Master’s in Accounting: Ryan McMichens, USC (Levanthal)

Student Name: Ryan McMichens

Graduate Business School: USC Leventhal School of Accounting

Describe Yourself In 15 Words: I would say I am hardworking and love being around smart people and challenging myself.

Master’s Graduation Class: 2019.

Undergraduate School and Major: Auburn University, Finance.

Current Employer and Job Title: KPMG Deal Advisory Associate.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: I think my biggest accomplishment in my career so far is just the pace of learning I have been able to enjoy in my role at KPMG. My role gives me the opportunity to dig into the financials and business model of a new company on an almost monthly basis. The foundation I gained at USC continues to be invaluable to that process.

Describe your biggest accomplishment as a graduate student: My biggest accomplishment as a graduate student was keeping myself organized so that I was able to learn as much as possible in my coursework and still find time to build lifelong friendships with my classmates and enjoy some of the great things Los Angeles has to offer.

What was the key factor that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? Beyond the top-10 ranking, beautiful weather, access to all of Los Angeles, and outstanding reputation that USC offers, the biggest factor in my choosing USC over other programs was the interaction I had with the professional and welcoming program staff prior to enrolling. I could tell immediately that my education would be in good hands – which turned out to be 100% true.

What led you to choose a Master’s in Accounting over an MBA? I chose a Master’s in Accounting over an MBA for the specific technical focus provided by the accounting curriculum and the advantages afforded by the one-year timeline: the total costs were much lower than the cost of an MBA, and I only spent one year out of the workforce, versus two for an MBA. The technical knowledge base I developed has provided me with a strong foundation as I continue to build my business acumen in the workplace.

What has been your favorite course and how has it helped you in your career? My favorite course at USC was Financial Statement Analysis with Professor Richard Sloan. Professor Sloan’s class provided a fantastic opportunity to apply the technical accounting skills from other coursework to financial statements in a holistic way, and his way of explaining complex concepts in extremely simple terms made absorbing the material in his class easy.

What role did your school play in helping you to land your first job out of the program? The recruiting support system at USC was absolutely first rate and was a major advantage in eventually landing the exact job I wanted. There were plenty of opportunities to network with professionals during the process thanks to the robust alumni network and the school’s relationships with so many great firms. 

How did your classmates enhance the value of your business school experience? USC attracted a broad and interesting range of classmates who provided excellent opportunities for collaboration, diverse perspectives, and high-performing but collegial environment. 

Who was your favorite faculty member and how did this person enrich your learning? There are so many great faculty at USC it’s difficult to pick just one. One theme that is consistent across all the faculty, however, is how deeply they care about the education of their students. Every professor I took at USC was happy to answer questions in and out of the classroom and all of them challenged me to achieve as much as I possibly could.

What is your best advice to an applicant hoping to get into your school’s graduate Master’s program? My advice to applicants to USC is to embrace the interviews. I had so many classmates with such interesting stories from so many backgrounds – don’t be afraid to show your interests beyond accounting during the admissions process.

What was your best memory from your Master’s program? The USC Summer Intensive program (for undergraduate majors other than accounting) was a tough but rewarding experience that left me with a much deeper understanding of accounting and a lot of great friends.

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