Our Stories

Getting Excited about Her Future

Accounting engages Kirkland’s passion

Amanda Kirkland CPA
Audit Associate, KPMG
Senior Audit Associate, KPMG

Vanderbilt MAcc 2015

Amanda Kirkland loves to explore new places, new cultures and new ideas. “Any excuse to take a road trip or go on a vacation somewhere I haven’t been—I will use it,” says the Kansas City native, recalling a two-week canoe trip in the Florida Everglades.

Amanda used the same explorer approach for potential career paths, too. During her undergrad years at William Jewell, a small liberal arts college in her hometown, she completed internships in a variety of areas, from operational analysis at a manufacturing firm to marketing for an animal welfare organization. Nothing really engaged her passions until she took an accounting course for her business administration degree.

Even then, Amanda was still exploring. “Originally,” she says, “I saw accounting as a way to have extra time to figure out what I really wanted to do. Then I learned that auditing could be a rewarding, lifelong career. I could see myself pursuing it for the long haul.”

That sense has only solidified during her year in the MAcc program at Vanderbilt. “I came into Owen thinking I would take the required courses, take the CPA exam and get on with my life, but it really has been a life-shaping experience,” Amanda says. “I now have a firmer grasp on what I want to do.

“I have gained immeasurable technical knowledge, I have significantly improved my networking skills, and now I have a network of people and professors I can go to for anything, professional or personal, for the rest of my life. I came in as this naïve young grad, and I believe I am leaving as a young professional with high standards and goals for myself. I am excited about my future thanks to Owen.”