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Michael Cento ‘17, Corporate Accounting Manager, Kymera International

Thanks to the Jenkins MAC program, Michael Cento developed the foundation he needed to change careers from education to accounting – and gained the skills he needed to contribute to the workforce on day one.

Get to know Michael

Current role: Corporate accounting manager
Current industry: Manufacturing
Current location: Fuquay-Varina, NC 
Program start date: August 2016
Graduation date: May 2017
Program format: On campus

Life before Jenkins

Education: Stony Brook University, B.S. in Mathematics, M.A. in Teaching (Mathematics)
Work experience: 6 years 
Role: Math teacher
Field: Education
Industry: Education

Why a MAC?

Before starting his career in accounting, Cento taught middle school math for Wake County Public Schools. His plan was always to return home to Long Island and pursue a career in teaching there – but six years in, he decided to change course. “My wife and I liked the Raleigh area so much that we decided to stay here, and that’s when I decided I wanted to follow a different career path,” he says. “Accounting was my first major before I decided to pursue education and always something I was interested in – and I knew getting my MAC would enable me to change careers. I found the MAC program at NC State and applied – and the rest is history.”

Why Jenkins? 

After researching various options, Cento found that the Jenkins MAC program at NC State was the best fit for his needs. “I wanted to be able to take classes on campus to develop relationships with faculty and other students that would become my peers and contemporaries in the accounting industry,” he says. “I was also attracted to the opportunity to apply for a fellowship and was fortunate enough to earn one.”

What made it great

According to Cento, building those connections in person was well worth the investment. “The faculty in the Jenkins MAC program exceeded my expectations,” he says. “It was a good mix of faculty members with an academic background and those who had long, successful careers in public accounting and industry. The faculty was also available and willing to offer help and guidance throughout the program.”

Taking the leap of faith to complete the MAC program and change careers is one of the best things I ever did.

Career impact 

As a career changer, Cento particularly appreciated the opportunity to gain real-world insights and expand his professional network in the Jenkins MAC program. “Taking the leap of faith to complete the MAC program and change careers is one of the best things I ever did,” Cento says. “The switch to accounting from education was a significant change, but I was well prepared to enter the workforce and contribute immediately.”

Cento also credits the Jenkins MAC program’s Lifelong Learning programs, which provide opportunities to grow professionally, explore industry insights and connect with the Jenkins MAC community, while adding value to his career. “Lifelong Learning is the icing on the cake,” he says. “The accounting world is small and there’s a strong network of Jenkins MAC alumni, so the opportunity to join that professional network was a huge bonus – and Lifelong Learning helps build and strengthen those connections even further.” 

Final thoughts

Based on his own experience, Cento believes individuals with all kinds of backgrounds can benefit from the Jenkins MAC program. “The program was life-changing for me, as it offered me a path to change my career trajectory – and I believe the program is a good fit for other career changers as well. I certainly wasn’t the only one in my MAC class making a pivot in their career,” he says. “The Jenkins MAC program will challenge you, and you will be a better professional for it.”

Get in touch

Connect with Michael on LinkedIn

Learn more

To learn more about the Jenkins MAC program, including tuition, curriculum, career opportunities and more, please submit the form below. 

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