First Accelerated Bachelor’s/Master’s Program MAC Students Turn the Tassel
On Saturday, December 17, 2022, Holden Barham and Annie Joseph made their way across the stage for Poole College of Management’s fall commencement ceremony. In addition to marking a new beginning for the graduates, it also served as a milestone event in Poole College’s history – as the two were the first to graduate from the Jenkins MAC program’s accelerated bachelor’s/master’s (ABM) program.
Allowing NC State undergraduate students to take MAC classes prior to entering the Jenkins MAC program, the ABM program gives exceptional students the opportunity to earn their bachelor’s and master’s degrees at an accelerated pace. MAC credit hours are double counted for both the bachelor’s and master’s degree requirements, shortening the total amount of time it takes for students to obtain the two degrees.
According to Barham, his decision to join the ABM program was an easy one.
“I first heard about the ABM program at the start of my senior year while speaking to my advisor about my interest in business and accounting. She mentioned the ABM program and the opportunity to continue my education in the Jenkins MAC program,” Barham says.
“Later on, I spoke with a friend who participated in another ABM program at NC State. They gave me a first-hand description of the program and said it was a great way to earn my master’s degree in a relatively short amount of time. By that point, I had decided to pursue accounting as my career – so the opportunity to earn a master’s degree and prepare for the CPA exam within a year was too good to pass up,” he continues.
I had decided to pursue accounting as my career – so the opportunity to earn a master’s degree and prepare for the CPA exam within a year was too good to pass up.
Meanwhile, Joseph learned about the ABM program from Scott Showalter, director of the Jenkins MAC program, while starting the MAC program application process. Because she was almost finished with her bachelor’s program requirements, she saw the ABM program as a unique opportunity to maximize the time left in her undergraduate career.
As an added bonus, the ABM program allowed Joseph to get her feet wet rather than diving into the Jenkins MAC program headfirst.
“I only had two classes left in my last semester of undergrad and thought it would be great to add a MAC class to my schedule. It was an excellent opportunity to interact with MAC professors and MAC students at the undergraduate level – which helped me learn more about the program and career and better understand what to expect moving forward,” Joseph says.
“It also helped me a lot in reducing the load during the MAC program. So for anyone who can handle an extra class, or who – like me – has fewer hours to take during their final year, the ABM program is a great fit. It helps get your master’s degree off to a good start,” she continues.
Barham, too, is glad he took advantage of the opportunity – and would also recommend it to others. Because ABM students are required to complete the MAC degree within 12 months of completing their bachelor’s degree, Barham notes that the accelerated pace, while valuable, may be challenging. Still, he believes that it’s manageable and that it’s a great fit for students who are eager to start their careers.
“Any student who is willing to put in the time and dedication for two semesters will find this program to be well worth it, as it allows them to gain a quality education in a very reasonable amount of time. The work is hard and the hours can be long – but looking back, I am so proud of myself for accomplishing this goal and succeeding in the program. I have no doubt that other students willing to push themselves to succeed will feel the same way,” he explains.
As for his overall experience in the MAC program, Barham says that the relationships he formed and the hands-on experience he gained are what stand out most.
“I really appreciate the program’s emphasis on teamwork and the importance of working alongside others to create a stronger end result. From papers to presentations, I have never participated in such a large amount of group work – but I am very thankful for the opportunity, as it allowed me to gain a great deal of experience in collaborating with others in a professional setting,” he says.
The program staff and faculty, Barham says, are who make this kind of learning environment possible.
My professors were all excellent and the program’s structure allowed for a cohesive and strong learning experience.
“My professors were all excellent and the program’s structure allowed for a cohesive and strong learning experience. I also appreciated how interactive and friendly the program staff were. Everyone that I interacted with was extremely helpful and overall made the program easy to navigate and feel comfortable to be a part of. I enjoyed building relationships with them and being encouraged by them every day,” he says.
Joseph agrees. True to the university’s Think and Do spirit, every faculty and staff member prepared her for success in the marketplace – making her experience in the MAC program a positive one.
“I loved that for every concept we learned, the professors included examples from the real world. The projects and group work for our courses were organized considering the economy around us, and we were asked to do presentations as we would for real company executives. This made learning better and made the course content more relatable,” she says. “I also really appreciated the MAC program’s career services. They helped us with networking, preparing for interviews and presenting ourselves to employers.”
And it paid off. In February, Joseph will join TMF Group as a staff accountant.
Meanwhile, Barham looks forward to joining his father’s firm, Barham & Associates, in Eden, NC. He also plans to continue studying for the CPA exam and finishing the four sections within the year.
I am looking forward to starting my career as an accountant and seeing where it takes me – and I’m really grateful for how my time in the ABM program prepared me for it.
“I am looking forward to starting my career as an accountant and seeing where it takes me – and I’m really grateful for how my time in the ABM program prepared me for it. The experiences and relationships that I was able to gather while in the program are invaluable and will carry me into my career forever,” he says.
And as he takes his next steps, Barham offers a few words of advice for future ABM students who come behind him.
“Keep a calendar and manage your time. Keeping up with my assignments in a calendar and managing my schedule helped me to never fall behind and keep a solid pace that kept me sane as I made my way through,” he says. “And while it’s easy to focus on your work and get bogged down, I encourage you to find time to enjoy yourself. I made some of the most important relationships and most fun memories of my life while I was in the MAC program, so I don’t regret a moment of time I spent away from my work. So work hard – but have fun, too. You’ll be glad you did.”
For more information about the Jenkins MAC program’s ABM program, please contact Jay Arrington, director of admissions for the Jenkins MAC program, or Jessica Moran, assistant director of academic programs for Jenkins MAC.