Taking a Victory Lap for a 5th Year at UVA

To conclude our series on transitions to UVA’s M.S. in Accounting (MSA) program, we have interviewed two students who attended UVA for undergrad and decided to stay for a fifth year. We’ve covered students coming from all over the world, as well as other students’ transitions from both large and small universities. Our hope is to connect with each and every applicant interested in attending the MSA program and offer personal advice for the each of those currently in their search of a graduate accounting program. Each student was asked to respond to the following questions:

  1. As an undergrad at UVA, what made you choose to stay for the MSA program?
  2. What was the main factor you considered when choosing to attend UVA over a different school?
  3. What are some similarities and differences in attending UVA as a graduate student rather than as an undergraduate student?
  4. What’s your favorite part of the MSA program now that you’ve been here for more than a whole semester?
  5. Do you have any advice for students in similar situations?
  6. What are your plans for after graduation?

transition 1Christine Tran

  1. When I was considering which programs to attend, my mind just kept coming back to UVA because of the wonderful experiences I’ve had in Charlottesville and my confidence in the McIntire School of Commerce. I felt that I wasn’t ready to leave yet because I hadn’t had enough time to fully appreciate Charlottesville. For those of you who have ever visited, you’ll understand when I say that the community here is wonderfully creative and thoughtful. The faculty at McIntire are so friendly and have so much knowledge to share. I was fortunate enough to aid a variety of professors with research and teaching assistant activities and wanted to strengthen my relationships with them, as well as get to know new faculty members.
  1. The main factor that I considered when choosing to stay at UVA was McIntire’s emphasis on a multi-faceted experience. Some important qualities that stuck out to me were technical knowledge, business acumen, and leadership; all of which I believe are equally important qualities to develop.
  1. The main difference I’ve recognized is that as an undergrad at McIntire, I was very close to peers in my ICE block where accounting was definitely not the majority career choice. Overall, being a part of the MSA program has made me feel an increased sense of comfort in my career path. One of the best parts is that we all share the same struggles with balancing classes and studying for the CPA. Most importantly, we support each other day in and day out.
  1. My favorite part of the MSA program so far, is actually a really small thing…I really like how whenever I walk into the grad lounge I can count on seeing a MSA student and know that I have company while I’m eating, studying, or relaxing between classes. For those who don’t know, the grad lounge is just what it sounds like, an area in McIntire specifically for graduate students to study and socialize. It gets a little noisy in there sometimes but that’s because we all like to vent to each other about our days and joke around. The free coffee is pretty nice too.
  1. Back in August when classes first started I actually felt a little lost because I was so used to feeling like an undergrad at UVA. Since the majority of my friends graduated and left Charlottesville, I wasn’t sure how my social life was going to play out this year. If any students may have the same concerns, my advice is to not worry too much because everything will fall into place pretty quickly. Through the formal and impromptu MSA social events held early in the year, I developed so many great friendships with the people in our program. Students coming from other schools appreciated all the tips that the UVA students shared and it felt good to know that I was helping to positively shape their experiences.
  1. After graduation, I’ll begin working as a tax associate for PwC in their McLean, VA office. Before then, I hope to finish taking the CPA exam and spend a month traveling inside and outside of the U.S.

Jason Jones2

  1. When considering whether to stay for a fifth year, I knew that UVA was a place where I felt comfortable and supported. With harder classes, the CPA exam, and a lot of change in my personal life coming up, I knew that I wanted to take some uncertainty out of things by staying in a program where I knew I could succeed.
  1. I mainly considered the small class sizes and the differences in curriculum between programs when deciding which school to attend. UVA offers a very strong tax curriculum, and I knew that would benefit me when I started by job.
  1. Some of the main similarities in attending UVA as a graduate student are that I’ve had a lot of the same professors before and obviously spent a lot of time in the McIntire building during undergrad. It’s a lot different, though, when all of your classmates graduate and you stick around. I had to find a whole new friend group, but I think that was one of the best parts of my experience transitioning to graduate school.
  1. My favorite part of the MSA program is the level of support we receive. We’ve all had times when we’ve felt a little overwhelmed, but I think that you see support in group members picking up slack when you really need a break or in professors being flexible with individual students or the class as a whole.
  1. My advice for students is to not be afraid to come back for another year at UVA. In my head I worried that I was losing out on a new experience or networking opportunity, but in reality I met dozens of incredible accounting students by staying.
  1. After graduation, I’ll be working in tax for EY at the Tysons Corner, VA office.

-Interviews by Corey Parham

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