NC State Jenkins MAC Program Reflections
We have enjoyed sharing our experiences in the Jenkins MAC Program with you this year. It is hard to believe graduation is a little over a week away! Hopefully you have gained some insight on the day to day life of a Jenkins MAC student. Good luck to everyone starting a MAC Program in the year ahead. It will be a great one!
Forrest & Hannah
As the spring term comes to an end, I want to take a moment to reflect upon my experience as a student in the NC State MAC Program. This year has been one of the most challenging yet rewarding years of my academic career. Over the last eight months, I have come to understand the ever-changing aspect of the accounting world, the multitude of opportunities that stem from a career in accounting, and I have made some memorable relationships along the way. The faculty members at NC State’s Poole College of Management have been excellent.
One of the reasons why I decided to return to NC State for my graduate degree after having completed my undergraduate degree here was the faculty. The sense of community that you find at NC State is unlike any I have heard of elsewhere. On any given day, I was able to walk right in to any of my professors’ offices and ask a question or stop to chat about career advice. I truly felt that the faculty members cared about each member of my MAC class, and showed interest in our career aspirations and goals. On several occasions, the Jenkins MAC team hosted lunch for all of the MAC students during which faculty members would converse with students on a more social setting. What’s more, one of our professors, Bruce Branson, has invited several of us to a yoga class here in Raleigh. While none of us have ever experienced yoga before, it will surely be an entertaining and memorable afternoon. What NC State gets right are the small things. This program has made me feel right at home from the onset, which has enabled me to truly grow and prepare myself for the next step of my journey.
I am very grateful that I chose to attend NC State’s MAC Program. As I prepare for final exams, I find reassurance in the fact that I will be graduating in May from a top quality program where I have developed lasting relationships with both faculty and my fellow classmates.
As I reflect on the last two semesters, it’s hard to believe how much has changed. When I moved from the Midwest to Raleigh in August to start the MAC program at NC State, I could count on one hand the number of people I knew in North Carolina. For weeks, I got lost every time I tried to drive to a new place in Raleigh. Everything was new to me – including a new set of classmates, professors, and academic expectations. I now enjoy the privilege of familiarity. My classmates are some of my closest friends. My professors know me, not just as a face in a class, but as someone who drops by during office hours to ask for help on an assignment or advice on future career plans. NC State’s campus has become a familiar place too. I have logged hundreds of hours studying in Nelson Hall and I am a regular at Port City Java on the second floor. I have adapted to the quirks of Raleigh, and now only rarely get lost.
But this year was not just an experience in a new place. It was a rigorous academic year that challenged me to think of accounting in a whole new way. I was surprised by how little actual ‘journal entry financial accounting’ we did in this program. Instead, classes focus more on soft skills, such as accounting research, business writing, and critical thinking about internal controls, the audit process, and the legal environment surrounding businesses. This year also changed my opinion on group projects. In undergrad, it always seemed that working on a project in a group multiplied work instead of decreasing it. However, this is not the case in the MAC program. Everyone takes group work seriously. People are responsible and respectful of others in the group. For the first time, I actually prefer group projects to individual ones. This has been excellent preparation for my career in public accounting – as an auditor I will be working on a team nearly constantly. Group work in the MAC program has also allowed me to become better friends with my classmates.
We laugh, we study, and we stress out together. I will miss these colleagues a lot when I leave Raleigh in a few months to begin my job in Virginia. I am thankful for this master’s program that has done so much to prepare me for success in my future career.