Our Stories

Deferring His Dream

Pro baseball player takes his shot.

Casey Sutherland
Audit Assistant, Deloitte

Vanderbilt MAcc 2022

During his senior year in college, Casey Sutherland had what he described as a “scary” moment when he asked himself: “What am I doing after this?” Though he was talented enough as a baseball player to dream of competing professionally, he calculated that the odds of making an actual career in baseball were slim.

With guidance from an undergraduate professor and mentor, Casey applied to Vanderbilt’s Master of Accounting program. After he was accepted, he received a call from the Boston Red Sox. As Casey remembers the conversation: “They said, ‘Hey, we have a spot in rookie ball. It doesn't pay well. It's in Fort Myers [Florida] in the middle of August, when it's 102 degrees and 90% humidity. Do you want to do it?’ And I said, ‘Let me call up Vanderbilt to make sure that that's okay.’ [Vanderbilt] immediately said, ‘Go for it—go live the dream.’”

The program director made it clear that Casey could defer his admission and join the program when he was ready. After two years of baseball, he came to Vanderbilt and never looked back.

Just as in baseball, Casey found that the right team chemistry made all the difference. “I appreciated that the MAcc program is all in one year and you didn’t have to do three semesters if you didn’t have an accounting background,” he says. “But more important, it was the quality of the people. When I came to campus on the admissions weekend, I could tell from everyone I met that this could be home, and this was where I needed to be.”

He gained that same feeling from his internship with Deloitte, where he landed a position after completing the program. “For me, it was those connections, just from the first two, three months that I had an internship, and the people that I was able to meet,“ Casey says. “They're incredibly driven people, and just being around them kind of makes me want to continue to grow not just in the accounting profession, but personally as well. I’m excited about the accounting industry and about waking up every day to go to work at Deloitte.”

In contrast to his time in baseball, Casey no longer has any doubts about his long-term career prospects. “The MAcc program built my social skills and provided me with self-assurance in my abilities,” he says. “Prior to Vanderbilt, I was unsure of what exactly I would do with a professional career in audit, but I am now confident that I can excel.”

Fun Fact: Casey played professional baseball in the Boston Red Sox organization.

They immediately said, ‘Go for it—go live the dream.’