Recipient of the AICPA John L. Carey Scholarship (2012-13)Next profile
Graduate Student, University of Southern California
Growing up near Silicon Valley, technology has always been a big part of Rebecca Hu’s life. She has spent a lot of time talking with her friends about the features of their new favorite apps, and now she’ll be spending her time talking with her clients about the financials that make those apps possible.
Rebecca wasn’t always sure that accounting was the way to pursue her love of technology. “I majored in sociology because I loved the professors. Sociology gave me a background in exploring perspectives that I normally wouldn’t consider and I could have listened to the lectures all day, but I wasn’t interested in research or academia. At the end of my college career, I took a financial accounting class and developed a love for accounting.”
Discovering her love for accounting at the end of her college career made it difficult to jump in to the profession right away, which turned out to be a good thing. “If I wanted to get an undergraduate degree in accounting, I would have spent 2-3 more years in undergrad. Instead, I graduated in sociology and took a year to prepare for my accounting career.” During that year, she took the prerequisites for a Masters of Accounting through a continuing education program and studied for the GMAT. The rest of the time, Rebecca crossed things off her bucket list – like volunteering for an animal shelter, coaching youth sports, and running a marathon. Even though she wasn’t in school full-time, that year was one of the most valuable learning experiences she’s had. “I’ll never have that much flexibility to do all of the things I want to again and I’m grateful for the way it worked out.”
At the end of her year off, Rebecca was accepted in the MAcc program at the University of Southern California, but didn’t have the money to pay for all her expenses. Then she discovered the AICPA John L. Carey Scholarship. “I applied to the program, but didn’t expect to receive a scholarship. When I found out that I had moved on to the second round, I was excited, but still didn’t expect anything. Then I found out that I had received a scholarship and felt like I had won the lottery!”
But tuition money isn’t the only thing that Rebecca has gotten from the AICPA. “As an AICPA Legacy Scholar (an AICPA scholarship recipient), I was assigned a mentor, which has helped me as much as the scholarship has. My mentor was there to talk with me when I had questions about the recruiting process. He also helped me figure out who I want to be to become a better version of myself.”
Rebecca has also been able to give back to the community using her love of technology as part of her Legacy Scholar project. To promote the accounting profession, she has been writing a blog called “The Life of An Accountant.” She’s written on everything from her experience in USC’s MAcc program to accounting news to dating advice. Because she’s not the typical (i.e., not an accounting undergraduate) MAcc student, she’s been able to help others who have been thinking about making the same jump into the unknown.
Rebecca is so glad that she was able to attend graduate school with the help of the AICPA John L. Carey scholarship. “Graduate school has been really rewarding. I’ve met classmates, professors, and people in the profession who I can have professional relationships with. I also have a better idea of what I want from my career since MAcc programs prepare you for the issues and situations you’ll be facing. Without this year, I don’t think I’d have known what to expect, but I feel more confident now.”
Rebecca is beginning to pursue her dreams of working with technology by starting at Ernst & Young. “Being able to see the financial side of a cool new technology is really exciting to me. It’s just another part of the story, and I’m excited that I will be able to participate in that part.”
One day, she wants to be just like her mom – a financial executive at a technology company who loves her job. “My dream job is figuring out where I’m happy and energized when I wake up every day and head to work. I know that as a CPA, I’ll be able to find that dream job.”
As I get ready for class, I listen to the radio to get me excited about the day ahead.
I head over to my favorite coffee shop on campus to grab breakfast. After a sip of coffee and a bite of Greek yogurt, I know that I’m ready to tackle the world.
Class - Performance Measurements
The professor of this class likes to assign us cases and have us email him our opinions about the case before class. During the class, we talk about and evaluate the case. He really wants us to internalize the material and will ask us more questions about our comments to get us to think more deeply about the subject. My favorite part is hearing what other classmates said to the email questions!
Class - Income Tax
Income Tax is my most challenging class. The professor makes the class engaging and meaningful by relating the information to the real world through real-life stories and assignments based on the accompanying financial statements and notes to the financial statements.
I grab a quick bite to eat from my favorite on-campus restaurant and spend some time chatting with my friends.
One of my favorite things about grad school is the relationships you develop with your professors. Office hours help me resolve my confusion about class material without feeling like I’m asking silly questions in front of the entire class. Some of my professors are really great at communicating the material though one-on-one meetings, so every time I attend office hours, a light bulb goes off.
In most of my classes, at least 50% of the work that we do is group work. Today, we’re looking at financial statements and creating a budget forecast.
I tutor students enrolled in an undergraduate financial accounting class for non-majors to help them understand the connection between their accounting textbook and the real world. Many of them have trouble understanding this new language, so any time I see that “a ha!” look, I feel fantastic.
Even though I have a lot of group projects, I still have my own individual homework and tests to ace as well. Plus, I’ll be taking the CPA Exam soon!
After my study session, I head over to the pool for swim practice. Master Swim is my chance to just relax, clear my head, and refresh my mind and body. The coaches like to push us hard, but I love that kind of intensity!
Grad school is time-consuming, so at the beginning of the week I make myself little dinner boxes of salads. This way, when I get home I just need to add an avocado and poppy seed dressing and dinner is ready! Yum!
I like to get a little more studying in before I head to bed. There’s a lot to learn in a MAcc program!