Take advantage of school resources, advises MAcc student
Early in her academic journey, Master of Accounting (MAcc) student Kate Gurley learned there’s no one path accountants must take.
During her first two years at KU, Gurley was a member of Beta Alpha Psi, an honor society for accounting, finance and information systems students that has chapters at universities around the world. She attended meetings featuring alumni guest speakers who talked to Business Jayhawks about their career experiences.
“It was definitely eye-opening for me as a beginning accountant student,” Gurley recalled. “Accounting can sound so boring and one-sided, and it was interesting for me to see there are so many different things you can do in that world.”
Her career proves that point. After graduating this spring, Gurley will be moving to Denver to work with PwC’s digital assurance and transparency practice, a role that incorporates elements of business analytics alongside accounting.
“Any client-provided information that’s given to an engagement team, our job is basically to verify that is complete and correct, and the reports they ran and send to us are showing every single day of the year and not one tiny day was left out because there’s fishy stuff going on,” she explained.
Gurley anticipated MAcc classes like Accounting Analytics, which introduced her to business intelligence software including Alteryx and Power BI, will prove useful as she transitions into her career.
“The MAcc program gave me so many more real-life scenarios in my classes,” she said. “I felt like I was doing work that I could have been doing in a job — it all felt very applicable.”
As her time at KU draws to an end, Gurley encouraged other students to take full advantage of the opportunities and resources offered at the KU School of Business, particularly those available through Business Career Services. During her undergraduate years, the office prepared her for job interviews and connected her with opportunities, including an internship at PwC that turned into a full-time offer. More recently, a career advisor helped Gurley negotiate a later start date at the company so she could spend more time preparing for the CPA exam.
Along with early classes that introduce business students to the basics of professionalism, Gurley said School of Business resources helped set her up for success after college.
“I really do feel like I have a leg up on a lot of my friends who just now are getting their jobs and kind of figuring all that out,” she noted, adding, “We don’t know how good we have it, I think.”