Accounting for Success

Posted on April 12, 2016

David Stark’s outstanding career began as an internship through the Bryan School

When David Stark ’08 graduated with an MS in Accounting, he left the program with more than a diploma in hand. Now an accountant with KPMG LLP, David first connected with his employer through a Bryan School internship that launched his career.

He came to the MSA program with an undergraduate degree in history. Because the program is specifically developed to prepare students with a variety of academic backgrounds, the transition from one field to another — and to a rewarding career — was seamless. “I am fortunate to be a CPA working with some of the largest organizations in the North Carolina and the United States. This career would not have been possible without the MSA I earned from the Bryan School.”

The curriculum prepared him to face challenging on-the-job situations and to create new opportunities for success.

Just one example: David served as the lead tax advisor on KPMG’s national electronic work papers development team for exempt organizations. This process required problem solving at every turn. “I worked with multiple internal and external stakeholders, including IT professionals, tax compliance teams, clients and firm leadership. My mission was to standardize a compliance process that had as many different methods and processes as we had offices.”

“People don’t call me to add two numbers together,” he adds. “They call when they have a problem that needs to be fixed or when we strategize together to prevent those problems from occurring in the first place.”

David credits much of his learning and success to the hands-on experiences he gained as a student in the Bryan School, specifically his internship.

“The Bryan School’s accounting internship program led directly to the full-time position I have had since graduation,” he says. “The faculty was dedicated to my success, both academically as well as professionally. And the team-based projects helped me develop the interpersonal and project management skills I needed to perform at a high level professionally today.”

Just as the program promises, David has become an exceptional problem solver for his organization. “My employer needed a cohesive, national approach to preparing exempt tax returns. Using what I learned in the MSA program, I led a team of IT, CPA and business development specialists to create the software platform that we use today.”

The ability to manage a long-term project with a diverse team and competing stakeholders is a skill David honed and developed at the Bryan School. “The diverse student body, a focus on student teaming and project based problem solving all helped to contribute to the success of the project.”

David’s experience shows that the Bryan School offers some of the best value there is in graduate education in accounting. “The MSA department provided an exceptional program at an unbelievable low price,” he says. “The value for the money was tremendous.”


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