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Meet the Ross MAccs


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graphicAnthony Ambroselli
BBA 10/MAcc 11
Audit Associate
Deloitte & Touche LLP
Detroit, Mich.

Anthony enjoyed the tight-knit nature of his MAcc class, due in part to its small size. “We all knew everybody’s name and something different about everyone.” Such camaraderie was handy in Ross’ team-based atmosphere, giving Anthony a handle on his classmates’ work styles and skill sets. “We weren’t competing against each other,” he says. “We all just wanted to do good work.” Anthony stepped away from the familiarity of the MAcc Program to take classes through the University’s Ford School of Public Policy and the School of Natural Resources and Environment, as well as ethics and social entrepreneurship classes through the MBA Program. He also worked with U-M’s Office of Campus Sustainability on an integrated assessment of sustainability practices at the University. “Ross wants students to focus on interests outside of accounting. It was cool to work in teams with graduate students from all over U-M.”

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Chris Buck
MAcc 11
Assurance Associate, Audit Practice
Ernst & Young LLP
Chicago, Ill.

“Ross moves accounting into the business landscape,” says Chris, who required a top business school at all levels. “Having a base in accounting is a good jumping-off spot for my career, but since I don’t know what I’ll be doing in 10 years, I wanted a well-rounded graduate education.” Chris’ accounting courses went beyond the rules into the reasons behind them — a holistic approach that culminated in his class’ trip to Washington, D.C., for the Ernst & Young Accounting and Public Policy Symposium. “It showed me that accounting is not set in stone, and policy is a big driver of change,” Chris says. The discussion-oriented nature of classes at Ross also helped Chris synthesize the concepts he was learning. “Since MAcc students can take any MBA elective, it was fun to tap into the MBAs’ real-world experience. People at Ross want to exchange ideas and ask questions.”


graphicRita Cen Chen
MAcc 11
Financial Analyst
Intel Corp.
Hillsboro, Ore.

Rita wanted to leverage her accounting acumen to land a position that allowed her to think broader. She relied on the Ross School’s Career Services team to help her get there. “I told Career Services I wanted to apply my critical thinking skills to examine a whole business model,” she says. “They were instrumental in giving me the tools to get the job I wanted.” Through Career Services, Rita developed a resume that showcased her talents, and learned how to tailor it to various companies’ needs. She also explored career paths through one-on-one counseling sessions, and participated in mock interviews to discover the nuances of recruiting in her industry. As a recent immigrant, Rita found the welcoming nature of Ross made her comfortable in recruiting and beyond. “Students come to Ross from all over the world, and alumni frequently come back as recruiters. It’s a friendly, diverse community.”


graphicFang Gao
MAcc ’11
Associate
Ernst & Young LLP
Detroit, Mich.

Fang ultimately aspires to own a business that bridges tax-related issues between her native China and the United States. But first she wanted to experience learning and working in the United States. A crucial element of her education was adapting to a different classroom environment than the lecture-dominated format back home. “At Ross, nobody tells you what is wrong or right,” she says. “We cared about the end result, but the analytical process was most important.” Fang says learning to think from others’ perspectives and exploring accounting’s role in society through the Ernst & Young seminar in Washington, D.C., will serve her well in her career. “Ross is a golden chance to hone different skills. It gave me a systematic, comprehensive knowledge system.” Fang also relished the opportunity to experience all that Ann Arbor has to offer. “It’s really hard not to enjoy life in Ann Arbor,” she says. “It’s a cosmopolitan atmosphere combined with small-town pleasures.”


graphicJanelle Klamerus
BBA ’10/MAcc ’11
Assurance Associate
PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP
Detroit, Mich.

Janelle desired a MAcc program that would allow her to learn from top faculty as well as MBA classmates. “I loved the fact that the Ross MAcc Program was so integrated with the MBA Program,” she says. “I could experience other disciplines that would prepare me for wherever my career goes.” She enjoyed being challenged by Ross faculty and was impressed by their dedication to MAcc students. “They didn’t make it easy, but they wanted to help each of us progress. Not only did they teach the material, they taught me a new way of thinking.” Such rigor prepared Janelle well for the on-campus recruiting process, where another key element of the Ross community played a critical role. “I learned so much from listening to alumni talk about their experiences,” Janelle says. “One of the main things that makes Ross so special is the extensive, dedicated alumni network.”


graphicDanielle Olekszyk
BGS ’00/MAcc ’01
Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer
The Skillman Foundation
Detroit, Mich.

Danielle is a busy CFO and treasurer of a private foundation dedicated to improving the lives of children in Detroit. Despite her schedule, she’s always willing to help out fellow Michigan Ross graduates. “My career took a nontraditional path, and I’m now using my CPA skills in philanthropy. But like a lot of other alumni, I have Ross students reach out to me for advice and career information. I never hesitate in getting back to them,” Danielle says. “Once you go to Michigan, once you go to Ross, it becomes part of you. The connections, resources, and networks are undeniable.” Danielle also relishes her class’ lifelong bond. “I met some of my best friends at Ross. I still maintain relationships with many classmates from over a decade ago. Some of them are working as CPAs, while others have taken their careers in other directions. Because we’re all Ross graduates, we have a strong foundation that allows us to explore our options.”


graphicEmily Patalan
AB ’03/MAcc ’11
Plante & Moran LLC
Ann Arbor, Mich.

“The day I was accepted at Ross was one of the best days of my life,” Emily says. She spent a few years in the workforce before returning to school to pursue her love of accounting, which she describes as “math in the real world.” Emily gave birth to her daughter just five weeks before starting the program, but successfully managed the demands of school and motherhood. At Ross, she juggled MAcc classes as well as MBA Program electives, including “Business Leadership in Changing Times” with professor Gerry Meyers. The former CEO of American Motors challenges his students to role play corporate executives facing a crisis — while the real executives sit in the room and observe. The opportunity to portray Oshkosh Corp. leaders and then have a one-on-one with the CEO was a unique experience that upped Emily’s confidence level. “I know I can do anything now,” she says.


graphicAllie Penz
BGS ’10/MAcc ’11
Assurance Associate
PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP
Detroit, Mich.

Allie connected with the Accounting Club as an undergrad to familiarize herself with the profession and Ross. As a result, she developed her network right from the start. “I met so many people at the club’s recruiting events, from sessions with multiple firms to meet and greets with individual firms,” she says. “It was a great way to get my name out there and make connections for my internship.” Allie eventually joined the club’s executive board, and her contact with other club members helped prepare her for recruiting. “My mentor in the Accounting Club gave me invaluable advice to prep for interviews. It felt good to do the same for others once I went through recruiting myself.” The MAcc Student Council’s myriad social and service activities also added value to Allie’s experience. “It brought us closer together by giving the students who went to U-M as undergrads, as well as those who didn’t, a common set of experiences.”


graphicChao (Chelsea) Qin
MAcc ’12
Auditor, Assurance Services
Ernst & Young LLP
Detroit, Mich.

As a student from China, Chelsea encountered a bit of culture shock when she first arrived at Michigan. Despite her exceptional TOEFL score, she decided to participate in English for Business Studies, an intensive program for incoming international students, to strengthen her communication skills prior to beginning classes. “That helped me a lot with my confidence,” she explains. What struck her the most about Michigan Ross was the welcoming atmosphere. “All of the professors and students were very supportive and respectful of other cultures. We all learned from each other,” she says. “When it was time to begin my job search, the consultants in Career Services were extremely patient as they helped me practice my interviewing skills.” Chelsea describes her participation in the MAcc Program as, “One of the best times of my life. I feel so lucky to have gone to Ross.” So much so, in fact, that Chelsea has even gone back to China to lecture about it. “I want other students from China to know about this amazing opportunity — to benefit from my experience.”


graphicEllen Rewalt
BS ’10/MAcc ’11
Tax Associate
PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP
Chicago, Ill.

Ellen wanted to explore her love of numbers, but lacked confidence to join the workforce. “At Ross, I learned accounting skills, but I also learned to have a voice. Even working alongside more experienced MBA students, I gained confidence to express my opinions while working toward a common goal.” As co-philanthropy chair of the MAcc Student Council, Ellen collaborated with her peers on numerous projects. The group adopted a family during the holidays, volunteered in the community, and participated in intramural sports and social activities. “Building ties with classmates and learning how to network is as important as studying and recruiting,” Ellen says. “It helps establish a balanced lifestyle.” Ellen further tested her communications savvy by teaching an undergraduate accounting course. “I worked on interacting with the entire class and trying to impact everybody. It was a lot of fun and reinforced my knowledge base.”


graphicVincent Sarafa
AB ’10/MAcc ’11
Corporate Finance Associate, Finance Group
Deloitte Corporate Finance LLC
Detroit, Mich.

“Everyone thinks MAccs are all going to be accountants,” says Vincent. “But my classmates went into marketing, consulting, and all kinds of things.” Vincent, who is starting his career in Deloitte’s investment banking division, says accounting professor Charles Klemstine instilled a passion for business beyond the financials. “He stressed the ethics of not just accounting, but our daily lives. We did deep-dives into companies to see the dilemmas they face, which prepared us to really try to understand our clients and what’s going on companywide.” The diversity of the Ross classroom prepared Vincent to interface with CEOs, CFOs, and other top executives as his position requires. “At Ross, MAcc students work on group projects with MBAs, who may have previously worked for the company you’re evaluating in class,” Vincent says. “We all were hardworking and thirsting for knowledge, but we brought so many different perspectives to the table.”


graphicMark Thompson
BBA ’08/MAcc ’10
Associate
New York City Investment Fund
New York, N.Y.

Mark began his career as an entrepreneur in high school with a successful video yearbook business. “I wanted to learn more about entrepreneurship, so I applied to Ross’ BBA Program and took advantage of all it had to offer, especially the Zell Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies,” he explains. Mark successfully competed in several national business plan competitions and won Ross’ BBA Entrepreneur of the Year Award. He went on to attend the MAcc Program, where he was exposed to more aspects of business on a global level. He even traveled with a team to China through the Global Field Project II course to research the country’s venture capital landscape. Now after earning his MAcc and working with an investment banking advisory firm for two years, Mark’s career has come full circle. He has gone from being an aspiring entrepreneur to being the person who helps give entrepreneurs a hand. “The Ross MAcc is a very versatile degree to have,” he says. “I’m using my CPA background, as well as my financial experience, to analyze companies and help decide who our fund should invest in for the greater benefit of New York City.”


graphicJarrod Wood
BBA ’05/MAcc ’06
Manager, International Tax Services
PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP
Detroit, Mich.

When you’re in charge of tax planning for large, multinational companies, you really need to be able to think on your feet. Jarrod felt ready to do just that after graduating from Michigan Ross. “I was definitely ready to go when I joined PwC. The MAcc Program’s focus on providing a balanced education prepares students for real-world exposure to broader business issues. This really sets it apart from programs that focus solely on the nuts and bolts of accounting,” explains Jarrod. Since tax and accounting rules and regulations are always changing, Jarrod appreciates Michigan Ross’ emphasis on teaching students to research, study, and analyze situations. “Those are the skills you need to excel and grow in the long term.” Jarrod also feels the school’s emphasis on teamwork and critical thinking have been crucial to his career. “It’s important for me to work effectively with diverse teams to co-develop solutions for our clients,” he explains. “I’m not afraid to speak up and ask questions. That’s how teams find the best answers and add the most value.”


graphicMike Zuckerman
BBA ’09/MAcc ’11
Assurance Associate, Financial Services - Asset Management Group
PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP
New York, N.Y.

“Michigan alumni have tremendous pride in their school and want to hire fellow graduates,” says Mike. “That network distinguishes U-M from so many others.” Nowhere is this more evident than during on-campus recruiting, where alumni recruiters mingle with job-seeking students. But chance encounters are common in one of the world’s largest networks. “I was wearing a Michigan shirt in New York, and a Ross alum started talking to me. After five minutes, he gave me his card and asked me to stay in touch. That’s the kind of relationship Ross facilitates.” Through the Global Projects course, Mike learned the power of the Ross brand worldwide. The action-based learning opportunity sent MAcc students and their MBA counterparts to Ireland to consult on business plans for various firms. “Our sponsor was blown away by what we accomplished, and treated us as partners,” says Mike. “It was an incredible experience.”