From Econ Major to Accounting Professional

Image of Megan

Megan Degelsmith, MPAcc 2021 Grad

Many undergraduate Economics majors overlook Accounting as a viable professional path, but with one extra summer of accounting classes, plus our 9-month Masters degree, it becomes very possible.  We asked one of our recent graduates from the Master of Professional Accounting program, Megan Degelsmith, some questions on how she made this transition.

What brought you to accounting, and specifically UW’s MPAcc program?

Introductory accounting classes required for my undergraduate degree in Managerial Economics at UC Davis sparked my interest, though I was not aware that majoring in accounting was an option at the time. A couple years after getting my bachelor’s degree and learning about vast career options, I looked into what it would take to become a Certified Public Accountant and quickly learned I would need more accounting units (and a lot more knowledge of accounting in general) to be eligible for the license.

I began the search for a graduate accounting program and spoke with Adam Shinn, Director of Graduate Accounting Programs at the Foster School of Business. Early in the conversation, it was apparent that I did not possess the prerequisites to attend the Master of Professional Accounting (MPAcc) at University of Washington. Instead of turning me away and suggesting I get a second undergraduate degree in accounting, as other program directors had done, he offered a solution. He introduced the Summer Accounting Certificate Program, a ten week intensive accounting course that encompasses the core classes necessary to succeed in pursuing the MPAcc.

What was the recruiting process like and tell us about the job you accepted?

I had the opportunity to complete the Accounting Certificate Program during summer, immediately followed by the MPAcc. In addition to the expertise and mentorship Foster professors provide, the career center steps in to support students during recruiting for public accounting early Fall quarter. The recruiting process allows students to connect with dozens of firms in the greater Seattle area. Even with little knowledge of public accounting, I had the support and resources necessary to navigate the job search and successfully accepted a winter internship and full time position as an Audit Associate with Grant Thornton in their Seattle office.

Image of Mega kayaking in river

When Megan is not busy studying for her CPA exams, you will find her on the rivers of Washington State.

Would you recommend this path (Summer Accounting Intensive and MPAcc) to other Econ majors?

After completing my winter internship and two of four CPA exams, I can confidently say that the Foster School of Business sets students up for success. I highly recommend both the Accounting Certificate Program and the MPAcc to students wanting to pursue accounting coming from a non-traditional background. The Foster School of Business truly promotes a growth mindset and facilitates endless career opportunities.

Click here for more information on MPAcc Admissions.

The University of Washington’s Professional and Continuing Education offers the Summer Accounting Intensive Certificate as well as a an Accounting Certificate program that runs throughout the academic year. Click here for more information.