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Introducing the MAC Class of 2021

Every year the NC State Jenkins Master of Accounting Program receives hundreds of applications from dedicated and qualified individuals looking to take their careers to the next level. Year after year, we see that while our students’ experiences and backgrounds may vary, their drive is the same.

The incoming Class of 2021 is no exception.

Meet a few of our students…

Elnura Kadirova

On-Campus Program
Fergana, Uzbekistan

 Tell us about your background.

I was born in Uzbekistan – part of the former Soviet Union. After graduating from high school, I moved to Moscow, where I worked in oil and gas. As I began thinking about higher education, I considered various parts of Europe but ultimately decided the United States has the best higher education system. In 2014, I moved to the U.S. I studied at Louisiana State University and Minnesota State University before receiving a scholarship to get my associate’s degree in petroleum engineering from Houston Community College in Texas. Around that time, I met my husband and moved to North Carolina with him.

What drew you to accounting?

Back when I was a young girl, my mother had a pastry business, and I helped her with bookkeeping. As the oldest, that was one of my responsibilities. In my culture, you support the family business. I wasn’t just responsible for chores, but also finances. So from a young age, I had an understanding of costs and profits.

Why did you decide to pursue your MAC?

After graduation, I started thinking about what I wanted to do with my career, and my husband mentioned accounting. I went to Wake Technical Community College to get the prerequisites I’d need for the MAC program. My individual tax professor at Wake Tech promoted a “Taste of Accounting” event held on campus. I met Jay Arrington, associate director of admissions for the Jenkins MAC, who was there recruiting students, and I loved talking with him. I didn’t have all my pre-reqs yet, but Jay had me stop by his office to talk more about the program. He also introduced me to Kelly Hardy, the college’s associate director of student programs and career services. They allowed me to participate in the college’s Accounting Internship Recruitment (AIR) program events, though I wasn’t an undergrad at NC State. They really believed in me. Through my participation in the AIR program, I matched as an intern with Dixon Hughes Goodman (DHG).

Which parts of the MAC Program are you excited about?

I’m excited about the people, classes and experience I’ll receive. I was worried when I started my internship at DHG because I didn’t have an accounting background, but between their amazing team and the support I have with the Jenkins MAC program, I know I’ll be able to do my job well.

What are your plans after graduation?

I already have a job offer with DHG after graduation, and I’m looking forward to working with their team full-time.

Precious Rogers

Jenkins MAC Academic Fellow
On-Campus Program
Chicago, Illinois

Tell us about your background.

I was born in Chicago and then moved to North Carolina in 2011. I recently graduated from NC State with a degree in accounting, with a financial analysis concentration.

What drew you to accounting?

I started at NC State as a psychology major before switching to accounting. I remember taking an accounting class during my senior year of high school and really enjoying it. I love the laws, rules and structure of accounting. It’s really satisfying for me to balance journal entries and transactions.

Why did you decide to pursue your MAC?

I worked with the MAC program as a student assistant while I was an undergrad and really loved the people and program. Also, I want to be a CPA, so this fits in my career path.

Which parts of the MAC Program are you excited about?

I want to be challenged. I know going through the Jenkins MAC program will make me a stronger candidate in my field. I’m also looking forward to being around like-minded students.

What are your plans after graduation?

I’ve interned at EY last summer, where I explored tax, audit and risk advisory, and I’ll be with the company again this summer as a risk advisory intern. So with that experience, in addition to my MAC degree, I hope to join one of the big four firms and mix my interests in information technology and accounting. 

Major Gene Pursifull

Online Program
Angier, North Carolina

 Tell us about your background.

I joined the U.S. Army in 1986 and served in the 82nd Airborne Division before getting accepted to NC State as an undergraduate. I was recalled to active duty for Operation Desert Storm in 1991 and returned to school later that summer to complete a bachelor’s degree in business management. I continued my military service in both the NC National Guard and Army Reserves and was again recalled to active duty in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2005 and have remained on active duty ever since. I have almost 19 years of active duty over my almost 34 years of combined military service. I am now 52 and will soon be retiring from active duty to pursue a career in accounting and, hopefully, teaching accounting in a university setting.

What drew you to accounting?

Thirty years ago, I pursued a degree in business and finance because that is what fascinates me, but I only got it partially right. I realized through the years that I spent the majority of my free time reading or listening to news related specifically to accounting.  I was curious to know how large businesses that seemed profitable could go bankrupt with little warning and, to my horror, realized that I could not read financial statements with confidence and form my own opinions. I was discouraged that so many financial experts couldn’t detect financial statement fraud as seen during the 2008 financial crisis and I couldn’t tell which companies had safe dividends and which company were in financial trouble — even with a business degree. 

 Why did you decide to pursue your MAC?

My ultimate goal is to use my experience as a military instructor, as well as my future accounting education and experience, to spend as many years as possible teaching accounting at a university. I would hope to inspire future students to pursue accounting and appreciate what this profession provides the public, as many of the Poole accounting faculty have done for me. Initially, I wanted to take one advanced accounting course almost six years ago to learn how to read financial statements, and I was so impressed and inspired that I have changed my career plan. I now believe that even at 52, it is not too late to change careers and pursue a career more in-line with your genuine interests.

Which parts of the MAC Program are you excited about?

It is much more than just the high quality and reputation of the MAC program, and the fact I completed my undergraduate degree there. NC State was the only college that I even considered applying to and I was prepared to wait until I retired to attend if that was my only option. The most significant reason for me was the faculty and their keen ability to believe in you, inspire genuine interest, and support your ambition to succeed. I cannot begin to tell you the number of times the accounting department faculty reached out beyond what was possible to accommodate my individual circumstances. I am now combining the new Graduate Tax Analytics and Technology Certificate (TATC) with the MAC program. I am very excited about not only getting accepted to both programs but actually starting on them two years earlier than I thought possible. This is an exciting and unprecedented time for non-traditional students to obtain advanced degrees that were previously beyond their reach. NC State has made so many significant decisions, which provide maximum flexibility and eliminate the many obstacles to returning to school.  

What are your plans after graduation?

I hope to gain the requisite accounting experience by working at a large accounting firm in either tax or audit so that I can start teaching undergraduate accounting, as well as advocate for this career path among transitioning veterans who will also move from military service to their own civilian careers. 

Learn more about Gene and his experience in this YouTube video

Mike Zimmerman

On-Campus Program
Cleveland, Ohio

 Tell us about your background.

I’m 60 years old and graduated from NC State with a bachelor’s degree in accounting in 1982. I worked for KPMG in Raleigh for approximately eight years, and then four years as the chief financial officer for a closely held real estate company. In 1994, I purchased the franchise rights to a The Athlete’s Foot retail store and started my own business, which I did for the next 20 years. I had three stores at one point. I sold two stores to another franchisee in 2007 and exited the franchise system in 2011. At that point, I rebranded my store as Capital RunWalk and became independent. I ultimately sold my store to a division of Finish Line in 2014 and “retired.” However, I soon became bored and got involved with the American Red Cross in 2016. Today, I am a member of the board of directors of the American Red Cross of Central NC.  I served as our chapter’s board chair in 2018 and 2019 and currently serve as the organization’s mission committee chair. 

What drew you to accounting?

I started at NC State in engineering and did not do well. I switched my major to business, took an introductory accounting class my sophomore year and really enjoyed it. I decided to take additional accounting classes and along the way learned about career opportunities with Big 8 firms. I eventually changed my major to accounting and pursued a career at a Big 8 firm.

Why did you decide to pursue your MAC?

I began teaching finance classes at Wake Technical Community College as a part-time adjunct in the spring of 2019. I reinstated my CPA license last fall and returned to NC State this spring to get my MAC degree. I’m pursuing the MAC degree in order to be qualified to teach full-time at the community college or university level.

Which parts of the MAC Program are you excited about?

I’m excited about several aspects of the program. My CPA license was inactive for 20+ years and the profession changed dramatically during that time. The MAC program will be a huge help in updating my technical skills. Although I’m old enough to be most students’ fathers (or grandfathers), I really enjoy the personal interaction of the program. I also find it intellectually stimulating and challenging to return to school after so many years. 

What are your plans after graduation?

To pursue teaching at the community college or university level.

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