Switching Gears and Forging a New Path
Elcin Wood, an online student in the Jenkins MAC program, finds that a few twists and turns aren’t always a bad thing.
Sometimes taking an unconventional path is the very thing that leads you where you want to be. At least that’s what Elcin Wood has discovered during her time at NC State.
Wood, who recently enrolled in the Jenkins Masters of Accounting (MAC) online program, began her journey at NC State as an undergraduate student – majoring in biomedical engineering.
“I was almost finished with my bachelor’s degree when I decided to switch to business administration and management at the last minute,” Wood says.
Upon graduation in 2006, Wood started a job at Credit Suisse, where she has been for the last 14 years. She started on the control and regulatory team and worked her way up for nine years before switching gears again and moving to the group finance division. During her time at Credit Suisse, she also returned to Poole College to get her MBA.
Today, Wood serves in a financial accounting role, managing a team that prepares financial statements for the primary U.S. entities of Credit Suisse ranging in size from less than $1 million to more than $120 billion in total assets. Additionally, Wood manages various other reporting functions and serves as the product lead for securities instruments.
“My passion for accounting and finance have grown so much,” Wood says. “Being in this role has made me realize that finance and accounting are where I want to be.”
That discovery ultimately led her back to NC State – this time for the MAC program. In the spring, just before the coronavirus outbreak, Wood joined the program as an online student.
“I certainly did things a bit backwards by working in accounting first,” Wood says. “There have been several moments where I’ve thought to myself, ‘Wow, that would have been helpful to know five years ago.’ But on the other hand, this path has given me a different perspective – I understand on a deeper level the basis and guiding principles behind various processes and techniques that I’ve learned to apply on the job.”
And while she’s only a few courses into the MAC program, she has been able to apply a great deal of what she’s learning in the classroom to her current role.
I’ve found that the material is so relevant to what actually happens in the real world,” Wood says. “It’s been a really pleasant experience.
Wood has also appreciated the exposure the MAC program has given her to auditing and accounting in different industries.
“Since I have only been exposed to the financial services industry in my career, it’s been very helpful to learn the accounting concepts for other industries,” Wood says. “And because I work very closely with our external auditors for the issuance of our annual audited financial statements, learning about auditing will be very beneficial for me. I’ll have more insight into where they are coming from and what they’re looking for and I can better bridge that gap.”
In addition to her studies and her current role at Credit Suisse, Wood has stayed busy as a mom of two young sons. Specifically, she has been working hard to help them get acclimated to online learning, too.
“This pandemic has been extremely challenging,” Wood says. “But the silver lining in it has certainly been the amount of time I have been able to spend with my kids. As online students, we’ve all fallen into a great routine.”
And as she continues down her path in accounting, Wood is finding great community at Jenkins to help her along the way.
“Even with the current conditions, the program feels like a tight-knit community,” Wood says. “I’ve been so impressed with how the professors and other faculty members try to personally connect with the students.”