Our Stories

Following a “Strange” Love for Accounting

Laura McLaughlin pursues her passion without leaving her alma mater

Laura McLaughlin
Audit Associate, KPMG (Denver)

Vanderbilt MAcc 2018

When Laura McLaughlin took her first accounting course as a college sophomore — and loved it — she recalls that her friends told her it was “very strange.” But from that year forward, she set her sights on the Vanderbilt MAcc program, even though she had already established a major that set her on a path toward human resources.

As a Vanderbilt undergraduate, Laura didn’t need to be sold on the school or the location. “After loving my four years at Vanderbilt, I was thrilled to be able to stay for another year,” she says. “And I knew it would not feel like I was just repeating my undergrad experience.

“[The MAcc] had everything I wanted — a one-year, fast-paced program for non-accounting majors that set you up with a career at a Big Four firm and gave you CPA exam prep — so I didn’t consider any other programs.”

With her choice of programs was well-established, the MAcc team at Owen helped Laura chart her course for after graduation. “When I received multiple internship offers, I was pretty sure I knew where I wanted to go, but I needed to talk it through,” she recalls. “I met with [Program Director] Lindsay [Donald], and she allowed me to speak my mind openly and helped me feel confident about the decision I made.

“Knowing that she has worked with one of the firms and is close with most of the alumni and current professionals, it was really helpful to hear her perspective and insight.”

In the end, Laura accepted a post-graduation job with the firm where she interned — KPMG’s Denver office — where she is also well-positioned to achieve one of her other goals: to summit all 53 of the peaks in Colorado above 14,000 feet.



Fun Fact: Laura once rented a 30-foot RV and spent two weeks with three of her girlfriends driving 2,500 miles from Las Vegas to Vancouver, British Columbia.

“When I received multiple internship offers, I was pretty sure I knew where I wanted to go, but I needed to talk it through.”