Faculty

Back in the Day: M.S. in Accounting Program Director and Professor Andrea Roberts

Student Brady Hamel (M.S. in Accounting ’21) sat down with Program Director and Professor Andrea Roberts to chat about why she enjoys teaching Accounting and what she was up to at age 22.

Andrea Roberts

Professor Andrea Roberts then and now

What is your role in the M.S. in Accounting Program?

I am the Program Director for the MSA program. I also teach the Leadership course, which all MSA students take, as well as Strategic Cost Management, an elective for MSA students.

How does this program add value for students?

The program does a great job of training students for what they will be doing three to five years down the road. A huge component of our program is helping students develop strong problem-solving skills and giving students lots of opportunities to practice how to communicate, work in teams, and build social networks. The vast majority of our students start their careers in professional service firms. These firms demand strong problem-solving, teamwork, communication, and networking skills.

Many students enter the program right after graduating from their undergrad institution at age 22. Where were you, and what were you doing when you were 22 years old?

When I graduated from undergrad, there was no 150-hour CPA license requirement. So, there were few Master of Accounting programs, and almost nobody had their MSA. I went straight from undergrad and worked for EY in Baltimore, MD, within their audit practice. I eventually switched from audit to consulting, staying with EY.

How has the field of accounting changed since you were 22?

The automation of certain processes is certainly a huge change within the field. This first changed when accounting firms began outsourcing some of the more routine, non-judgement functions to other countries. Now, this has evolved into the automation of these same functions. Additionally, when I first started working in the ‘90s, the Big Four, like other accounting firms, were very conservative in nature. Everyone wore suits, women could not wear pants, and it was hard for people to be their authentic selves. This has changed and is continuing to change. Also, clothing is much more casual, and women are no longer required to wear skirts and dresses.

What was one of your favorite songs back in your early 20s?

I am bad at “favorites,” but I’m from the D.C. area, so I grew up on go-go music and was still very much into it in my early 20s. I also went to undergrad right outside of Baltimore and became a very big fan of house music. I am sure that many people reading this blog have no idea about go-go or house music, so I welcome the opportunity to discuss it or play some songs with anyone who wants to listen. I can do this quickly from my Apple Music Playlist. But be warned—my kids who are closest to your age (they are 20 and 17) say this music is “trash.” They may say that because I forced it on them while they were growing up.

What about a favorite movie or TV show from back then?

My husband and I were dating when I was 22, and I remember us watching “Martin” and “Seinfeld” on Thursdays. Those were our shows.

Most importantly, when you were 22, who was your celebrity crush?

This is easy—Denzel Washington.

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