Q&A with Max DePina, MPAcc alumnus

Max DePinaMax DePina graduated from the MPAcc program in 2016 and is currently an Advisory Consultant at Deloitte. He primarily serves clients in the technology, media and entertainment industries.

Why did you choose to join the MPAcc program?

I chose to join the MPAcc program because I wanted to further my education and technical knowledge of accounting by getting a Master’s degree, but also take part in a well-respected program that offered a faculty with diverse career backgrounds and experiences, the opportunity to acquire on-the-job experience, and a strong alumni network of professionals that are could best teach and prepare me for my future career.

How has the MPAcc experience impacted your career since graduation?

Since my experience with MPAcc, I’ve shifted my career to be more focused on IT and emerging technologies to better understand the tools, we currently have at our disposal, and the future of auditing and assurance. The MPAcc program does a really good job of exploring the current topics and trends within the industry and where things are headed, so that MPAcc students are not only aware, but can use that information to provide high quality professional services to the clients they may serve.

Think back to before you started MPAcc and where you are now. What key skills and/or mindset did you acquire during the MPAcc program?

The mindset that I acquired during the MPAcc program, was a unique understanding of being the client, the regulators, and the professional service providers due to the varying professional experiences and careers of the faculty and guest speakers brought in to teach the class. The assignments and projects are also tailored to helped to further develop that understanding and different perspectives that are key to our industry.

What classroom experiences do you recall influencing how you approach your current job?

For me, the classroom experience that I recall influencing me the most and my approach to my current job was the audit project plan. In this project my team and I were assigned an actual company in the greater Seattle area and were tasked with developing from start to finish our detailed approach to how we would audit that company.

Using a culmination of everything we learned in class, such as, upcoming accounting standard changes, the technical skills of dissecting financial statements and information, as well as, working in a team and having effective communication – all, were on display for this project.

What made this project fantastic is we actually went to those companies and got to talk with their employees and ask questions about the company and their financials, from those who work with the financials every. Not only that, but we got to find out what is important to them and their company to tailor our plan accordingly.

Then we presented our findings and our plan to that company and some of their employees. This level of understanding a company and due diligence required for this project is normally something only gained through experience and showed me how I should strive to approach my work and every client engagement I am schedule on.

Did you undertake an internship as part of the program? What impact has it had on your career goals and way of thinking?

During the MPAcc program, I participated in a winter internship with Deloitte in the Seattle Advisory practice after completing several summer internships with Deloitte. The winter internship was the most realistic experience to what life is like within a Big 4 company and prepared me to know exactly what is to be expected when I start full-time with the firm. The internship also allowed me to directly apply the lessons learned and skills taught in the MPAcc program, as well as, share my experience/learn from the experiences my classmates had during their internships.

How has the MPAcc and Foster alumni networks impacted your career/career path?

The MPAcc and Foster alumni networks has given me a large group of friendly and quality individuals that have proven to be more than willing to help me with my career and career development. Whether it be someone who has experiences I can leverage to learn from, a career or career trajectory I aspire to follow, or similar someone to grab a coffee with, the MPAcc and Foster alumni networks is at easily and readily at my disposal.

Did you feel that the cohort experience and working in teams has benefited your career?

One of my favorite aspects of the MPAcc program was the cohort experience and working in teams. Those experiences not only created a close knit group amongst peers, but also prepared you to work with different professional styles and personalities in a safe environment that also allowed you to explore and gain understanding of your own professional strengths/weaknesses, communication style, and overall professional self within a team. That understanding gained from the MPAcc program has proven to be pivotal to the work and teaming efforts I do on the job today.

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