MS in Accounting Blog

Alumni Spotlight: C’Ara McCrea (M.S. in Accounting ’17)

M.S. in Accounting graduate C'Ara McCrea talks about her journey to EY and what she enjoys most about her job.

C'Ara McCreaC’Ara McCrea (M.S. in Accounting ’17), Tax Track
Undergrad: Syracuse University
Current role: EY, FSO Tax Senior Staff

What was your most memorable class and why?
All of the classes taught me something different and challenged me in different ways. They really showed me how dynamic and exciting accounting and tax can be. One of my favorites was Tax Policy. Really understanding the tax profession since its inception was really exciting for me. We also learned how to understand the tax codification and how things develop.

What do you enjoy most about your job?
I have been able to find my EY family. I have been able to get exposure to engagements that are going to be able to help me develop my leadership skills and my tax technical knowledge. I have also been challenged in ways that have given me an accelerated journey at EY, but it was a supported journey. What I love the most about my job is that you have the opportunity to make things that you want them to be. That comes from the confidence of speaking up, asking to diversify your experiences, and being open to experiences that pull you in different directions.

What advice do you have for future students in the program?
Fail forward. I think people who might be shy to speak up in class or if you struggle with impostor syndrome, like I did, need to remember to be confident about failing forward. I believe learning to have the confidence to speak out and share your ideas and defend those ideas is one of the biggest skills you will practice. I also believe you need to understand what you need out of the program, which people might see as selfish, but it will help you in how you approach situations. You should think about what skill set you are trying to develop. For example, if you want to develop your leadership skills, when you are tasked with a group project, don’t be afraid to lead. Fail forward. If you fall short, it’s a lesson learned.

How has McIntire prepared you for professional success?
McIntire helped me develop my skills differently. I had worked in groups and had a rigorous course load before, but it was never very technical, and I thought this was something I needed to feel comfortable in my role at EY. While at McIntire, I didn’t realize how much I was truly learning in every course. Looking back, I am able to see how much I grew and learned during the program. We worked on a lot of emotional intelligence, which I apply a lot to my current job and I always look back at those lessons.

What is your favorite Charlottesville activity?
My favorite activity was going to the Biltmore on Thursday nights. It was a great opportunity to connect with my class a little differently.

What is your favorite place to eat in Charlottesville?
While I did do a lot of cooking, I loved grabbing lunch at Roots.

What do you do in your spare time?
I love to workout. Over quarantine, I have gotten into yoga. I also love to read nonfiction. I read things that help me explore different sides of myself.

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