Our Stories

Surrounding Herself with Non-Accountants

Accounting major finds value in peers with non-business backgrounds

Thea Winston
EY Forensics, Atlanta

Vanderbilt MAcc 2019

Thea Winston had known for a long time that she wanted to pursue a career in accounting. It was her major in college. She interned for three summers in a row with EY in the Atlanta area, rotating through all of the core service lines and, most recently, focusing on forensic and integrity services.

A MAcc degree was also part of Thea’s career plan. She knew, she says, that it “would provide me with the hours I needed to sit for the CPA and a cohort of students who will be entering the same industry. In business, you always hear it’s about relationships, and through this degree, I could gain some valuable ones.”

When she began researching programs, Vanderbilt rose to the top of her list. One quality stood out immediately to her, Thea says: “Vanderbilt was one of the only programs that catered to students without a background in accounting. This meant that I would meet a group of people with a diverse collection of experiences. One of my classmates majored in food science and another was pre-med.”

Thea also noticed that the Vanderbilt MAcc program had one of the highest first-time pass rates for all four parts of the CPA exam. And, she says, she was attracted by “the reputation of the school as a whole and the city it was located in.”

She was right about the value of relationships. As it happened, the partner with whom she interned at EY Forensics was a Vanderbilt alum. Through that relationship, she met another Vanderbilt alum who was in Thea’s position a year ago —and who, Thea says, “gave me some pointers about what to expect in the fall. It was awesome to see the network before I even really started the program.”



Fun Fact: When she was in college, Thea studied abroad three different times: in Vietnam, England, and Brazil.

Vanderbilt was one of the only programs that catered to students without a background in accounting. This meant that I would meet a group of people with a diverse collection of experiences.