Thank you for agreeing to share your experience with us, Andrew. Please give us some background about yourself and your accounting program?
Andrew Wangelin: If ever there was a straight path between points A and B, I’m certain that I didn’t take it. I have always derived a great sense of satisfaction and identity from the work that I do and so for me becoming a dedicated full time student never seemed like a viable option. I have started and participated in several successful entrepreneurial endeavors but now yearn for a career.
At 29 years of age I am a newly wed and proud student of The Zicklin School of Business at Baruch College. A place where “The American Dream Still Works” as the college’s motto declares. With my love of business and finance as well as an aptitude for mathematics, deciding to pursue a career in accounting was easy. Once accepted, the decision to attend Baruch College was, for me, a foregone conclusion.
www.accountingdegreesonline.org: Why did you choose to attend Baruch College’s accounting program?
Andrew Wangelin: Baruch College is consistently well ranked, conveniently located in Midtown Manhattan and is highly regarded by the CPAs that I have spoken with. When the reputation of Baruch College is paired against the low cost the value offered is overwhelming. In addition to this Baruch College was, and to the best of my knowledge still is, the only area school that offers a graduate level accounting program that is tailored to the education needs of students that did not study accounting as undergraduates. Due to changes in the New York State CPA requirements enacted in August of 2009 the other schools that I interviewed would have required me to take up to a year of undergraduate courses before beginning a graduate course of study.
Baruch College offers graduate accounting students two courses of study. The MS program is for students with undergraduate degrees in accounting or business, whereas the MBA program is designed for students coming from all other backgrounds. Each course of study is also available as a full or “flex” time program that offers flexible scheduling with many evening courses to accommodate parents and working professionals.
www.accountingdegreesonline.org: What do you like most about the program?
Andrew Wangelin: The MBA flex-time program was ideal for someone like me. It offered an opportunity to continue working, while still making time for school and meeting the New York State CPA education requirements.
www.accountingdegreesonline.org: What do you like least about the program?
Andrew Wangelin: As a part-time student it is difficult to participate in the extra-curricular activities, internships and work related experience that will help to develop you as a well rounded future employee. The decision to pursue a graduate degree requires a large commitment of your time both in and out of the classroom. If you can attend full time the experience will be much more rewarding.
www.accountingdegreesonline.org: Have you participated in any activities outside of the classroom that were especially rewarding?
Andrew Wangelin: To date the highlight of my Baruch College experience was a tour of the Bloomberg Tower organized by the Zicklin Graduate Finance & Investment Club (ZGFIC) during which were treated to a lecture and Q&A session with radio host Tom Keene. The ground floor of the Baruch College Technology and Library building is home to the Subotnick Financial Services Center & Wasserman Trading Floor where the library regularly holds workshops on the Bloomberg Professional service in their state of the art facility. The amazing staff of the Graduate Career Management Center (GCMC) can be found on the eighth floor. They are available by appointment or walk-in during office hours and are a great asset in developing your resume, interview skills and personal brand.
www.accountingdegreesonline.org: What advice to you have for people who are in the process of choosing an accounting program?
Andrew Wangelin: Many careers in accounting begin with employment at a public firm such as the “Big Four” auditors. The “Big Four”, as well as many large corporations, recruit very heavily through college career centers. If this is a path that you might be interested in take some time to explore the career services at your potential schools before making an enrollment decision. Also, once enrolled remain aware of the services and workshops that your college’s career center offer. Most of all, be proactive.
Alternatives to the “Big Four” include their slightly lesser known competitors, the government, public and private corporations or self employment which requires the CPA designation in advance. Careers in accounting generally fall into one of the following categories. Audit, budget, financial, managerial or tax accounting. Ultimately, I would like to be recruited by one of the “Big Four” where I could spend the next few years traveling and doing audits until I am offered a promotion to partner. At that time I could settle down with my loving and supportive wife to start a family.
There are many other career paths within accounting and it’s important to bear in mind that as an accountant you will have very broad potential horizons. Take some time to think about where you might see yourself five to ten year from now. Be honest with yourself. What goals do you have for today? What impact will the college decisions that you make have on your future? Do the schools that your considering have the resources necessary to promote your goals?
Andrew suggested the following resources for those interested in learning more about Baruch College.
Baruch College – Official Website: http://www.baruch.cuny.edu/
Zicklin School of Business at Baruch College: http://zicklin.baruch.cuny.edu/
Graduate Career Management Center Website: http://zicklin.baruch.cuny.edu/services/