Breaking out of my comfort zone to find my career path
It’s an honor to be a member of one of the largest Master of Professional Accountancy (MPAc) cohorts at UC Davis. Even before classes started, my 55 fellow classmates came together for a two-week, intensive orientation that created strong bonds and readied us for our 9-month journey.
In early September, I took advantage of an optional, three-day Communication and Culture Bootcamp. I first came to UC Davis four years ago as an international student to earn my undergraduate degree. The bootcamp helped me sharpen my communications skills and better master American-style networking and job search strategies.
Immediately following the bootcamp, our class embarked on a whirlwind, two-week orientation. The packed daily schedules included workshops on career development and personal branding, networking with professionals and alumni, curriculum overviews, meeting the faculty, mock interviews, signing our ethics pledge, learning about implicit bias, a field trip to PwC's office in San Francisco, as well as social events at hot spots in Davis.
These events prepared us for the culmination of orientation: a Meet the Firms event where we had the chance to talk to recruiters from the Big Four firms and other top accounting firms.
It's been great meeting my new cohort, but my path to the MPAc program was different than most. It all started as I considered potential careers while earning my undergraduate degree at UC Davis in Managerial Economics.
When I first stepped on campus four years ago, I thought to myself, “Wow. This school is huge and very different from what I was used to.”
I was born and raised in Indonesia, so the transition to the U.S. and California culture was a bit overwhelming.
As an international student, I did not have the chance to visit Davis before I applied. I was a tad oblivious to what it all entailed and where I would end up. I simply hoped I could learn as I went along and find a group or skill that fit my personality.
During my freshman year, I didn't join any clubs or participate in many school activities. I started to think I was missing my purpose in life. But soon, I met a friend who was very enthusiastic about accounting. She introduced me to the Davis Accounting Society.
So during my first quarter of sophomore year, I went to my first meeting with the group. I loved it and then attended every meeting.
I was still somewhat of an introvert, so I chose to observe other people stay late at our meetings and network. I was too timid introduce myself to the professional guest speakers. I learned a lot about accounting through the group, but I realized I needed to hone my business skills, especially the art of networking.
The Davis Accounting Society introduced me to the MPAc program. At one of the society meetings, MPAc Assistant Director Alex Minnis shared information about the 9-month program. She explained the student experience, top faculty, curriculum, and the proven return on investment with an exceptionally strong job placement rate.
At that point I knew I wanted in.
I knew I needed more real work experience so I became a Testing Services Center proctor on campus. I was promoted to a junior lead assistant and eventually a senior lead assistant, which helped strengthen my interpersonal skills and technical abilities.
But I still felt like I was still lacking experience in accounting, so I became a Tax Preparer at Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA), which taught me about accounting as a profession and allowed me to assist lower-income people file their taxes.
I realized from that experience that accounting was the best fit for me. It was time to apply to the MPAc program.
Class of 2020
I’m delighted to join my new cohort. We come from 24 universities. And I’m proud to be one of 19 UC Davis alumni in our class.
As I look ahead, I’m excited to see where we'll go together.
It’s been great to look back and see how far I’ve come. By stepping out of my comfort zone, I was able to find my purpose. I am confident that the MPAc program will help me reach my professional goals.