Alumni Spotlight: Ryan Polk, M.S. in Accounting 2016

It’s hard to believe it’s almost been a year since I got to walk through Jefferson’s academical village from the picturesque rotunda celebrating our graduation from the M.S. in Accounting (MSA program)! Each day I am very grateful to have studied with such wonderful classmates and amazing professors who truly dedicated themselves to preparing us for the next chapter.

Looking back at the last nine months since starting at EY, I believe I was well prepared by the MSA program to succeed in my role. For example, when working for a Big Four accounting firm, you are exposed on a daily basis to new accounting standards, business models, and in my case, tax issues, which force you to quickly apply your existing knowledge in order to ask the right questions to find the proper way to book something or determine taxability. In the MSA program, we were presented with difficult scenarios which forced a focused team effort to find proper solutions. In the tax research class in particular, we needed to properly use research tools available to determine the proper tax consequences to hypothetical situations. I find myself frequently doing the same thing in my day-to-day job with real life client situations.

Additionally, I believe the case-based environment of McIntire prepared me to challenge existing beliefs, even if that means questioning a superior. In public accounting, particularly given the changing tax landscape and changing business models, the ability of the entire engagement team to communicate openly and effectively is paramount to success. Between the multiple opportunities for public speaking, group work, and our professors consistently challenging us to defend our answers, I was well prepared to enter into and embrace being a member of the engagement team rather than just a staff.

Lastly, and in my opinion most importantly, almost a year later I’m still very much in touch with the friends I made during the program. From karaoke nights, hikes, and the occasional mini-reunion, I’ve gotten to see many people from the program frequently. It’s still amazing how close we were able to get as a class in under a year- a testament to the hard work of the admissions committee- and I look forward to staying in touch with the friends for life I made as a ‘Hoo.

St. Patrick's Day celebrations in the MSA program.
St. Patrick’s Day celebrations in the MSA program.

If you have any questions about the UVA MSA program, feel free to reach out to me at

Go Hoos!

-Written by Ryan Polk, M.S. in Accounting 2016, William and Mary 2015

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

By submitting this form, you accept the Mollom privacy policy.

This blog is kept spam free by WP-SpamFree.