Winding Down…


Written by:

Dan Eckler

Pac Son

Classes are winding down as we prepare for the final weeks of our second to last semester. We have been through several of these weeks before so the general vibe is no longer anxiety, but instead excitement for upcoming week off and subsequent beginning of the final semester. This semester will bring four new and interesting classes as we are now spending the last couple months building upon our existing skills and learning more about the business and accounting worlds. More specifically, we are looking forward to our courses on business strategy and accounting theory now that we have achieved success in the more technical aspects of accounting. Most of all, however, we are patiently waiting for the few weeks of rest after graduation before we get started on our new careers!

It has been difficult to transition back to classes after the internship. Although some of us worked really long hours and sometimes even on the weekends, at least we were done once we left the office. On the other hand, you’re never really done with school. There is always something you could be working on whether it be writing that paper that’s due tomorrow or studying for that exam in an hour. Just kidding, but you get the point. Most of us, if not all, are very much looking forward to getting back into the office and putting our skills and education to the test in a practical environment. We are also excited to once again see and work with the many friends we have made in the office throughout our internships and graduate program experience. The money isn’t too bad either!

Speaking money, have you all heard about the bonuses we receive from our firms just for passing the CPA exam? No seriously, it’s real. It’s just one more benefit to having the CPA license under your belt. These tests really do require a lot of studying, but it’s more than manageable with all the training and education we get throughout this program. A lot of people describe this program as a professional program rather than a graduate program, and it’s true because it prepares us well for the career ahead of us rather than just filling our heads with numbers and theories. Now that the last few semesters are winding down, many of us are beginning the studying process to make sure we are completely ready for when we decide to sit for the exam. The firms pay for our materials and our professors provide a number of review sessions, so like we said before, even though the tests are hard we are all ready and excited to move on to the next challenge.

Reflection on MSA/MBA Experience


Written By: Pac Son

If you had asked me what I wanted to do after graduating from college, never in a million years would I have said accounting. I went to a liberal arts school and we didn’t have an accounting program. The only real exposure I had was from taking an accounting class my senior year of college. Everyone told me that I should take it because it’s practical and so that is what I did. However, I didn’t think it would lead to a career in accounting. Yet, this is exactly where I find myself right now and I couldn’t be happier. My senior year of college I still had no idea what I wanted to do. I was an econ major but I knew that I didn’t want to go into research or pursue further studies in economics. My only option then was to look outside. After taking accounting and talking to my professor, who also happened to be an alumni of the program, I decided to apply. I was attracted by the opportunities the program offered. In only 15 months, I could earn a degree in accounting and an MBA and as someone who has never worked in a corporate environment before I was excited by the opportunity to intern at a big public accounting firm.

It’s been 13 months since the start of the program and boy has a lot happened. I moved to Boston, met a lot of great people, took some interesting classes, and just recently finished an internship at Deloitte, which I will be returning to in the fall. There were times when I felt overwhelmed, specifically during the latter half of the summer when we were taking classes and simultaneously going through the recruiting process but I never gave up. I knew that if I worked hard, I would be able to get the internship I wanted and also have a bit of a cushion in the Spring when I would start studying for the CPA exam(which by the way I haven’t started yet). The other nice thing about being in this program is that we get a lot of support. Lizbeth and Mary work tirelessly in the office to coordinate our schedule and they are always ready to help us. The professors we’ve had have also been great. All of them hold extra office hours outside of class so you can always get help when you need it. However, the best thing about this program is the people. Everyone is so nice and friendly. I’ve never been felt like I was unwelcomed at any activity or in any group. I know that I will be walking away from this program with some lifelong friends.

If you are wondering whether or not this program is right for you, don’t wonder any more. Come to an information session, talk to an alumni, or reach out to someone in the GSPA office. You won’t regret it.



MSA/MBA Students Reflect on Paid Internship Experience

Written by: Dan Eckler and Jen DiMaria

One of the most appealing aspects of D’Amore-McKim’s MSA/ MBA program is the opportunity to complete a three-month paid internship with a distinguished public accounting firm. From January through March we were all immersed in corporate culture, gaining invaluable work experience. The class was placed at seven different firms including the Big Four (Deloitte, EY, KPMG and PwC) as well as three national firms including BDO, Grant Thornton, and RSM. Within our firms, we each were assigned an industry group which ranged in focus from insurance to mutual funds, from banking to health industries. Across industries it quickly became apparent that the quick six months we spent studying accounting at D’Amore-McKim had us leaps and bounds ahead of our peer in terms of knowledge and skill. Though we were all a little nervous, and anxious to demonstrate our work ethic, knowing that we were prepared for the challenges we were about to face put everyone’s mind at ease. With a positive attitude and a willingness to learn, we embarked on our internships.

The three-month paid internship period flew past; we often faced long hours, but buried in the blur of overtime was a slew of countless delicious dinners in the audit room, inside jokes, and even a few team bonding nights out. Many of us became close with our teams and with increasing familiarity came an opportunity to learn even further from our peers and mentors. Even on the latest nights, we found that a few laughs and a couple dozen Girl Scout Cookies could get you through a tough time. We also found that we all had each other as a support system. Through informal gatherings as well as MSA/MBA reunion happy hours, we were able to share our positive experiences, vent about frustrations and support each other with tips and tricks we had gathered along the way. Whatever couldn’t be solved by a fellow GSPA student could surely be solved by a few drinks.

In addition to the valuable salary we earned from the considerable number of internship hours, we gained from our firms a wealth of knowledge, skills, and professional relationships. Though we already had a basic knowledge of accounting practices and techniques from our MSA-focused classes at Northeastern, the firms continued the process by grooming and expanding our knowledge at the more advanced levels. Many of us were even able to develop strong understandings of our specific industry sectors, ranging from financial services to commercial production to non-profit groups and beyond. Arguably more important than the improved understanding of precise accounting standards were the networks we were able to develop. As a result of the various professional events set up by the leaders of the GSPA we already had a number of contacts and friends within the offices of our firms before we even stepped through the door on the first day of work. These relationships expanded naturally and with ease with each new day of the internship as we were introduced to new team members and client leadership. At the end of our internships we found that we had gained a nearly endless list of friends and colleagues throughout all of the accounting firms, Northeastern’s alumni network, and beyond. Though the internship was only three months in length we felt years more prepared to enter and find success in the business world after graduation.

The winter internship was an amazing experience, but we were also excited to get back to the classroom to reunite with friends, and of course to continue learning. In these final semesters, however, our education would shift focus from accounting concepts and techniques to the MBA side of the program. These new classes allowed us to diversify our skill sets and balance us into becoming even more valuable employees for our long careers ahead. Currently we are all taking courses in entrepreneurship, finance, and marketing. Although we are currently accountants these three courses, along with the ones we will take in the Summer II semester, provide us with the knowledge needed to be valuable in nearly any business field. We are also currently taking a class in the accounting of business combinations in order to further our accounting expertise. This class may sound difficult, but with our previous accounting background from the first set of semesters we are well prepared and the new class is just an exciting, fresh challenge. In addition to the excitement of new classes and the approaching summer days, we have also all been extended offers to return to our respective firms for full-time positions in the fall! Life is (extra) good in the second year of the MSA/MBA program as can be seen in the constant smiles of every student. Armed with our wealth of knowledge, our full-time job offers, and the summer sun, we are all proud of the last 11 months and amped for the road ahead.

Back to School!!

Hello Everyone!!

There is a lot to fill you in on since my last blog. I have completed my internship with Ernst & Young and I have resumed classes again. However, I do have some exciting news to share. At the conclusion of my internship, I received a full-time offer from Ernst & Young to start working in September!! I am very excited and cannot wait to return to work in the fall!!

The internship portion of the program was an amazing experience for me and I was able to learn some valuable lessons that will help me grow as a professional. The first two weeks of my internship at Ernst & Young consisted of training and orientation. The training was very helpful as I was taught how to interact with my future audit team members and what the general expectations of interns were. In addition, all of the other EY audit interns and I received our materials that we would need to complete the various tasks assigned to us by our audit teams. Needless to say, training and orientation were very valuable experiences as they allowed me to become more familiar with the firm and they have prepared me to work on my first clients. After orientation and training ended, I was sent out into the field to work on various clients. In total, I worked on four clients and one special project. Each client and the special project provided me with new learning opportunities. For example, one of the clients I worked on was a small start-up company and it was interesting to learn about what the company did and how the management team ran the business. Additionally, the special project I worked on allowed me to learn about entrepreneurship as the project was related to Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year program. While working on the project, I was able to learn what it takes to start your very own business and the challenges many entrepreneurs face when launching their businesses. Thus, it was quite clear for me that the internship was a very positive experience as I was able to learn new things every day and help my teams accomplish their ultimate goal, which was to complete the audit in a timely and professional manner. However, the internship was not all work as my fellow interns and I were able to partake in various intern events. My favorite intern event was a Celtics game. All of the interns were guests of EY, and it was a great night as the Celtics won at the buzzer! Additionally, I was invited to attend a closing dinner with one of the teams I worked on as we celebrated the completion of the audit. I could not believe how lucky I was to intern for such a great company.

Unfortunately, the internship had to end and I had to return to classes with all of my classmates. Nevertheless, the internship was one of my favorite parts of the program and I cannot wait to return to work in the fall with such a great company!

So until next time – it’s back to studying.

Best of luck,


Catching up and the first month of internship

Hey Readers,

I know it has been a while since I have posted and part of that was because of how busy everything has been. If you have kept up with my fellow bloggers, you know the long version of how the fall went. In short, we worked hard in classes (but still found time to be social and explore Boston), visited and interviewed with the accounting firms associated with the program, and then found out where we would be doing our internship.

For me, that place was KPMG, which was great because it was my top choice for firms. Understand that everyone clicks with different firms for a variety of different reasons, but, for me, it was a combination of the people I had talked to throughout the recruiting process and the office culture that we got a taste of during the office visit. Everyone I talked to during the recruiting process just seemed really cool and I could see myself being friends with them outside of work which, to me, is crucial for audit. In addition, I knew that I wanted to work at a “Big 4” firm, but, since I have always attended a smaller school, the family vibe at KPMG felt very comfortable to me. Everyone here is looking out for everyone else at KPMG and this has proven to be true through my first month here.

Another attractive benefit of interning at KPMG is that I am able to experience a variety of clients. I just finished up a two-week stint on a major international athletic gear company. The audit team had 10 people in total and, even when we had to work 11 or 12 hour days, the time went by very quickly. In fact, it flew by to the point where I would look up from the work and be surprised at how late it had gotten. This was true even when I was doing some of the more mundane tasks assigned to new auditors. It was also nice to have confirmation that I made the right career choice. Classes are one thing; actual work experience is something else.

As I am writing this, I am about to start on my second client, a major US-based toy company. I am looking forward to getting to see a completely different size of company and type of industry than what I saw on my first engagement. Later on in the internship, I am looking forward to working on a financial services client – more about that later.

As a final note, being an intern is an incredibly humbling experience. The GSPA (Graduate Studies of Professional Accounting) program does a phenomenal job of preparing you for the internship, but nothing can prepare you for actually putting your knowledge into practice. You have to come to peace with the fact that you will always be the least knowledgeable person in the room, but it is perfectly fine because everyone else has been there and is there to help you. I asked a lot of questions my first two weeks and, because of that, I learned a lot in the process (and received a great first review).

Next update soon


Almost There!!

Hello Everyone!!

There is a lot  to fill you in on since my last blog, where I discussed the beginning of the fall semester.

The fall semester has been very busy to say the least. My classmates and I are enrolled in five classes this semester: Corporate Governance & Ethics, Corporate & Government/Non-Profit Financial Reporting, Audit & Other Assurance Services, Taxation of Business & Individual Entities, and Information Systems & Technologies. The classes have been very challenging, yet rewarding as I have expanded my knowledge of the accounting and auditing profession. Furthermore, I have thoroughly enjoyed all of the professors this semester as many have prior professional experience within the audit and tax profession. Such experience adds a unique perspective to the classroom that cannot be found in many other programs. Needless to say, I made a wise decision to attend the Northeastern MSA/MBA program.

Additionally, my classmates and I recently discovered which firm we would be assigned to during the internship portion of the program, which begins in January. It was very exciting and everyone celebrated the great news together.

Now, as my classmates and I have completed over half the semester, we are all looking to finish strong down the home-stretch and cannot wait to start working in January!

So until next time – it’s back to studying.

Best of luck,


Leaves Change Color, Classes Get Tougher

Happy October everyone!

Though you can barely tell by this week’s beautiful summer-like weather, we are in the full swing of fall here in Boston. The leaves are turning, coats and pants are necessary to fight off the early morning chill, and everything smells of crisp apples and cinnamon.

Like I mentioned back in September, our fall semester in the MSA/MBA program was rumored to be the most difficult of the program. Unfortunately, I have to concur with that assessment and share that we are indeed making our way through one heck of a loaded academic schedule. None of our 5 classes – audit, accounting, tax, corporate governance and IT – are overwhelming in the information that they teach; in fact, many concepts transfer between classes so we receive reinforcement of various topics in multiple classes. What makes this a rough semester is the workload! Every week we have at least one major thing to look forward to – quizzes, exams, presentations and lots of cases. We’ve been working in groups quite often, which is great preparation for our future jobs in public accounting. I’ve definitely been learning a lot about myself in group situations as well as my classmates. Thankfully we still have our three-day weekends because otherwise there wouldn’t be enough time to get through all our assignments!

Outside of class, September was a busy month of interviews with our partner firms for our internships. I ended up interviewing with six of the eight firms, which was a great experience to get some time one-on-one with partners and HR representatives from the firms. We finished up those interviews at the end of the month, and for the last few weeks have been discussing our preferences with the GSPA office. Tomorrow is the day when we find out our internship placements – and I’m super excited! Next time I write, I’ll be sure to share where I’m headed.

Boston/New England are lovely places to be in the fall, and I’ve been attempting to leave my desk and enjoy the season. There are so many great things to enjoy both outdoors and indoors, and I would be remiss not to try to experience at least some of them. It’s a nice study break to head out to a festival or the apple orchards, and when you’re here next year I recommend that you all try to take a breather every once in a while too!

Well, back to the homework grind. I’ll be on a webinar about financing your graduate education tomorrow, October 16 at 12:30 pm. I hope some of you will be able to tune in for some pertinent information!

Until next time🙂