Skinner decided to enroll in the MAcc program because she felt it was the best next step, especially for additional credit hours needed to complete her CPA license.
"The skills I gained from the MAcc program really came into play when I started my associate role at my full-time job," said Skinner. "I was also able to strengthen my technical skills, such as specific tax knowledge that I would need to know on the job."
Today, she works in Washington, D.C. as a tax accountant with Alvarez and Marsal and their core tax practice.
Skinner said her 2019 and 2020 internships (both in-person and virtual) helped her learn about the company and land a full-time position after graduation.
"I feel like WVU, especially the Chambers College, fully prepares you for your full-time job post-graduation.
"For example, the professors and classes that I had while in the master's program did a nice job of applying real-world examples to our course lectures," she said.
Skinner also agreed that hands-on learning opportunities are key to finding success after college.
"In my undergraduate program, as well as master's program audit class, we were part of a government project where we were able to apply the concepts that we were learning in our class and actually apply that to a real-life project, which was extremely cool to see," said Skinner. "Even though I did not go into the audit field, it was great to be able to see what an actual state auditor's job would consist of."
As a student, Skinner got involved on campus and in programs specifically for business students.
"I was a work study with the Chambers College Center for Career Development, where I made connections with faculty and staff who had external connections to employers, and that was actually how I obtained my first internship with Alvarez Marsal," she said.
She was also a peer career coach, where she helped fellow students strengthen their resumes and interviewing skills. She admitted that, in return, it strengthened her own skills.
"I would tell students what employers expected of them whenever it came time to go to meet the firms and talk to these recruiters, and while I was talking to them about what they should know, I was also absorbing this information as it was something also pertinent to me," she said.
Reflecting back, Skinner believes pursuing her master's degree has helped her grow both professionally and personally.
"Even though getting your masters isn't required for most accounting positions – whether it be in tax, audit or forensics – I think it was important for my personal growth and professional growth that I got that degree. Not only can I meet the CPA credit hour requirement, but I feel like it also strengthened my tax technical knowledge, which helped me come into my full-time position as a stronger associate – making me a more valuable asset to my engagement teams.
"I went in for the credit hours, but came out a much stronger associate."
CONTACT: Shelby Hudnall
WVU John Chambers College of Business and Economics, Strategic Communications