Our Stories

Discovering the Right Career Medicine

For doctor-in-waiting Graham Lenes, accounting offered right balance of problem solving and human interaction

Graham Lenes
Risk Assurance Associate, PwC, Charlotte, NC

Vanderbilt MAcc 2016

Discovering his passion, as Graham Lenes remembers it, came as something of a surprise. Growing up, the South Carolina native always imagined he’d take his place among a family of doctors. After he began taking classes at Wofford College to prepare him for a medical career, he says, “I realized I absolutely hated it.”

Then a professor introduced Graham to the world of mitigating risk in the structure of companies through internal controls. “I had never considered combining my knowledge and knack for accounting and my studies in computer science,” Graham says. “This line of work involves a combination of the problem-solving and human interaction I was seeking.” Quickly, he was hooked.

Realizing that he would need a CPA to pursue his career vision — and that “it made sense to go into a program that focused on CPA prep but also had a world-renowned business school to prepare me in other areas” — he decided to visit Vanderbilt, largely because “Nashville was a place that reminded me of home but wasn’t home.” Once he arrived on campus, he concluded, “It wasn’t just the city that was perfect for me but the school as well.”

After completing his internship with PwC in Charlotte, where Graham launched his career in risk assurance after graduation, he was even more convinced he had chosen the right path. “Two days at the office are never the same,” says Graham. “The opportunity to be presented with new issues for large companies on a daily basis — that’s something that motivates me.”



Fun Fact: An accomplished vocalist, Graham has sung and helped lead mass in Paris’ Notre Dame Cathedral, Westminster Cathedral in London and St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome.

“The opportunity to be presented with new issues for large companies on a daily basis — that’s something that motivates me.”