Academics

Student Spotlight: Kessia Garnett

"Most accounting programs offer classes strictly in accounting, but at McIntire, the courses focus on developing you to become a better and more well-rounded professional while still helping you master accounting." —Kessia Garnett (M.S. in Accounting '20)

Kessia Garnett
M.S. in Accounting 2020, Tax Consulting Track
Undergrad: B.A. in Sociology with a minor in Accounting, Syracuse University

What do you believe makes the M.S. in Accounting Program unique?
The University of Virginia’s M.S. in Accounting is unique because of the different types of courses offered. Most accounting programs offer classes strictly in accounting, but at McIntire, the courses focus on developing you to become a better and more well-rounded professional while still helping you master accounting.

What are some of the most critical skills that you’ve gained from the Program?
Some critical skills I’ve developed throughout the Program include effective communication, strong leadership, and working efficiently in high-performing teams. The Program emphasizes participation, presentations, and group work, which have helped me to improve some of the most essential “soft skills” needed to succeed within the accounting profession.

What is an interesting elective you’ve taken in the Program?
I decided to take “Managing Sustainable Development: Business Solutions to Global Challenges.” In this course, we talk about the global issues affecting our environment and society. The course pushes me to think critically and outside just a business mindset. Professor Brad Brown challenges us to share our perspectives and uses interesting case studies instead of lecturing us about topics we can otherwise easily find online.

Why did you choose the Tax Consulting Track, and how do you think the tax classes you’ve taken so far in the Program will benefit your career?
After a summer internship, I realized that I did not see myself as an auditor, so I chose to explore tax instead. The coursework has challenged me but also provided me with so much knowledge that I can take beyond the classroom. The small class sizes on the track have made learning easier because of the personal relationships developed with my professors and classmates. During the fall semester, I took “Taxation of Partnerships and Flow-Through Entities” with Professor Susan Porter. This area of tax is a very niche population of accounting professionals, and the courses can be tough. Professor Porter structured her classes in such a way that we can easily digest the material and learn complex concepts that will be beneficial when we start our careers.

Could you share a favorite memory from your time in the Program to date?
One of my favorite experiences in the Program thus far was the Triple C Camp bonding event at the beginning of the semester. Triple C Camp gave us activities and challenges to complete as a team as we tackled their ropes course together. This event was a great way for me to meet and bond with some of my classmates. Moreover, this event allowed us to be vulnerable and trust each other even though we had just met the day before.

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