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Exploring the Unfamiliar Territory of Accounting

By all accounts, Patrick Rose is adept at making changes and taking things in stride. After graduating from the University of Connecticut, Rose followed employment and study opportunities that took him in just three years to Colorado and New Mexico before he moved to Charlotte, NC. Once there, he decided it was time to develop his career and find his way to graduate school. Rose considered himself good with numbers and – through his diverse work experiences – ready and willing to explore unfamiliar territory. Initially encouraged by the value of in-state tuition, Rose looked at NC State’s Jenkins Master of Accounting (MAC) Program in the Poole College of Management.

With additional scrutiny, Rose was drawn to the NC State MAC Program’s condensed timeline of only one year to completion. But since he has an undergraduate degree in natural sciences, the MAC Program’s Accelerated Summer Accounting Prerequisite (ASAP) Program sealed the deal for Rose.

ASAP is a 5-week summer bridge program designed for non-accounting majors. Rose was unfazed by the promise of an intensive curriculum: “I knew it was going to be a bit of a challenge, … I will say that they did a very good job” adding that ASAP was “set up in a reasonable way so that in the end of it we could demonstrate that we had the knowledge under our belts. We had a separate professor each week for each of the subjects. It was very much a crash course in exactly what that subject was.”

For Rose, the ASAP program provided not just prerequisite knowledge, but context. Both he and the professors under whom he and his peers studied during the ASAP Program got to know one another. Together, he feels that they established that in the coming year they would be prepared to work hard to bridge the inevitable gaps that arise not just for non-traditional students, like Rose, but for any student in a rigorous time-intensive program.

Even with Rose’s capacity to self-motivate and “take on new routines and run with it,” what then was the hook that connected Rose to the MAC Program for the year that followed ASAP?

“The faculty,” Rose answered. “I know that as an undergrad I showed up to class, I did the work that I needed to do… I did not really need to meet professors.”

But Rose found in the MAC Program a different student-faculty tone: “Here – probably due to a) the rigor of the program and b) due to the nature of grad school, the faculty is much more involved, I know them better here.”

As the year drew to a close, Rose took full advantage of the career management services he found in the Jenkins MAC Program. Still thinking at the outset that he’d pursue a traditional public accounting role, he attended every evening of the “Meet the Firms” events arranged by Sara Concini and her team. Concini, assistant director of Career Services for the Jenkins MAC Program, remembers well working with Rose.

“He recalled vividly that he had spent his career up to that point doing jobs for which he’d had little prior experience and that he was always willing to explore and would end up succeeding. He’s talented, creative and truly open to the possibilities,”said Concini.

With Rose’s own openness to new experience, and Concini’s encouragement, Rose redirected his job hunt away from traditional public accounting firms.

“At one point I sat down with [Sara] and mentioned a Bank of America position that intrigued me and she said ‘you know what – based on your history and me interacting with you so far – you may be more well-suited to go the business/finance route because you aren’t focused exclusively on accounting.’ ”

In fact, Patrick Rose got that job at Bank of America, and on July 9 he will begin his next professional chapter as he settles into the Boston-based role as an internal auditor in Bank of America’s Corporate Analyst Program. When he reflects on his experience in the Jenkins MAC Program, he comes again to a thread that runs through his graduate experience – personalization.

“The entire time I didn’t feel I was in a cookie cutter program.” Rose looks back on his intensive year not just as a student that passed through a high-quality program with the metrics to illustrate its value, but also as a process in which he had “someone to look at [my] unique situation and try to guide me the best way they can.” Rose and his Jenkins MAC Program colleagues will be hooded on May 10 and graduate several days later, May 12. See full Commencement Details here.

This article was written for the NC State Poole College of Management by Fran Wescott.