Originally from Greensboro, North Carolina – Christy Knight currently resides in Stokesdale, North Carolina close to her three sons, but now that they are grown, she’s very open to new opportunities.
Christy Knight shares her journey and experiences that led to finding her passion in accounting and the dream to teach. The Chambers College’s Fully-Online Doctorate of Business Administration program helped her to turn her dream into a reality. Read her full story below and learn about our DBA program where you can specialize in accounting, economics, management, or marketing.
Q: What has been you educational and career journey thus far?
A: I received a BS degree in Accounting from UNC-Greensboro in 1996. I took accounting as an elective course when I was a biology major. I was instantly hooked and knew I wanted to pursue a career within the accounting profession.
My first job was in internal auditing for a bank group in Martinsville, VA. I loved it from day one, and I found my passion for auditing. I worked in public accounting for five years, conducting mostly audits but also doing taxes and bookkeeping, and obtaining my license as a Certified Public Accountant.
Additionally, during my time in public accounting, I decided to start my family and had three sons between the years 2000 and 2003. With three small boys, I stayed home for 18 months and ran my own small business doing bookkeeping and taxes.
When I was deciding to return to corporate America, I knew my passion was auditing and I was very excited to pursue internal auditing again. I worked in several industries as an internal auditor until the financial crisis of 2008, when I was displaced.
During this time, I started pursuing my MBA degree from High Point University, which I completed in 2010. In 2012, I was able to obtain an internal auditing position with Truist. I have been with Truist, for ten years and I have worked on various teams within internal auditing. Also, during this time, I have been fortunate enough to obtain my Certified Internal Auditor and Certified Fraud Examiner designations, as well as a Master of Accounting degree from UNC-Chapel Hill.
Q: What brought you to our DBA program at WVU?
A: As an older student seeking a doctorate degree, and having a family to support, I felt pursuing a Ph.D. would not be a possibility; however, I still very much wanted to pursue a doctorate degree in order to teach and mentor others who want to pursue a career in accounting. The DBA program was a natural fit for me and my current position in life.
I learned about WVU’s DBA program, and its accounting focus, and I thought I would be a great fit for the program. Now, as a proud member of the WVU family, I highly recommend the program to other colleagues who might have similar aspirations as myself.
Q: What was the biggest influence that made you want to join this program?
A: I would say the top selling point was the fact I could continue to work while earning my degree online. I completed my Master of Accounting degree in an online format while I was working full-time, so I was aware of what to expect from online learning. WVU’s DBA program also provided great flexibility, and I could see myself being successful in the pursuit of my desired goal. Additionally, the overall tuition was $25,000 less than other options I had investigated, with no requirement to attend seminars or classes on campus.
Q: What has your experience been with online learning?
A: I really appreciate the flexibility offered by online learning platforms, especially if you are working full-time while attending classes. The online platform has allowed me to give 100% to my family, job, and school. For example, I work an 8-to-5 job, which sometimes requires overtime hours depending upon deadlines. The online platform and the asynchronous nature of the WVU DBA program allows me to focus on my job priorities as I need to, and I can slot in my schoolwork during my downtimes at work. I have so much passion for what I’m learning about, it isn’t hard to stay focused or keep engaged.
Q: Are there courses, cases, resources, or any experiential learning classes that have changed the way that you think about business and how it is applied in the real world?
A: I would say the statistical classes and learning how to dissect data has been the single most important thing I have taken with me into the “real world”. I say this because I am a career auditor and one of the skills that the “auditor of the future” will be asked to perform is data analysis. I work in the financial services industry and the regulators of this industry have a high interest and focus on how internal auditors are utilizing data analytics in their audits. I would say I’ve learned the importance of data analytics and I look forward to utilizing these skills further in my research and teaching.
Q: How have your professors influenced your learning? Any professors specifically?
A: I have really enjoyed working with Christian Schaupp and Mark Nigrini. They have both influenced my learning and I have thoroughly enjoyed their classes and their assistance. I think they are two of the most intelligent people I have ever encountered, but they are down to earth. At WVU, all the professors I have encountered are more interested in helping us become the best we can be than demonstrating their own accomplishments. I really like that about WVU and the professors on staff.
Q: How has this program advanced your career?
A: I currently work as a senior audit manager within the QAIP team at Truist. I have worked there for 10 years, and I believe that the WVU DBA program has advanced and will continue to advance my current career path. I have been exposed to many new ways of dissecting and analyzing data, which is huge within the internal audit space right now, especially within the financial services industry. The “auditor of the future” will not only understand how to conduct an audit but will also have the necessary skills to continuously monitor and test 100% of the population through data manipulation. Also, by obtaining the DBA from WVU, I can fulfill my lifetime dream of teaching. I will have the skills necessary to journey into academia and make a change in developing students into the “auditors of the future.”
Q: What advice would you have for a student thinking about the DBA program?
A: My advice to any student thinking about the DBA program at WVU would be to embrace the opportunity and strive to make yourself the best version of yourself. By putting forth the effort, you will achieve great things. I would choose WVU because of the outstanding professors in the program. The professors have been very accommodating and willing to work with me as my wife has had cancer surgery and memory loss. I feel like the professors are “in my corner” and they want me to succeed as much as I want to, if not more. They haven’t given up on me and I sincerely appreciate their thoughtfulness, kindness, and willingness to work with me. I cannot say enough good things about the program and the learning that takes place.
They are accommodating and genuinely want to see you succeed, not for themselves, but for you. I honestly feel more valued in this degree program than I have in any other degree program I have been in.
Q: How do you hope to change the future of business?
A: My hope for changing the future of business is to teach others through my passion for auditing and accounting. There are many disciplines and flavors for students to learn about, like corporate accounting, internal auditing, forensic accounting and auditing, and fraud prevention and detection. I hope to teach upcoming students that they have options other than the Big 4 public accounting firms, and that they can be successful taking other paths.
Q: What is your favorite WVU tradition?
A: My favorite WVU tradition is the changing of the individual who will be the mascot for the current year. I think it is an awesome way to show students and the community the commitment that the university has to diversity and inclusion, both of which are huge to me as a member of the LGBTQ community. I saw that former Mountaineers were female and that brought a smile to my face, because we are all Mountaineers, regardless of our gender or status. This is a tradition that I think all schools should adopt.