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Getting His Feet Wet in Accounting

With no background in the subject, Vanderbilt was the right choice for Eric Niemann

Eric Niemann
Assurance Staff, EY, Nashville, TN

Vanderbilt MAcc 2021

Eric Niemann was frank about what he wanted in a career: He didn’t know.

However, he says, he did know how he wanted “to differentiate myself from the pack.” And a Master of Accounting degree, he reasoned, “provided the best opportunity to gain an understanding of various industries with hands-on experiences. It seemed like a no-brainer if I wanted to be a well-rounded professional.”

The opportunity also made Eric a little nervous, since he had no background or experience in accounting. So it was reassuring for him to learn that Vanderbilt’s MAcc program is structured to help students with no prior knowledge of accounting to stay on the same pace as others who have a deeper understanding of the subject.

Another advantage, as he discovered, was “getting to engage with individuals much older than me who come from robust business experiences, which has provided me with a dynamic network. Owen is a close-knit community that encourages interactions between all graduate students at the school.”

Landing an internship in Nashville with Ernst & Young, Eric says, was “life-changing news. Launching a career with the Big Four will expand my portfolio in the hope of one day narrowing my focus”—he’s honing an interest in working with nonprofit organizations that serve the community.

Meanwhile, the opportunity to complete that internship in Nashville made a big difference to Eric. “Getting to know and hang out with other people in my program and having small talk with others at Owen has been amazing,” he says. “I have learned so much already; it has been a transformative experience.”

Fun Fact: Eric writes and eats with his left hand but plays sports with his right.

It seemed like a no-brainer if I wanted to be a well-rounded professional.