’re a part of a company, but in class, they give you that full picture,” she explained. Emily credits MAC’s dedicated career services team and structured recruiting events with helping her find her new role as a tax associate at TJT. “We had a lot of interviews, meeting all the companies, and you got to kind of pick up what the culture is like, then you move on to the application [and interview] process,” she said. “I received multiple job offers and went with TJT because I was looking for a smaller firm,” says Emily.
Senior Business Consultant
Ernst & Young
Senior Business Consultant, Ernst & Young
Previous role: Information Technology Project Manager, University of Miami Health System
Academic background: BBA in Management Information Systems, Florida International University
Randy Borges understands the power of building professional networks and the impact that can have on his future. After working in Information Technology (IT) in several different sectors, Randy decided to pursue a career that would help him expand his business knowledge and connections. He found exactly what he was looking for with the Kenan-Flagler Master of Accounting (MAC) program.
Randy was initially drawn to the MAC program’s online format because of its excellent reputation and rankings. He liked that the program offered flexibility and accepted non-accounting majors without prerequisite courses. “It’s a no-brainer,” he explained. “It became a very easy decision for me, to make because what other school can you do that, that is this highly ranked? You can’t – It doesn’t exist,” he said.
Once in the program, Randy saw the power of the UNC alumni network first-hand. “That networking skill has allowed me now at Ernst & Young (EY) to open that door for business development,” he stated. “That soft skill of talking to people is super important, and I feel that at UNC I was really open it and use it,” he said. Randy credits the MAC program for his new role as senior business consultant at EY. “In the area I’m in right now, which is specifically called technology risk, I needed to have [an IT background and a master’s in accounting], so thank you UNC for that one,” he stated.
Financial Services Office Staff
Ernst & Young
Financial Services Office Staff, Ernst & Young
Academic background: Mathematics/Economics, Dickinson College
Adi Royyuru was hoping to secure a position at a mid-level accounting firm when he realized he would need more formal accounting education to achieve his career goals. “When I started taking courses for my CPA, I realized that it would take too long for me to finish without doing a proper MAC degree,” Royyuru said. “I knew that a MAC would make me a much stronger candidate for employment.”
When researching his graduate program options, Royyuru knew that he would need to find a MAC program that accepted students with non-accounting backgrounds and could be completed in a year. After weighing all his options, Royyuru chose the on-campus format of the UNC MAC program. “UNC was the only top program that was designed for non-accounting majors, and that was the biggest selling factor for me because I didn’t have many credits from undergrad in accounting,” Royyuru says. “Also, from doing research, I discovered that it is a really high ranked program that had structured recruiting so I wouldn’t have to face the job market on my own again.”
After joining the program, Royyuru worked closely with our Career Services team to successfully navigate structured recruiting and land his perfect accounting role. “I frequently met with Career Services to discuss my interviews, offers, and of course the final decision,” Royyuru said. “I participated in their workshops about resume writing and interviews, which gave me the support I needed to feel more comfortable with the interview process.” After completing structured recruiting, Royyuru accepted a position with Ernst & Young in Atlanta. He credits the program with helping him find a successful career in auditing. “Even though the coursework was incredibly challenging, the support and community I found in the UNC MAC program built up my confidence and directly contributed to the success I’m having post UNC”.
Raleigh, North Carolina
Audit Associate , PwC
Previous role: Data Analyst, ICG Homes
Academic background: Economics, UNC-Chapel Hill
Nathan Benn’s path to becoming an audit associate at PwC wasn’t a traditional one. In the beginning of his undergraduate journey, Nathan planned to become a physician but eventually opted for a BA in economics from UNC-Chapel Hill because of his interest in finance. “I understood that going into economics would mean that I would have to supplement my education with a more business and finance-focused master’s program in order to move into the types of job roles I was interested in,” Nathan says. “My father is a CPA so I knew that the job prospects for accounting were plentiful and that was a path that I wanted to pursue.” With his new career in mind, Nathan decided to start applying to online graduate accounting programs that would provide the flexibility he needed to still work while attending classes.
While researching his options, Nathan had his eyes set on the UNC Master of Accounting (MAC) Program. Open to students of all backgrounds, the UNC MAC online format offers the flexibility and career support that he was looking for. “I loved the fact that I could continue to work and gain experience on the job while enrolled in the program,” he says. “I appreciated that I was able to directly apply what I was learning in class to my job.” Nathan also was impressed with the rankings and reputation of the program with its two-formats, one program approach to online education. “I knew that with UNC MAC, I would be taking the same courses with the same professors as the on-campus program and obtaining the same degree,” says Nathan. “I trusted the UNC brand and knew that I would receive a quality education.”
Once in the program, Benn chose to pursue the Financial Analysis & Reporting (FAR) concentration. “I liked that the FAR concentration offered a broader focus beyond tax or auditing,” he says. “I felt that this concentration set me up well for a more senior role in the future because of the mix of leadership and technical accounting skills it incorporates into the curriculum.”
Now out of the program, Nathan is finding that the skills he learned during his time in the UNC MAC program are still paying dividends in his professional life. “The UNC MAC program curriculum and tools are really on the cutting edge,” he explains. “Using software like Tableau is a great skill to have and is not something that many standard accounting programs will teach you to use.” Nathan notes that it is his blend of soft skills and technical expertise that he gained during the program that helps him excel in his current field. “The biggest takeaway that I have from the program was developing the mindset of an accountant; that’s something that is priceless.”
CFO and VP of Operations, Medicare Part D
CFO and VP of Operations, Medicare Part D, UnitedHealth Group
Previous role: Vice President of Finance, UnitedHealthcare Employer & Individual
Academic background: Economics, University of Wisconsin
Before he started his pursuit of a Master of Accounting (MAC) degree, Blake Berquist was already a successful business leader, serving as a regional vice president and CFO for UnitedHealthcare. To grow professionally, and to obtain his CPA designation, he felt it was important to add formal finance and accounting knowledge and skills to his background in economics.
Seeking an online program that would allow him to continue working and one that was open to non-accounting majors, Blake joined the UNC MAC program. “I loved how UNC structured their program and made it easy for non-accounting majors to understand,” says Blake. “I left the program feeling like I was an expert in accounting after joining just 15 months earlier as a relative novice.”
The new accounting knowledge helped Blake increase his confidence and round out his skillset, which, in turn, helped him elevate into a leadership role. “As I looked above me, most of the finance leaders were former CPAs,” says Blake. “To get the next level, I knew I’d benefit from more formal education in accounting and finance.”
Ernst & Young
Audit Associate, Ernst & Young
Previous role: Student-Athlete; Legal Intern, Pure Storage
Academic background: Economics, UNC-Chapel Hill
While Annie Kingman pursued her undergrad degree in economics at Carolina (and served as captain of the soccer team), she accumulated critical work experience as a legal intern. She considered law school before finding her way to accounting. “I knew that I wanted to pursue a career in business and thought that accounting would open more options for me,” says Annie. “The MAC Program gave me the knowledge and technical skills that I needed to move my career forward.”
With aspirations of playing professional soccer in Europe, Annie joined the flexible online format of the UNC Master of Accounting Program. Through connections she made in the program, she landed a job as an audit associate at Ernst & Young’s office in Hamburg, Germany.
Annie appreciates being able to directly apply what she learns in class to what she does on the job. “The concepts I’m learning in the program are the same that I use at work,” says Annie. “I apply the skills I learn in class at night to understand the strategy and figure out why a business is making certain accounting decisions and why it operates the way it does.”
Assurance Staff 2
Ernst & Young
Assurance Staff 2, Ernst & Young
Previous role: Ecolab – Senior Logistics Specialist
Academic background: Sports Management, University of Minnesota
CJ Kramer was planning on going into the business side of major sports when he graduated from undergrad in 2017, but, faced with the need to pay back student loans, he decided to pursue a new path in business and started applying to Master of Accounting (MAC) and MBA programs. Because of his experience with supply chain logistics, CJ chose to get his start in accounting. “It was the ideal path to a stable and lucrative career that I could begin immediately,” says CJ. “My other option of pursuing an MBA would have required that I work a few years first and I wanted to get started right away.”
With a focus on finding a top-ranked program with a flexible, online format, CJ decided to apply to the UNC MAC Program with an Audit concentration. “The opportunity to complete the program online was ideal for me as I didn’t need to move away from home,” says CJ. “The flexibility in the schedule also allowed me to work full time while still completing the program in under 1.5 years.”
After completing the MAC Program’s Structured Recruiting, CJ accepted an offer from Ernst & Young as an assurance staff member. “Without MAC career services, I don’t know where I would be,” says CJ. He credits the skills and knowledge that he learned in the program with his continued success in his current field. “Honestly, the most important skill outside of just general accounting was how to work with teams in a remote environment,” CJ says. “This is important now in the real world where everyone is working remotely due to the pandemic. It was a big change for everyone, but I felt ready and prepared because I had been doing it throughout the MAC Program.”
Director, Corporate/Integrated Communications
Association of International Certified Professional Accountants
Durham, North Carolina
Director of Corporate and Integrated Communications, American Institute of CPAs
Previous role: Senior Communications Manager, AICPA
Academic background: Journalism/Government, University of Texas; International Relations, University of Oklahoma
Lindsay Patterson isn’t an accountant; she’s a marketing expert with a deep background in communications and public relations. Lindsay, however, supports the field in an important way, serving as an advocate for accountants through her role at the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants (AICPA), the profession’s largest member organization.
Seeking to better understand and “speak the language” of the organization’s membership, Lindsay decided to pursue a Master of Accounting degree online at UNC, which allowed her to balance her studies and a travel-heavy role. In the program, Lindsay chose the audit concentration, which gave her a significant depth of knowledge in auditing and accounting standards.
Lindsay credits her new knowledge for helping to advance her career. “I was offered a promotion to become the director of the communications team,” says Lindsay. “I have a deep understanding of communications and PR and also auditing and accounting standards, so I know how to talk to our members in a way that most people in communications may not understand because they don’t have that in-depth background.”
High Point, North Carolian
Finance Analyst, GlaxoSmithKline, High Point, North Carolina
Previous role: Financial Management Officer, United States Marine Corps
Academic background: Economics/Hispanic Studies/History, UNC-Chapel Hill
As an officer in the U.S. Marine Corps, Johnathan Lara was already honing his skills in finance, processing payments and advising senior management on financial policy. Looking ahead to a civilian career, however, he saw limits to his growth. “It helped to have strong leadership experience from the Marine Corps and I had teams spread across multiple continents, but I needed more knowledge,” says Johnathan. “That’s what really drew me to the degree — the career possibilities and the ability to open more doors.”
Recognizing its outstanding reputation, his desire to continue working, and his need to support his family, Johnathan entered the online format of the UNC Master of Accounting Program where he is pursuing both the Audit and Financial Analysis and Reporting concentrations.
Just a year in, Johnathan has already secured two jobs: his current role, a short-term contract with pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline and a future role as an audit associate in BDO’s Raleigh office, which he’ll start after graduation. He credits the program for his job-search success. “The career services team and the structured recruiting process truly helps students get meaningful jobs to start their post-graduate careers,” he says, “I was fortunate to have many interviews and receive several job offers.”
Risk Advisory Consultant
Deloitte & Touche
Risk Advisory Consultant, Deloitte & Touche, Washington, D.C.
Previous Role: Graduate Programs Recruiter, Olin Business School, Washington University in St. Louis
Academic Background: Psychology, Truman State University
Colton Richardson was working in higher education when he first became interested in the accounting profession. While recruiting accounting students, he attended information sessions with a wide array of professionals who spoke with him about the field. “When I was able to see what accounting was, I could see that my interest in creative problem solving would be well suited for the profession,” says Colton.
With a desire to join a program that had an excellent return on investment and was open to non-accounting majors, he chose the on-campus format of the UNC Master of Accounting (MAC) Program with a concentration in auditing. “I knew that the UNC MAC program had a solid reputation,” says Colton. “I wanted a well-rounded skill set and the audit concentration allowed me to pursue different career avenues.”
After completing the 12-month program, Colton accepted a job offer from Deloitte as a risk advisor consultant. He credits the program’s structured recruiting process and Carolina’s powerful alumni network with helping him to secure a position with a Big Four accounting firm. “During my time at UNC, there were people in the program that cared that I succeeded; not just in the classroom, but also in life,” says Colton.
Risk Advisory Associate
Ernst & Young
New York, New York
Risk Advisory Associate, Ernst & Young, New York, New York
Previous role: Loan Processing Manager, F3EA Holdings
Academic background: Latin/Pre-Med, Harvard Extension School
It might seem like Latin, medicine and accounting are miles apart, but Elizabeth Johnson has made the journey. While she was in college, she began working at a credit union. As she moved on to a fintech startup, and then into a role as a loan processing manager, Elizabeth realized that finance was her strong suit. “Working at the credit union, I realized I was actually interested in financial services,” said Elizabeth. “It came naturally to me and felt like the space I wanted to be in.”
With a desire to expand her finance career, Elizabeth turned to accounting, seeking more technical skills that would make her more marketable and prepare her for the CPA exam. As she considered her options, the online format of UNC’s Master of Accounting Program (MAC), with strong career outcomes and no prerequisite courses, really stood out and allowed her to continue working while she earned her degree.
While she was in the program, Elizabeth participated in the MAC Program’s structured recruiting process and landed a job in Ernst & Young’s risk advisory group in New York City. “The recruiters were great,” says Elizabeth. “They considered where I lived and the service line I wanted to work in. It really is my dream job and I’m so excited to have this opportunity.”
Adjunct Accounting Professor
Georgia Highlands College
Adjunct Accounting Professor, Georgia Highlands College
Previous role: Owner/Operator, Spirited Art
Academic background: Business/Accounting, University of Richmond
With an undergraduate degree in accounting and her CPA license, Andrea Bell began a successful career as an accountant working for Ernst & Young. Next, with several years of financial management experience under her belt, she partnered with an artist and a lawyer to create Spirited Art, a successful sip-and- paint business.
And then, it was time for Andrea to do something really different — she wanted to teach. She first headed back to class herself, enrolling in the online format of UNC’s Master of Accounting (MAC) Program. “To enter the world of academia, I knew that I needed a degree from a top-tier program,” she says, “and the online format was perfect for me.” While in the program, Andrea worked with the MAC Career Services team to update her resume to better market her potential as a professor.
The hard work paid off. After she graduated, Andrea became a professor, introducing new accountants to the field she loves. She credits her MAC degree for helping her make this important career transition. “The UNC MAC program focuses not only on accounting skills, but how to research, make decisions and apply professional judgement,” says Andrea, “I am trying to bring this focus to my classroom.”
Associate, Internal Audit & Enterprise Risk
Associate, Internal Audit & Enterprise Risk, KPMG, Atlanta, Georgia
Previous role: Staff Accountant, Northwest Georgia Housing Authority
Academic background: Business, Shorter University
Before he pursued his master’s degree, Kyle Hubbard was already an accountant, reconciling balance sheets and preparing monthly financials for the Northwest Georgia Housing Authority. He enjoyed the work and his future was pretty clear. However, to advance in the profession, Kyle recognized that earning the CPA credential would help him immensely so he joined the UNC Master of Accounting (MAC) Program, studying online so that he could continue to work.
In the program, Kyle not only acquired critical technical knowledge, but also learned essential communication skills. Working on team projects with classmates located around world gave him the confidence to manage communications across cultural differences (and time zones!), a skill he now uses regularly in his role at KPMG. “I heard countless times that communication is the skill that employers seek most and that it is important in the workplace,” says Kyle. “I thought it had become cliché, but it has held true every day since. By communicating complex ideas effectively, you can become a trusted advisor for your clients and peers.”
Kyle credits the program’s career services team and the structured recruiting process for helping him secure his new position at KPMG. “On our first day in the program, we talked about personal branding and I carried that with me through the interview process,” says Kyle. “That really helped me define who I was and how I could stand out and, ultimately, helped me land interviews and a job offer.”
Chief Operations Officer
Bennett Aerospace, Inc.
Wake Forest, North Carolina
Chief Operations Officer, Bennett Aerospace, Inc., Wake Forest, North Carolina
Previous role: Independent consultant
Academic background: Political Science/International Studies, Georgia Southern University; MBA, UNC-Chapel Hill
A former soldier and military officer. A successful business consultant and leadership coach working in the defense and special operations community. A graduate of UNC Kenan-Flagler’s MBA Program. And, now, a student in the online format of the top-ranked UNC Master of Accounting (MAC0 Program.
David Whitmire was already a well-rounded professional, but he knew that adding deep skills and knowledge in accounting, tax, and finance would help him build his brand as a trusted consultant. “When I can parachute in on a conversation and help a business solve a problem related to accounting, that really helps my personal brand,” says David. “The program has given me a full suite of tools to draw from.”
The new skills are also helping David broaden the scope of his expertise. “The small- to medium-size market in the defense industry is niche,” he syas. “But, accounting and finance is universal and hits every business, so I’ve been able to create a portfolio of capabilities that can travel with me outside of defense.”
Advance Auto Parts, Inc.
Raleigh, North Carolina
Treasury Manager, Advance Auto Parts
Previous role: Internal Audit Manager, Xerium Technologies
Academic background: Business, Campbell University; MBA, NC State University
Working as an internal auditor, with experience in public accounting, Sara Lindley was progressing well through her career, leveraging her MBA and landing solid, progressive roles. However, when she was asked to consult on business issues linked to accounting processes, she realized that deeper knowledge in accounting could serve her well. “In order to perform the due diligence and provide meaningful feedback and guidance, I really felt the need for more knowledge about certain accounting principles,” saus Sara.
Sara joined the online format of UNC Master of Accounting Program, earning her degree while she continued to work. To her already robust set of skills, she added technical knowledge of accounting standards and principles that would allow her to more effectively manage and review accounting processes.
With new skills and confidence, Sara joined the treasury team at Advance Auto Parts as a treasury manager, a role where she implements changes that drive business strategy. “What I learned in the MAC Program has given me the confidence to push out ideas into the business and be a part of the transformation that’s going on in my company,” she says.
Risk Assurance Senior Associate
Risk Assurance Senior Associate, PwC
Previous role: Staff Auditor, Habitat for Humanity International
Academic background: Political Science, Davidson College
While working as an entry-level internal auditor with Habitat for Humanity International, Erica Garvin-Schwartz realized that she wanted to take the next step in her accounting career and recognized that she needed a Master of Accounting (MAC) degree to get there. “I knew that without an advanced degree in accounting, my options for career advancement would be more limited,” sys Erica. “I wanted to make sure I had opportunities and choices in where I could take my career.”
Erica wanted to join a program that offered flexible pacing and scheduling and would help her achieve her professional goals. She chose UNC’s top-ranked online MAC Program. “I was working full time and traveling extensively for work, so UNC was the option that allowed me to continue working and take classes from wherever I was in the world,” she says.
During the program, Erica participated in the structured recruiting process and received a job offer from PwC, a Big Four accounting firm. She credits the accounting skills and knowledge that she learned in class for her professional success. “I’m using what I learned in each MAC class at some point on the job, whether it’s the more technical accounting and auditing skills in my day-to-day job or the data analytics skills or professional communication skills,” says Erica. “I feel like each class prepared me in some way for working in the current accounting and business environment.”
Director of Operations
Allison Elia Wisely
Director of Operations, After-School All-Stars, Columbus, Ohio
Previous experience: Teacher, Teach For America
Academic background: Chemistry, Duke
Allison Elia Wisely makes a difference in her community. With a strong desire to help others, she worked for Teach for America before joining the programming team at After-School All-Stars in Columbus, Ohio. She loved the role, but it wasn’t playing to her true strengths. When she was offered the opportunity to shift into a more operational role, managing data, accounting, finances, and human resources, she jumped right in.
“At the end of the day, a nonprofit is still a business,” says Allison. “Going back to school would allow me to learn more about the business and have more informed conversations about how to best use our money.” Seeking to add hard skills and fundamentals, she chose accounting over an MBA. And, with a desire to immediately apply those skills, she chose UNC’s online Master of Accounting program.
The knowledge that Allison has gained has not only helped her grow professionally, but has also helped her organization make the most of grant money they’ve received. “We’re able to offer this program to more kids or offer more opportunities to the kids that we have now,” says Allison.
Chief Financial Officer
Nash Investments, LP
Asheville, North Carolina
Chief Financial Officer, Nash Investments, LP
Academic background: Landscape Architecture, University of Georgia
Previous role: Design & Development Manager, Fazio Golf Course Designers
When he was younger, Brian Courcelle aspired to design golf courses. After majoring in landscape architecture, he join the renowned Fazio Design firm. Mission completed. Then, the recession hit. Brian, looking to insulate himself against the economic downturn, shifted into a business role, helping the firm with contract management, budget forecast, and client development.
Brian’s shift from design to business took another big step when he left Fazio to become CFO of Nash Investments, LP, a family investment office. “At some level I was able to just jump into the role”, he recalled, “but I knew that augmenting my knowledge with formal education in accounting would serve me well.” To this end, and to balance work and family life with his studies, Brian joined the online format of UNC’s Master of Accounting Program.
Pursuing the program’s Financial Analysis and Reporting concentration, Brian developed an excellent foundation in key accounting skills, which has made him a more capable and confident CFO. “With the knowledge I’ve gained through the program, I’ve been able to take some of the load of our external accounting firm and make them more efficient,” says Brian.
Senior Tax Associate
Ernst & Young
Raleigh, North Carolina
Senior Tax Associate, Ernst & Young, Raleigh, North Carolina
Previous role: Squad Leader, U.S. Army
Academic background: Accounting, Florida Southern
Having spent 16-hour days serving in roles for the Army, Mikhail Wright wanted a new career for himself as well as a better life for his son. To help with his transition, he chose to pursue a Master of Accounting degree. “I wanted a degree that’s a tool,” says Mikhail, “a degree that can help me build the life I see for myself and my son.”
Mikhail was interested in joining a public accounting firm, so he took advantage of the program’s active structured recruiting process. He made an impression with recruiters from several major firms and landed in an opportunity at Ernst & Young in Raleigh.
“It’s a really strange experience, especially if you’ve been in the job market before,” says Mikhail. “Instead of you doing the looking, you’re being hunted…and the firms really want you there. I received offers from all the firms I met with and had to decide which opportunity was the best fit for me and my son.”
Senior Associate, Attest Services
Senior Associate, Attest Services, Grant Thornton
Previous role: Senior Financial Analyst, U.S. Air Force
Academic background: Finance, Auburn University
Chelsea Walker was serving in a key role for the Department of Defense, supporting a U.S. Air Force missile training program. She led a small team that performed specialized financial analysis and budgeting work. However, when she decided to transition away from working for the military, Chelsea worried that her experience with governmental accounting might not transfer well to the public sector.
Earning a Master of Accounting (MAC) degree put her concerns to rest. “I knew if I had a MAC degree and a CPA license, my skills would be validated,” says Chelsea. “I’d be a more attractive candidate.” With a desire to remain mobile, Chelsea entered UNC’s online format of the MAC Program where she added both in-depth accounting knowledge and important leadership skills.
After she graduated, Chelsea made the big switch she was after, joining Grant Thornton’s Risk Advisory team as a senior associate in the firm’s Philadelphia office. She credits the UNC MAC Program for helping her land in her new role. “The UNC MAC program has a reputation of producing smart, quality employees,” remarked Chelsea. “I can’t remember having a single interview where ‘UNC’ and ‘CPA’ weren’t brought up.”
Senior Consultant, Risk Advisory
Dixon Hughes Goodman
Charlotte, North Carolina
Senior Consultant, Dixon Hughes Goodman
Previous role: Investment Advisor, JP Morgan
Academic background: Finance, UNC-Wilmington
Working as an investment advisor for JP Morgan in New York City, Stephen Beeker was putting his undergraduate degree in finance to good use. But it wasn’t enough; Stephen wanted to go deeper. “I wanted to hone my technical skills,” says Stephen. “Getting a MAC degree opened up the door to not only public accounting, but also financial services, corporate banking, and risk management.”
The UNC Master of Accounting Program gave him the technical skills he needed to master auditing, data analytics, and more. It also gave him outstanding opportunities to build his network and connect with public accounting firms. “In the online MAC program, I met so many people with so many different experiences, from entry level all the way to executive level,” he says
Working with the Career Services team, one of those connections helped Stephen land in a risk advisory position at DHG, a role where he leveraged both his industry experience and his newly acquired skills. Now, recently promoted to a role as a senior consultant, he helps some of the U.S.’s largest financial institutions audit the controls and transformations of their critical data and, in turn, limit reputational risk.
Supervisor, Management Consulting
Charlotte, North Carolina
Supervisor, Management Consulting, RSM US
Previous role: Senior Account Manager, Otis Elevator and Internal Auditor, U.S. Army Reserve
Academic background: Chemistry, U.S. Military Academy at West Point; MBA, University of Alabama
To help with his transition from the Army, where he served as a field artillery officer, to civilian life, Bryan Sanders earned his MBA. He was particularly fascinated with the introduction to accounting he received, so he decided to pursue a second graduate degree, a Master of Accounting (MAC), to open himself up to consulting opportunities. Bryan chose the online format UNC’s top-ranked MAC Program, which gave him the flexibility to take both business and accounting courses.
While Bryan was in the program, he networked with recruiters from many public accounting firms, which helped him land a job as a management consultant within RSM’s technology and digital group. “It was extremely easy to network and get my foot in the door,” says Bryan. “UNC has a real strength with its campus recruiting, brand reputation and alumni network.”
In the MAC Program, Bryan added deep skills and knowledge in accounting, finance, auditing, data analytics and financial reporting, which he’s applied directly in his role as a consultant. “The knowledge I gained through the program has provided me a solid foundation,” says Bryan. “I now understand not only the underlying accounting and finance processes but, more importantly, how they connect people, processes, and technology across all departments and functions.”
Deloitte & Touche
Audit Associate, Deloitte & Touche, Washington, D.C.
Previous role: Financial Services Representative, First Citizens Bank
Academic background: Banking/Finance and MBA, Fayetteville State University
Dominique Stephenson started her career in banking, majoring in banking and finance, earning her MBA, and working at a bank on Fort Bragg serving a military clientele. She wanted more. “I met with one of my professors,” says Dominique. “That conversation opened me up to a world of potential that accounting could have on my future.”
With new direction, Dominique entered the on-campus format of the UNC Master of Accounting Program. Adding new skills and knowledge in accounting and finance to her resume and participating in the program’s robust recruiting process, Dominique landed a role as an audit associate at Deloitte.
She’s excited about her future. “My MAC degree has given me the foundation to go anywhere with any company in the world,” sysDominique. “The program has created opportunities that I never realized were available to me.”
Senior Assurance Associate
Charlotte, North Carolina
Senior Assurance Associate, PwC, Charlotte, North Carolina
Previous role: English teacher, Clover High School
Academic background: English/Language Arts, Colorado State
Mark Loyd was a high-school English teacher in Clover, South Carolina, just outside Charlotte. While Mark loved teaching, he was looking for a career step that would allow for ongoing growth and stability. Enter accounting and the online format of the UNC Master of Accounting Program.
With no prerequisite courses, Mark jumped in and immediately start earning credits toward his degree. More importantly, the flexible nature of the program allowed him to balance the demands of a full-time job, a growing family and his studies.
Shortly after graduation, Mark started his new career as an assurance associate at PwC in Charlotte. “The biggest worry that I had when I started the program centered around getting a job when I finished,” saysMark. “That worry was relieved pretty quickly. To have a job 11 to 12 months before I finished the program was really good for my peace of mind.”
Marsh & McLennan
West Des Moines, Iowa
Staff Accountant, Marsh & McLennan
Previous role: Circulation Clerk, West Des Moines Public Library
Academic background: History, University of Iowa
As a volunteer intern at a local museum, Zach Sanders analyzed the financial information of institutional donors. Just as the study of historical documentation had fascinated him in college, this investigative work struck a chord with Zach and a desire to pursue a career in accounting soon followed. “I wanted an intellectually challenging career where knowledge, continued learning, and a critical mind would be rewarded,” says Zach. “A Master of Accounting degree would open that door.”
With a need to stay in his job as a librarian in West Des Moines and the desire to join a program that was both rigorous and open to non-accounting majors, Zach pursued UNC’s online format of the MAC Program. “I wanted a program that would challenge me,” said Zach. “The MAC taught me more in my year and a half than I would have gotten out of a full four-year program in most other schools.”
After graduation, a recruiter from Marsh & McLennan reached out to Zach, citing his MAC degree from UNC. He interviewed with the firm and was offered a job as a revenue tester in the company’s invoicing unit a day later. He credits the collaborative nature of the program for his successful transition from librarian to accountant. “Everyone I met was happy to work together to help each other better understand the material,” says Zach.
Director, Accounting and Regulatory Services
Riverside Risk Advisors
New York, New York
VP, Accounting and Regulatory Services, Riverside Risk Advisors, New York
Previous role: Treasurer, BNC Bank
Academic background: Math/Economics, Lafayette College
When bank treasurer Leanne Fredericks asked herself, “What can I be doing to make myself more of an asset for my company?”, the answer pointed her back to grad school. And, with aspirations to, someday, become a CFO, Leanne realized that she needed an accounting background.
To make this happen, she enrolled in the online format of the UNC Master of Accounting (MAC) Program, working full-time while she earned her degree, which allowed her to immediately apply the knowledge she learned. The new accounting skills also have made Leanne more well-rounded and have helped her develop her career.
Leanne chose UNC over other top business schools. “UNC is a name everyone knows,” she says. “When you say ‘I went to Carolina’, that carries some weight.” Since graduation, Leanne has leveraged that reputation to advance her career and she now works as vice [resident for a risk advisory firm in New York City.
Chief Financial Officer
Raleigh, North Carolina
Chief Financial Officer, Peter Millar, Raleigh, North Carolina
Previous roles: Equity Analyst, Goldman Sachs; Corporate Strategist, Ralph Lauren
Academic background: Business, UNC-Chapel Hill
After earning his BSBA from UNC Kenan-Flagler, Jon Mark Baucom left Carolina for New York City, landing first at Goldman Sachs as an equity analyst before moving into a strategic role at Ralph Lauren. Five years later, Jon Mark returned to North Carolina to join Peter Millar, a leader in luxury fashion apparel.
As his career progressed at Peter Millar, Jon Mark, serving as the company’s CFO, identified the need to deepen his accounting knowledge. “As a publicly traded company, we have a lot of strict reporting and audit requirements”, he says. “While I had a good background in financial modeling and strategy, formal training in accounting would help me round out my technical skills in those areas.”
Knowing that it would offer a challenging curriculum, Jon Mark joined the online format of the Master of Accounting Program, which afforded him the flexibility to manage a heavy workload and three young children at home. In the program, Jon Mark acquired the knowledge he was after, which helped him better communicate with accountants and auditors and tackle more complex business operations. “I can now drill down on accounting issues with much more accuracy and detail than I felt comfortable doing in the past,” he says.
Deloitte Private Wealth
CPA, Deloitte Private Wealth, McLean, Virginia
Previous role: Major, U.S. Army
Academic background: Business, University of Louisiana-Lafayette; MBA, UNC-Chapel Hill
U.S. Army Major Brad Bertinot served tours in Iraq, Afghanistan and Korea, among other locations. Already an impressive and experienced leader, he turned to the online format of the UNC Master of Accounting (MAC) Program to learn new skills in financial management, tax strategy and auditing.
“There are a lot of similarities between accounting and being a scout pilot,” says Brad. “In both situations, you’re receiving intelligence and, like a puzzle, you need to figure out how to apply it, whether it be on the battlefield or how those numbers are telling a story.”
Like many in the military, Brad needed the flexibility to take courses from any location. He also needed help managing his career transition. He found both in UNC’s MAC Program, leveraging the structured recruiting process to land a job at Deloitte’s McLean, Virginia, office. “For most military personnel, the big unknown is ‘How do I get that next job?’,” says Brad. “So, if accounting is something that they’re interested in, the recruiting process is a phenomenal way to get there.”
Thomas, Judy & Tucker
Raleigh, North Carolina
Tax Associate, Thomas, Judy & Tucker, Raleigh, N.C.
Previous role: Engineer, Cree
Academic background: Chemistry, Iona
Making the leap from a chemical engineer lab to the boardroom of a tax accounting firm isn’t easy, but Jason Pomerantz wanted to try it. “I realized the engineering wasn’t the path I wanted to go down,” says Jason. “My interests were shifting from science to business and accounting is at the very heart of business.”
To make a smooth career transition, Jason sought out programs that were highly ranked and that featured a strong placement rate. He landed in the online format of the UNC’s no-prerequisite Master of Accounting (MAC) Program. “The UNC program definitely gave me confidence that I’d be able to go through the recruiting process and potentially get a job even before I graduated,” says Jason.
Following graduation, he started in his new career at Thomas Judy & Tucker’s office in Raleigh. “The MAC program is not going to give you all the answers,” says Jason, “but it’ll give you the experience and knowledge you’ll need to find the answers.”