Adam Schechtman (MAcc’17) grew up in the same house in San Diego his whole life. He decided that he didn’t want to stay in Southern California for college and began researching universities outside the state.
“I was looking outside California and stumbled across Vanderbilt, and I fortunately had some family here. They showed me around and I actually fell in love with it,” he said.
Schechtman enrolled at Vanderbilt as an undergraduate and began taking economics and Human and Organizational (HOD) classes. He thought that he wanted some sort of career in business, but he wasn’t initially sure what that career would look like.
“I definitely wanted to do something in business, and like every 18- or 19-year old kid who thinks that, they don’t really know what that means,” he said.
Landing on Valuation
Luckily, it didn’t take Schechtman long to hit upon valuation as a possible career. During his sophomore year, Emily Cochran, Director of Admissions for the MAcc programs, came to speak at his accounting class.
Cochran explained the two Master of Accountancy tracks, assurance and valuation. Given his background in economics, Schechtman was immediately intrigued by finance-heavy valuation.
“The MAcc-Val program made so much sense in terms of completing the gap between where I was and where I wanted to be, both educationally and in terms of work experience,” he said.
He applied his junior year of college and was accepted to the MAcc-Valuation program. Besides being the only university with a valuation-specific masters’ degree, Vanderbilt Business also offered several other differentiators, especially close relationships with big 4 firms.
“The fact that you could 1) get a masters’ degree, 2) take the CPA and CFA, 3) do an internship, and 4) meet people who are going to be working at all these other big firms…it was perfect,” he said. “The four accounting firms that partner with the MAcc program, they’re four of the biggest accounting companies in the world.”
Landing in New York
While he enjoyed his five years in Nashville, Schechtman began contemplating another move after his graduation from Vanderbilt Business. A lot of his college friends took jobs in New York City, and Schechtman began looking at openings with big 4 firms there.
“I knew that if I was every going to live in New York, the time was now. It was such a great opportunity to make that New York jump,” he said.
Schechtman landed an internship (and eventually a full-time position) with the pharmaceutical group of Deloitte Finance Advisory services, based in New York City. He originally became interested in the pharmaceutical group through his relationships with John Lowe and Eliot Waterbury (both MAcc’15), who worked there at the time.
“To be honest, they could have told me they were in waste management, and I probably would have leaped at them,” he said. “A huge part of (enjoying your work) is who you’re working with, not so much what you’re working on. If you have a great team, then any project is going to be exciting.”
Schechtman’s top piece of advice for MAcc students is to make as many networking connections as possible — and to maintain genuine relationships with them over time.
“Constantly meet people, but more importantly remember people and stay connected to them, because you don’t know where they’re going to be in five years, you don’t know where you’re going to be in five years,” he said.
“Because so many of the people you’re networking with are MAcc alums, they know where you are, they know what you’re going through,” he added. “It’s easier to really connect with them because you’ve had a lot of the same teachers and gone through the same experiences.”