By Arial Starks
Vanderbilt Master of Accountancy (MAcc) alumni typically jump-start their careers working in public accounting at one of the Big 4 accounting firms: PwC, Deloitte, Ernst & Young, and KPMG. Once alums have spent a few years working for the Big 4, they are then able to take the transferable skills they gained during their time with the firms and work in a diverse range of professions. We caught up with Amanda Dail (MAcc’14) to see where her career has taken her since leaving Vanderbilt.
Jump-starting a New Career in Accounting
Amanda Dail first learned about the Vanderbilt MAcc program while earning her undergraduate degree in English and Economics at Vanderbilt University.
“They (Vanderbilt Business) came and spoke in one of my classes, and it just really spoke to my interests at the time,” she said. “I had taken accounting classes and finance classes as a part of my minor, so when I attended an informational session, I saw that the valuation program was a unique opportunity to combine my interests.”
While pursuing the MAcc program at Vanderbilt Business, Dail was recruited to intern for Big 4 accounting firm Deloitte. After successfully completing her internship, she was offered a full-time position at the firm’s Boston office, where she jump-started her accounting career as a Consultant.
Dail worked for Deloitte for more than 8 years. During her time there, she was promoted to Senior Consultant and then Manager. She points to the Vanderbilt MAcc curriculum for equipping her to tackle the accounting world.
“I loved the Financial Modeling class at Owen,” Dail shared. “I still use all those skills I learned in that class in the day-to-day at my job. I especially used those skills when I was working at Deloitte.”
A Career Beyond the Big 4
After leaving Deloitte in 2023, Dail was hired at hard cider company Downe East Cider House in Boston, MA, as a Controller. She says she simply followed the path the Vanderbilt MAcc laid out for her, “I followed that to a T.”
Dail said in her last year at Deloitte, she began thinking about her next career move. She wanted to be picky about where she would go next.
“At Deloitte, I worked primarily in the consumer products industry, and I thought it would make sense to go into a consumer products company because I was already familiar with the industry,” she said. “I felt it would make it easier to bridge the gap with me moving up in a new role.”
While Dail knew she wanted to stay in the consumer products industry, she also wanted to work for a brand she believed in.
“I had been a consumer of the brand (Downe East Cider House) for years, so when I saw they had posted a controller position, I applied,” she said. “I knew the Controller position would be a big jump in my career, but I was just hoping they would take a chance on me.”
In less than a year of working as a Controller, Dail was promoted to her current position of Vice President of Finance and Accounting at Downe East Cider House.
“I loved my time at Deloitte, but this role is a lot more tangible in the consumer products industry,” Dail explained. “My office is right above the manufacturing line, and it’s exciting to get to see the cans my team purchased going down the assembly line. It is very cool to be a part of the decisions that are driving companies forward.”
Speaking the Language of Business
Jumping from a Manager-level position to the senior management team within one year, Dail credits the Vanderbilt MAcc program with providing her the tools and resources to thrive in the accounting world. She says working at Deloitte with other Vanderbilt MAcc alumni gave her a leg up when it came to opportunities at work.
“I’ve had people say to me, ‘Hey, you went through the Vanderbilt MAcc program, and I’ve worked with other Vanderbilt MAcc alumni who were fantastic. Would you like to work on my project?’. “That opened a lot of doors for me at Deloitte, and the program gave me an edge on top of that,” Dail said.
She added, “Those who joined the firm right out of college or other companies didn’t have that foundational knowledge I gained from Vanderbilt. I could be more resourceful because I had that knowledge of both accounting and finance.”
“My colleagues were shocked that I went from finance to a Controller role in accounting,” Dail shared. “I think the beauty of having that baseline knowledge from the Vanderbilt MAcc is the fact that you can pivot, as long as you know how to use those transferable skills. Vanderbilt Business teaches students how to craft your story and build your personal brand.”