What prompted you to return to school to achieve your master’s degree?
I always knew I would go back to pursue an advanced degree, but I did not know in which area. After working one year in an entry level position at an insurance company, I decided to pursue a series of designation exams. It was while studying for those exams that I was first exposed to Accounting. My new found interest in Accounting prompted me take a Financial and a Managerial Accounting course at a local community college. I really enjoyed both courses and decided to pursue a Master’s degree in Accounting.
Why did you choose UIC Liautaud for your graduate study?
UIC Liautaud Graduate School of Business is the best value for my future career. I did not want a program that was rushed, requiring only the minimum number of classes to get a degree. Accounting is my chosen profession and I wanted to not only give it the time it deserved, but also absorb as much as I could. The end goal is to pass the CPA, not just get a degree, and UIC has one of the highest CPA pass rates. It also has a great reputation for Accounting in the Chicagoland area. UIC Liautaud is preparing me well for my career.
Since you have started the program, what has been the most unexpected gain the program has given you?
The most unexpected gain the program has given me is support. There are an endless number of people involved who want to help you succeed. They will be your biggest allies and the best resource. There is not one professor that I have run into that will not accommodate your schedule to help you, even if it is clearly inconvenient for them. The administrators in the UIC Liautaud office are always filled with positivity and help you in any way imaginable, such as taking a very professional LinkedIn profile photo. The career services office will do anything possible to get students in front of prospective employers and advise you on any professional matter, whether it is how to prepare for Meet the Firms or help you fix up the old resume. All of these people are an unfaltering guidepost. I think this is the reason I have been more involved at UIC in my first year than I was in all four years of undergrad. They make you want to do your best and get involved.
Which class/professor has been your favorite thus far and why?
I really enjoyed Accounting 503 taught by Professor Salama. He set up the learning atmosphere perfectly: no cell phones and no computers. He demanded your attention and required a lot of hard work. I liked having quizzes every week because it solidified my understanding of the material consistently, rather than periodically around exam time. I also liked that he had his own lesson plans because it reinforced what we had learned in the book. Professor Salama was also the most enthusiastic and passionate professor that I have had the pleasure of meeting. Not only is it apparent that he loves Accounting, but also it is obvious that he loves teaching it. His passion is contagious!
What advice would you provide to incoming UIC Liautaud students?
My advice to incoming UIC Liautaud students is to take an active role in your graduate school experience and do not take the time you have for granted. Do not be passive. Do not start looking for a job in your last year. Your job search starts the day you get into the MSA program. Network everywhere! Talk to fellow students, professors, and career advisors. Get involved from day one. Graduate school should be a full time job and it will not be easy. The classes are demanding and some days will be harder than others but hard work will always pay off. Be supremely professional and get involved. We are all adults and as with most things in life, what you get out of the experience is what you put in. Be a sponge, ask for guidance, learn from others’ experiences, and not only take advice, but heed it. It is a very rare event in life to have such support and an inexhaustible number of people with a plethora of knowledge. Take advantage or you will miss out!