Questions & Answers with MAC Students: Part 2
I decided to ask current MAC students to answer common questions asked by prospective students to the program. I hope these questions and their answers will help potential students in their upcoming decisions!
At the end of the post, you’ll find small bios about each student to give a little background on their responses.
How difficult is the MAC Program coursework compared to your undergrad courses?
Daniel – In terms of difficulty, the MAC Program coursework doesn’t differ from my undergraduate courses. What makes the MAC Program challenging is the workload and high expectations of professors. Many topics learned in undergraduate business courses will crystallize in the MAC Program. The professors force you to push your understanding to a new level.
Allayna – I found the MAC program to be quite different than my undergraduate coursework. The work is more difficult, as one would expect, but the nature of the work is very different. The work in the MAC program is not cut and dry as I found most undergraduate work to be, it is common to experience gray areas. It was hard to become comfortable with these gray areas, but over time it becomes something you grow accustomed too and you begin to understand that these experiences will make you more prepared for the gray areas of the real accounting world.
Joy – The MAC coursework definitely presents a new level of challenges as should be expected. However, many of the topics will be familiar from undergrad courses, it is a more in-depth analysis and learning of the topics along with new subject matter. The program has been designed well, having a bit of an easier load with a heavy emphasis on group work in the first semester. This allows you to ease into the demands of a graduate level program while giving time for the recruiting process. Second semester the work load and difficulty of the coursework definitely increases, in my opinion, but hopefully by that point you have the hang of everything and are acclimated to your new environment.
What is the recruitment process like? How helpful is the Career Services department?
Daniel The recruitment process was a major factor in my decision to attend the MAC Program. The program has staff members committed entirely to supporting students with placement decisions. Each large accounting firm, as well as notable local firms, participate in an annual recruiting event known as “Meet the Firms.” During this four-night event, students network with employees from the various firms in attendance. My offer of employment with a Big 4 accounting firm resulted from the relationships I established during Meet the Firms. The recruiting process within the MAC Program is well-structured and highly effective.
Brittany- The recruitment process was great. Tons of firms come to campus and you meet with all of them. Then you post your resume online and firms choose to interview you on campus. After that you are invited back for office visits, and if it all works out, you get an offer. I was amazed at how well recruitment works here. I had tried to find a job during my senior year, but no one really recruits at my undergrad institution. It is a small school with few accounting majors and most of us didn’t graduate with 150 hours. Recruitment at NC State was so easy, and I wish people getting degrees in all majors had the same recruiting process we do because I think it is really successful.
Joy- The recruitment process is definitely demanding, especially when you’re still trying to adjust to a new school and new surroundings. Those in the Career Services department do an excellent job of organizing the recruitment process and being there for support every step of the way. During the summer a resume workshop is offered along with resume critiques. The department also organizes mock interviews with potential employers to prepare students for on campus interviews. Along with the other coursework in the fall, each student is required to take a one credit course which is focused on preparing students for a career, and for those going through the recruiting process this includes lectures on office visits and other pertinent information to aide students.
How does the MAC Program help you prepare for the CPA exam?
Daniel The MAC Program offers its students the tools needed to perform well on the CPA Exam. Classroom instruction exposes students to the majority of topics tested on the exam. In addition, the program provides students with financial support to enroll in reputable CPA Exam review courses. Passing the CPA Exam is essential to success and advancement in the accounting profession, and the MAC Program provides students with tools necessary to accomplish this task.
Allayna – The MAC program does a great job of preparing you for the CPA exam. The coursework is not designed to cover the concepts on the test, but after completion of the program you will find that almost all concepts on the test are a form of a MAC course review. Of course substantial preparation is still necessary, but the program does more than an adequate job of preparing you to study/review for the test.
Joy- It is surprising how much you already know, the MAC Program does a great job of enhancing that knowledge and giving you all the tools necessary to be successful on the exam. The first semester’s coursework covers a great deal of the material on the BEC portion of the CPA exam, which is why they suggest taking that one first sometime in January or February. This year, perhaps the greatest tool they provided was covering the cost of the Becker CPA review course to students without a job offer or whose company was not covering the cost.. The live classes are offered on campus and scheduled to fit around the academic calendar. In addition they do have a set of flashcards which can be signed out to help students review in the final weeks before taking a portion of the exam.
Chris- The combination of the courses in the curriculum and the supplemental CPA review materials available through the program does an excellent job at helping its student prepare for the exam. Many courses within the program place an emphasis on CPA exam preparation by highlighting certain topics that will be tested. The program also has a recommended schedule as to when to sit for each part of the exam. The schedule is strategically developed to have you take a part of the CPA exam soon after you take the corresponding course(s), so that the material is fresh in your mind. Since a majority of the program follows this recommended schedule, it makes it easier to support each other throughout the process. While the live review classes (located conveniently in Nelson Hall) conform to the recommended schedule, some students can also choose to do the “self-study” option if they need some flexibility.
I’m coming from out-of-state, how easy is it to fit in with other students in the program?
Sarah- I found it very easy to make friends and get to know other students within the program. The MAC Student Organization planned many social and service events in the fall so people could get to know one another, which made it easier for everyone to meet and socialize.
Brittany- I think it is fairly easy to fit in with the students at NC State coming from out of state, but my situation is a little bit different. I am from Rochester, NY but went to undergrad at Furman University, which is in South Carolina, so I had already adjusted to life in the south by the time I came here. From my experience going from New York to Furman for undergrad though, I can say that I thought it was a really easy adjustment. I think most kids our age pretty much like to do the same things and have a lot in common.
Joy- It is always intimidating coming into a new environment not knowing anyone and can seem even more so when half of the students went to undergrad together and are already familiar with each other. As scary as it may seem it isn’t hard at all to fit in with other students in the program. Eventually you will find a few people who you naturally gravitate more towards but you will get to know almost everyone in the program through the extensive group work in the first semester, being in the MAC lab, having classes with the same people and frequent social events both on and off campus. Like many situations in life, it is what you make it. As long as you’re not completely anti-social and you stay open to meeting and getting to know new people you will be fine. You might be surprised how much you actually have in common with those whom at first appearance you would expect to be completely opposite of you.
Chris- One of my favorite parts of the program has been how easy it has been to transition to a new set of classmates. Since over half of my class are non-NC State undergraduates and a good number are from out of state (including my two roommates), it meant that plenty of students in the program were in the same situation as me. On top of that, the students who went to NC State for their undergraduate along with the faculty and staff have been very welcoming which has contributed to an extremely awarding experience thus far.
I’m going to be new to Raleigh, what is the city like?
Sarah- Raleigh is an up-and-coming area that feels like a big city and small city at the same time. There are so many things to do in Raleigh and the surrounding areas. Between the NHL Carolina Hurricanes hockey games, the shopping at Cameron Village, and the performances at the Progress Energy Center, there is something to do for everyone.
Daniel As a life-long resident of the Triangle, I would say that Raleigh offers both the small-town and big-city feel. Raleigh has several entertainment options for college students, including the Carolina Hurricanes, NC State Wolfpack, museums, and several restaurants and bars. In general, Raleigh provides an interesting contrast between its more primitive roots in agriculture and its currently expanding corporate presence.
Allayna – Raleigh is very convenient to many places in the southeastern United States. There are multiple interstates that run through Raleigh and can allow for quick transportation to other cities. As for Raleigh itself, there are many options within the city. Downtown is a growing area, there are lots of shopping areas throughout the city, and many parks and outdoor areas offer recreational activities. Raleigh can really cater to anyone, no matter what your interests are, it is just a matter of finding what appeals to you.
Chris- Raleigh has the best of both worlds. It has some of the many things that a big city has to offer such as a great downtown atmosphere, a professional hockey team, and many concerts. At the same time, it has unique city districts and parks that give it a small town feel. It is also neat that you can drive 4 hours west and be in the snow-covered mountains or drive 2 hours east and be on a nice sunny beach. What I have enjoyed the most though is the extended golf and tennis seasons from what I am accustomed to.
Sarah- is from Lafayette, LA and earned her bachelor’s degree in accounting from Louisiana State University. She loves coffee, traveling, and attending any sporting event (unless it involves UNC or any SEC team besides her LSU Tigers). Her favorite holiday is Mardi Gras.
Daniel is from Zebulon, NC and majored in accounting at East Carolina University. He likes to attend professional baseball games, read, go fishing, and watch The Office.
Chris is from Mattoon, IL and did his undergraduate studies at the University of Kentucky in Lexington. He enjoys playing sports, spending time outdoors, and going on road trips. There is no such thing as a food that he will not eat and he thinks his roommate Brett is the coolest person on earth.
Brittany is from Rochester, NY and was an accounting major at Furman University in Greenville, SC. She loves shopping, working out, and traveling.
Allayna is from Bear Creek, North Carolina (5 miles from the geographic center of NC) attended NC State as an undergrad majoring in accounting with a minor in parks, recreation, and tourism management. She loves shopping, socializing, and the Wolfpack! Go PACK!
Joy is from Elmira, NY and was a double major in Accounting and Africana Studies at the University of Pittsburgh in Pittsburgh, PA. She loves food of every kind, especially desserts. When she is not eating she enjoys playing basketball and soccer as well as watching her favorite TV shows and sports games.