Happy Thanksgiving from some of our MSA+MBA students!
Written by: Valerie Gaviria
Is the only thing holding you back from applying is taking the GMAT/GRE? This is only a small step into getting into the program. The admission committee will also be taking your course work, GPA, interview skills and letter of recommendations into consideration. I won’t lie, it is stressful and sometimes you may feel like you aren’t ready to take it but it is important to set the date and commit to a reasonable study schedule. After submitting my application, I studied for about 2 months and took the exam. My classmate and I found that taking a prep class or simply buying prep books really helped in preparing for the exam. If you are feeling uneasy about committing to applying there are students from the current MSA/MBA class that are willing to give you some advice. Also look for guidance in the amazing Graduate School of Professional Accounting staff whom are willing to assist you with the process and give you some tips on what has worked for prior students. Just remember, the exam is not a deal breaker. If it is one of your weaker areas, showing strength in other areas will help you.
Written by: Jasmine Sanchez
Where it all began…….
After graduating from undergrad I decided to take a year off to really focus on finding the perfect graduate program for me and to also gain work experience. When I first found the MSA/MBA program I was in disbelief. I thought to myself “2 degrees in 15 months AND a 3 month paid internship?” No way! It sounded too good to be true but the more research I did the more excited I got about applying. The application process comprised of two interviews one with admissions and one with a representative from an accounting firm, GMAT, essay, and two letters of recommendations. Once that was done, it became a waiting game.
A couple of weeks after I received the news of my acceptance into the program I was ecstatic. At that stage of my life, I knew this was the perfect path. The more information I received about the program, the more excited I got. I knew it was going to be a difficult 15 months but well worth it. Once orientation came, I was nervous but that went away as soon I got to meet my classmates.
The size of the program (about 50 people) has been perfect for me. The majority of us have become very close, helpful with one another and work together to overcome the challenges we face in our rigorous courses. We also spend time with each other outside of school around Boston and plan fun activities with each other. I don’t think I could get through this program without the support of my peers and the amazing staff and faculty in this program.
2 degrees, 15 months, a paid internship and lifetime friendships have made this experience so worth it for me. With every interaction, every test and every accomplishment I can see myself closer to my end goal – a graduate of the program with an offer to start an amazing career!
As we approach the end of the semester I will keep you posted about my mixed emotions on leaving for my internship and about the learning experiences once I return from it.
Written by: Helen Minett
Reflecting on how it all started…
As the winds have picked up here in Boston so have our classes. But, I want to take this opportunity to give you some insight about being in the MSA/MBA program at Northeastern, specifically about the internship placement process. We have recently received our placement letters for our internships and the reality of joining the workforce is starting to sink in. It is crazy to think that after only seven months of studying accounting I will soon be interning in a top tier firm.
It all began on a spring day in very late May as GSPA MSA/MBA class of 2017 gathered together for the first time at 761 Columbus Avenue. It was in that room on the sixth floor that we launched our careers as future accountants. Orientation week was packed, and included networking events, classes and of course the awkward ‘getting to know you’ activities, all accompanied by lots of food.
The following week, classes began and we met the class of 2016 who gave us tips for success in program. My personal favorite was “It’s only 15 months.” As the summer passed we traded our shorts for professional attire as we mixed and mingled with members from the firms, from firm brunches to cocktail hours. The first decision was made in the month of June when we chose the location of our internship. Most people in this program choose Boston but a good number of people do choose to go outside of Boston, most common of which is New York City. The next decision was between tax and audit. You may be asking yourself: what is tax and what is audit? To help us answer that question, we attended a panel about each, with members from each of the firms to help us distinguish between the two. I personally chose Tax in Boston but there is no bad choice and your decision is not a life sentence. As long as you put the work in, the doors will open for you and you can forge your own career path.
Welcoming July decked out in red, white and blue, we also welcomed our second semester of the program. July and August are filled with more classes and long study sessions in the library except now the on campus networking we have become accustomed to is replaced with visits to the firms. This is a huge benefit because you get to go and walk around the firms and meet more people from the firm that most other programs do not offer. As the summer wound down we had another decision looming in the distance: what firm do you want to intern at?
As the undergraduates filtered back to campus in September, instead of name tags we grabbed our pad-folios and put on our suits to interview with the firms. After the interviews wrapped up, we had one more meeting with Elizabeth (the program’s Director) to discuss how we ranked the firms. As these meetings wrapped up, the anticipation of where we will intern mounted. Finally about a week or so later, we all raced up to the office to receive our letters that told us where we will be interning, the grand conclusion to months of work and debates.
In the weeks since, we have received official letters from the firms with more information about our internships and next steps about joining the firm. Noses move from firm information to textbooks and case studies as we study for exams and put together projects for the five classes that fill our fall schedule.
This may sound like a monumental undertaking and it is, but if you are accepted into this program it is because you can succeed here. I hope to see you in May as you take your first steps into the exciting world of professional accounting.
I will be back again soon with more updates of the adventures in Boston.
Written by: Zachary Hanrahan
I’m Zack H., a native of the Boston area, so you can trust me! September and October are in my humble opinion the best months to visit New England. There are brick buildings covered in ivy, seemingly ancient cobblestones, and warm afternoons with sunlit tress of red, orange, and yellow. Boston’s combo of small, quaint neighborhoods and main arteries filled with students and young professionals is downright charming. This time of year the metropolis is a like a content honeybee, who seems to be buzzing along, happily humming through one day into the next.
But to the measure at hand ladies and gentleman, the GSPA program! I am writing to share my experience, and in some ways, our collective experience, as a student in this challenging, highly accelerated MSA/ MBA program. We’ve all come from different backgrounds, different walks of life, different places here to Boston determined to start new careers in public accounting. Our journey began this summer with two semesters of classes, flowed into a busy September of corporate interviews, and has finally landed us here in the present, with job placements for January and surrounded by stacks of homework.
The program is super-charged, super-packed, and super-condensed. I have found the course work particularly difficult, as a person coming from three straight years in the workplace. However, I have also found a bountiful supply of resources and encouragement from the program, my peers, and my professors to help me succeed. This fall semester features a full serving of core material, the hearty nutrition that helps us grown into strong accountants: Taxation, Advanced Accounting, and The Audit Industry.
The courses are vast in their knowledge and scope, but also are applicable to everyday life and the whole world of business. I am finding our taxation class with Professor Rupert wonderful for this exact reason: After class I feel as if my brain might explode, but I also feel enlightened, like I have a more genuine understanding of not just tax policy, but our country as a whole.
Only yesterday we were informed our job placements (internships) for January, so I think the fact that we will be working in only a few months is still sinking in. I was lucky enough to get an opportunity with Grant Thornton, after months of butterflies and built up anticipation. Between our academic studies and professional events (networking, interviews, workshops, etc.) we have been quite busy. The workload supposedly only increases from here until December, but I think we are all excited to experience the coveted “job” side of our professional-academic program. Updates to follow!
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.
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.