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Adding More Value to Valuation

Shapiro tailors MAcc program based on her background

Arianna "Ari" Shapiro
Portfolio Management Associate, Ares Management Corporation, New York, NY

Vanderbilt MAcc 2019

Arianna Shapiro knew that her career interests lay somewhere near the intersection of accounting and finance. She just didn’t know of any one-year program that could take her there.

In fact, says the Las Vegas native, “before learning about the MAcc Valuation program, I didn’t even know what Valuation was. When I learned about the Valuation program [at Vanderbilt], I was really excited because it married my two undergraduate majors, accounting and economics. The program has opened my eyes to a whole new career path that I think aligns much better with my interests and long-term goals.

“I did not find any other school that offered a program like it in the country. Most programs had the typical assurance or tax focuses that I already had experience with from undergrad, so I thought this would really broaden my knowledge.”

As someone who grew up and went to college in the West and attended a large public university, Arianna says, the opportunity to experience a smaller, private school and “to be in a setting with a new group of people with completely different backgrounds from me” was also appealing.

Because of her previous course work in accounting, Faculty Director Karl Hackenbrack agreed to exempt Arianna from a couple of the classes in the standard MAcc Valuation curriculum. “I really appreciate that he took the time to meet with me and exempt those courses, because I was able to replace them with MBA electives like real estate and negotiation, which have been a critical piece of my education at Owen. I feel that my experience here has been totally different and more well-rounded than I ever expected going in.”

In addition to equipping herself with new knowledge, Arianna has gained new confidence. At first, she admits, she was nervous about being one of only two women in the program. In hindsight, she says, “I think I have grown so much because I was placed in this situation. I am now much more confident in myself and around a group of men, which I think will be important for me in a male-dominated field.”

Fun Fact: Arianna goes to CrossFit training almost every day (and maintained that routine even while studying for the CFA exam).

I did not find any other school that offered a program like it in the country.