Student Name: Sydney Samson
Graduate Business School: University of Michigan Ross School of Business
Describe Yourself In 15 Words: Accounting professional with a passion for problem solving, collaborating with others, and serving clients.
Master’s Graduation Class: 2019.
Undergraduate School and Major: University of Michigan Ross School of Business, Business Administration.
Current Employer and Job Title: Ernst & Young, Assurance Staff 2.
Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: My biggest accomplishment in my career so far has been successfully transferring from the EY Chicago office to the Los Angeles office. I have always had an interest in the entertainment industry, and I am now part of a team that audits a film production and distribution company. Since I was mainly focused on retail and transportation clients in Chicago, I have enjoyed the opportunity to see how audit procedures vary across different industries.
Describe your biggest accomplishment as a graduate student: My biggest accomplishment as a graduate student was being a Graduate Student Instructor (GSI). As a GSI I had the opportunity to provide in-classroom assistance in the introductory undergraduate accounting courses. I also held weekly office hours to tutor students and help with homework, exam preparation, etc. I loved having the chance to introduce the undergraduate students to accounting and I found the position to be very rewarding.
What was the key factor that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? I attended Ross for my undergraduate business education and had an amazing experience, so I wanted to continue at the same school for my graduate education. There was a combination of factors that led me to choose Ross again. For one, the professors are incredibly knowledgeable about their respective fields and have impressive achievements outside the classroom as well. I also liked that the Ross curriculum is focused on hands-on learning, real-world application, and collaboration. Lastly, Ross has a large network of alumni who are always willing to connect and assist students with their career goals.
What led you to choose a Master’s in Accounting over an MBA? Coming out of undergrad I had a job offer lined up in Audit at Ernst & Young, and I knew I wanted to become a CPA. I chose a Master’s in Accounting because the curriculum covered a wide variety of accounting topics and focused on CPA exam preparation. The Ross MAcc program is also designed to help students meet the education requirements for CPA licensure. Overall, I wanted a program that was more specialized towards my future career path.
What has been your favorite course and how has it helped you in your career? My favorite course was Corporate Financial Research and Reporting. In this class, I had the opportunity to work on a team to research complex accounting issues using accounting guidance. The class taught me that accounting
is not always black or white; there are a lot of gray areas that require complex judgement. In my job I consistently use the critical thinking skills and research methodology learned in this class.
What role did your school play in helping you to land your first job out of the program? Ross has plenty of resources available to help with the job recruiting process. The Career Development Office provides services such as career advising, resume reviews, and mock interviews. All of the “Big Four” accounting firms and tons of other companies in a variety of industries actively recruit at Ross. Through various on-campus events I was able to network with recruiters and employees leading up to my interviews, which helped immensely in the job application process.
How did your classmates enhance the value of your business school experience? The Ross MAcc curriculum is very focused on collaboration and teamwork. Most courses had group projects, which allowed me to work closely with my classmates on a daily basis. The students in the program came from a variety of educational and professional backgrounds. This helped to enrich my learning experience both inside and outside the classroom. There was a great sense of community and support amongst everyone in the program and I truly looked forward to being in class with my peers every day.
Who was your favorite faculty member and how did this person enrich your learning? My favorite faculty member was Professor James DeSimpelare, who is notoriously known as “Prof D” by Ross students. Prof D taught both my undergraduate and graduate tax classes. Despite choosing accounting for my career path, I always dreaded the thought of taking a tax class. Prof D kept his lectures fun and lively which made it enjoyable to learn the material. He also helped prepare me for the CPA exam by incorporating practice questions into his lectures.
What is your best advice to an applicant hoping to get into your school’s graduate Master’s program? I would encourage applicants to think about their career goals and how a Master’s of Accounting program can help them to achieve those goals. It can also be helpful to talk to current students or alumni prior to
starting the application process to learn more about the specifics of the program. The Ross MAcc website has links where applicants can sign up to connect with current students or schedule a consultation with the admissions team. I would also encourage applicants to think about why they chose the Ross School of Business specifically and highlight that within their application.
What was your best memory from your Master’s program? My best memory from the Master’s program was our class trip to Washington D.C. prior to the start of the program. We had the opportunity to listen to various speakers from governmental agencies and private companies on topics related to accounting and public policy. We also took guided tours of the IRS and Capitol buildings. Overall, it was a fun learning experience and I also got the chance to bond with my future classmates.