Written by Donell Carter, MS ’22:
Hi, my name is Donell, and I am a recent graduate of the UB MS Accounting program. I came to UB in 2017 and although I always felt like I had what it takes to be successful, the School of Management provided me many opportunities and experiences for personal growth and professional development. Here are a few tips that helped me get the most out of the experience at UB:
Network – One of the most important things that you should be doing to get the most out of your MS in Accounting program is networking with other students in class or your professors. This program not only focuses on achieving academic success, but the program also stresses the importance of being a professional in the field. It is highly recommended that you build relationships with your professors and peers because you never know what relationships you may depend on (for example, job referral, job opportunities, etc.) that may facilitate or dictate the success you have in your career.
Attend Events – Throughout my time in the MS Accounting Program there have been numerous workshops where professors offer resume critiques or offer sessions where students can ask them any question as they transition from a student to an accounting professional. To make the most out of your time while in the MS in Accounting program you should try your best to attend these events. The professors here have been in our shoes and have gone on to have great careers in the accounting industry, and they host these kinds of events for your benefit. Along with the events mentioned above, if you are still looking for a job, be active. Oftentimes professors will post opportunities for employers looking to hire UB students (you), it is up to you to be proactive and look into these opportunities (it helps when you have been networking with that professor who posted the opportunity). Additionally, UB’s School of Management has the Career Resource Center (CRC), and they are always posting networking events where you could easily register for employer information sessions or other kinds of events. It is important to go to these events to learn a lot about the company as well as network with professionals in the industry. The CRC also posts job opportunities for positions that you may be interested in, and it is on you to apply and get that position.
Do Your Part in Group Projects! – One thing that I haven’t taken for granted during the MS in Accounting program is the way the curriculum is set up compared to the undergraduate program. There are not many exams like there was in undergraduate and oftentimes the grades are determined by many group projects. There are plenty of group projects in both semesters, and to get the most out of the MS in Accounting program you should be doing your part in group projects and learning how well you work with others.
News flash: when you go out into the real world most of what you do will be in a group, so take all projects seriously and start honing those important team-oriented skills that will set you apart from others. The projects you will have in the MS in Accounting program are great simulations for what you can experience in the real world. Learning how to give and receive feedback is another critical skill to being a professional and it can be worked on while you are in the MS in Accounting program, take all feedback received from others seriously and try to implement it in future projects so you can improve as a team member.
Have a Meaningful Experience in Developing your Research Skills – Prior to the MS in Accounting program, I had little exposure with regards to research. The research that was conducted was on a more informal basis. In this program, you take a few research-based classes that build your foundational research skills regarding authoritative literature, such as the “Accounting Standards Codification” or the tax database to do research on primary sources for tax law. The skills learned in these classes are applied in other classes to do other group projects, but the research skills that you get from the MS program are easily applicable to and transferable to the workplace.
Have a Good Idea of what you want to Specialize in – As you probably know, the MS in Accounting program features 3 tracks: (1) Financial Accounting and Assurance, (2) Tax, and (3) Internal Audit and Risk Management. To get the most out of the program, you should determine which track would be the best fit for you, since you will be taking specialized courses based on your track. You can look at your interests and passions, any internship experience in these fields or talk to people for additional insight.
BIO – Donell Carter Is a graduate of the MS Accounting program, originally from Bronx, New York. Outside of school he is passionate about both sports and video games. He has played both basketball and baseball and his favorite teams are the Golden State Warriors and the New York Yankees.