Our Stories

Getting Empowered

MAcc Valuation provided both immersion and a network

Tatum Ballard
Staff Accountant, EY

Vanderbilt MAcc Assurance 2022

Tatum Ballard says she practically grew up in her parents’ restaurants and coffee shops, where she learned the value of hard work and developed a desire to be part of the business world one day. Talking with the CPAs in her family—there are several—instilled in her an interest in following in their footsteps.

Her next step after college graduation, she decided, was Vanderbilt. “Vanderbilt has an amazing reputation and alumni network,” she says. “I knew I wanted to be part of the Vanderbilt community as soon as I began doing research.”

For Tatum, being able to develop relationships with faculty and fellow students in a close-knit environment was a major part of that community experience—and a major advantage. “Being able to walk into a class and have the professor know my name was much different than the experience I had in college,” she says. “The small classes provided a comfortable environment where my peers and I felt comfortable speaking up and asking questions.”

The internship built into the program structure, Tatum says, made the learning opportunities even richer. “I worked 50-plus hours per week during the busiest time of year for auditors. This was such a valuable learning experience because I was forced to quickly learn how the job and my team worked. I got a taste of what my post-graduation job would be like while growing my network.”

Finally, as a woman entering a field traditionally dominated by men, Tatum felt particularly empowered by her Vanderbilt experience. “Vanderbilt does an amazing job of giving women opportunities to excel in male-dominated careers,” she says. “I was surrounded by strong, independent women every day in my classes and extracurriculars. It is empowering to be surrounded by so many brilliant women who have common goals for their careers. I am better prepared because I have peers and role models from my time here at Owen that I can lean on throughout my professional career. I can use these relationships to reach out for advice and opportunities.”

Fun Fact: A year-round volleyballer since she was eight years old, Tatum played on the beach volleyball team in college at LSU.

Vanderbilt does an amazing job of giving women opportunities to excel in male-dominated careers.