Daniel Covrig MPAc 17
Spotlight Story

Daniel Covrig MPAc 17
Dedication, teamwork and critical thinking add up to success

Thirty-five cents for a stem, ten dollars for a bouquet. Daniel Covrig had his first experience in business as a 10 year old, selling calla lilies. “My mom did the gardening,” he remembers, “while I was in charge of counting the stems and delivering them to flower shops and hospitals. Together we would record the sales in my ledger, which I still have to this day.”

Covrig continued his path in finance while double majoring in biochemistry and economics at UC Davis and interning at Molecular Matrix Inc. (MMI), a biotech startup based in West Sacramento founded and led by former UC Davis researcher Charles Lee. After earning his B.S. in 2015, Corvig, joined MMI as a full-time employee and worked his way up to finance manager. 

Realizing that his professional success required a deeper immersion in finance, Covrig entered the UC Davis Master of Professional Accountancy (MPAc) program in fall 2016.

“Knowledge of accounting is a given for most new hires, but I think experience we had working late nights, managing team dynamics and solving complex problems really sets UC Davis MPAc alumni apart.”

He excelled both inside and outside the classroom, receiving the Graduate School of Management Alumni Association’s Student Fellowship Award for his program, as well as the Will Snyder Award for MPAc Excellence in Leadership. In 2017 he was inducted into the Beta Gamma Sigma Honor Society, which recognizes academic achievement and personal excellence in the study and practice of business. 

We caught up with Covrig as he prepared to apply his graduate business degree at one of the Big Four accounting firms: PwC in Sacramento.

How did your academic and personal paths lead you to the UC Davis Master of Professional Accountancy (MPAc) program? 

I found accounting by accident. After graduating from UC Davis in 2015 with a double major in biochemistry and economics I was working at a developing biomedical company. They needed someone to help out with accounting and finance and I took a chance.

What is it about accounting that you love? How does this mesh professionally with your undergraduate education?

Since I was a kid I have had a strong interest in entrepreneurship, stock markets and science. In college I was able to gain an introduction to these fields; however, working at a startup biotechnology company really opened my eyes to how all these interrelate to create businesses and products that can change the world. With this understanding, I feel that a master in accounting meshes well with what I hope to accomplish in the long term.

What was most appealing to you about the MPAc program?

The biggest appeal for me was a fast-paced, in-person program. Being able to immerse myself with other smart, motivated colleagues for nine intense months was crucial. I didn’t want to sacrifice educational quality or spend too much time away from work. The program exceeded both of these requirements.

What courses and/or professors specifically stand out?

Professor Will Snyder’s tax classes. He is an amazing person and teacher, and being able to learn and interact with him is priceless experience. I will definitely be back in his office to ask his advice and just chat for years to come. 

What’s your post-graduation goal? In five years?

I am excited to be starting at PwC in Sacramento this fall. Working with a public accounting firm is a tremendous opportunity to learn, grow and network. Public accounting can be a challenging and fulfilling field, and I hope to step up and really take advantage of this great opportunity. 

How will the Master of Professional Accountancy program help get you there?

I think the rigors of the program have prepared me well for the toughest busy seasons. The curriculum is focused on working as a team and using critical thinking to solve problems. Knowledge of accounting is a given for most new hires, but I think experience we had working late nights, managing team dynamics, and solving complex problems really sets UC Davis MPAc alumni apart. 

You’ve been recognized for both your academic accomplishments and your student leadership. Why go the extra mile with student groups and activities?

I normally shy away from extracurricular responsibilities, but from day one in the MPAc program it was very clear that each of my classmates is extremely smart and talented. Studying as a group late at night in Gallagher Hall you build strong friendships. It was easy to put in the extra effort for a group of great people that I care about very much.

Your favorite MPAc memory?

I will always remember our trip to Topgolf. I grew up golfing so being able to hang out at a driving range and introduce a few classmates to golf for the first time was a really amazing experience.

How do you unwind?

I am the lucky owner of two dogs, Palmer and Mouse. Their wagging tails are a welcome sight after a long day of studying. In addition, I love playing sports, like golf and tennis, or unplugging from the rush with some time spent hiking or camping.

What’s important to you, personally? Who has been most influential in your life?

Personal growth drives me. My mother taught me the importance of giving 100 percent  effort. From competitive sports, to education, to work this holds true.