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Finding What He Was Looking For

Would-be entrepreneur applied valuation to business ventures

Neil Mabee
Business Valuation Analyst, Deloitte

Vanderbilt MAcc Valuation 2022

As he approached the completion of his undergraduate degree in accounting, Neil Mabee found himself “still searching for a little bit more, trying to quench that entrepreneurial thirst I had” before embarking upon a business career.

He was particularly interested in valuation. “There are just a lot of big opportunities in valuation right now,” he says. “It’s just kind of exploding. And the MAcc Valuation program is the only one of its kind in the country. It’s perfect for individuals who are looking to take classwork directly related to valuation analysis roles.”

Another factor in Neil’s choice of Vanderbilt: the opportunity to prepare for and pass the CPA exam. “I always wanted a certification that would stay with me throughout my entire career,” he says. “In the MAcc program, the CPA exam is a huge focus, and they have an insanely high pass rate for those taking it for the first time.”

Once he arrived, Neil found what he loved most about the program were the opportunities to learn from the community’s diversity and a curriculum that encouraged them to work together on projects. “I took a lot of classes with some of the Master of Finance students,” he says. “It was a unique opportunity to get a sense of both the accounting and finance worlds. And then we had a really diverse group of people from a lot of different backgrounds. I’m from Australia, so I have very different experiences than someone from Nashville or the East Coast or West Coast. It just brought a different vibe into the classroom where we’re all completing group work assignments, trying to figure out these problems they’ve given us to solve and to make something great out of it.”

The creativity involved in collaboration particularly appealed to Neil’s entrepreneurial mindset. “Part of my reason for coming here was to learn about starting a business, and in the last module, I was able to take a class in Launching the Venture. You and others have eight weeks to essentially start your own company and pitch it to investors for funding [Neil took on the role of CFO]. It was exactly the thing I was looking for. I was able to make the financial models for a company that I made up, and we had a real business plan. If you want to know how a company is run, there’s not a better way to do it than this, and this was the only place where I could do it.”

Fun Fact: When Neil was five years old, he helped with the polling process in Indonesia’s first democratic election.

It’s perfect for individuals who are looking to take classwork directly related to valuation analysis roles.