MAC Mentorship Program
MAC Mentorship Program
Alexander Jackson will tell you, success is earned through choice, not by chance. Jackson grew up in Houston, where he was raised by his mother and grandmother. In his early elementary days, he was no stranger to getting into trouble and being suspended from school – yet he was constantly told that he was “just not being challenged academically.”
Fast forward, through determination, hard work, and mentorship opportunities, and you’ll meet an Alexander Jackson who has not only persevered, but has flourished as part of UNC’s Master of Accounting Program.
Jackson’s story is an inspiring one. He’s given back to the Boys & Girls Club, which played an important role in his development. He’s stayed involved with the MAC Mentorship Program, which earlier solidified his interest in pursuing an accounting career and earning his master’s degree.
He’s excited to start the next chapter of his life doing what he loves: accounting and giving back. And he already knows the most important advice he wants to share with his future mentees: do what you love.
After all, that’s what got him to where he is today.
“If you’re passionate about your work, it won’t seem like work,” says Jackson.
Senior Tax Associate
Ernst & Young
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,” said 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,” remembered 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.”
Director of Operations
Director of Operations, After-School All-Stars, Columbus, Ohio
Previous experience: Teacher, Teach For America
Academic background: Chemistry, Duke
Allison Elia 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,” said 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,” said Allison.