Accounting student Caroline Jones, ’17 MAcc, is not passionate about budgets, P&L statements, or spreadsheets. But she is excited to come to class every day, knowing business is a force to do good. And she’s driven to leverage her skills to help people in need.
“I like accounting, but I wouldn’t say it’s my passion by any means,” she explains. “My passion is for people; to ensure people are fed, and that they have access to clean water and education.”
Her ultimate goal is to be a chief financial officer or internal auditor for an international humanitarian organization. And she’s confident accounting will get her there.
“I feel like a lot of people go into the field of accounting because they think every business needs an accountant, but the same logic applies to aid organizations or non-profits,” she says. “Money is always going to be a driving force in making an impact, in any country.”
Accounting in a refugee camp
Prior to joining the Carlson School’s Master of Accountancy Program, Jones worked as a field accountant in South Sudan. Her duties included managing cash for daily purchases, tracking expenses, creating budgets, and submitting reports.
Knowing her work helped boost agriculture, sanitation, and nutrition in developing communities was extremely fulfilling. Jones started to imagine her future with a non-profit or NGO, and aspired to a leadership position— but knew she had more to learn first.
“I realized that there’s a lot I don’t know yet,” she says. “I could see how easily I could keep advancing without getting my CPA or my master’s, but I really saw the value in having applicable skills and bringing that to the table.”
Joining an elite school
Jones began exploring graduate degree options. The Carlson School’s MAcc Program was a perfect fit: it offered the academic rigor, welcoming community of students and staff, and exceptional reputation she was looking for. She was awarded the Richard Heidenreich Master of Accountancy Fellowship.
“Carlson is highly considered and well thought of. It’s a really good idea to have a school that’s internationally recognizable on your resume,” she says. “It’s really exciting being at a large university.”
With a mere one semester of classes under her belt, Jones has already sharpened her accounting expertise.
“I’ve learned more about accounting in one auditing class than I did in all my undergrad classes put together,” she says. “[My time in Africa taught me] to see challenges as opportunities to learn, and also to have fun with those challenges.”