Jonathan Jared, BS’19, MSA’22, loves business. Specifically, he loves finance and accounting. He’s known this ever since his first undergraduate accounting course at the Kelley School of Business on the IUPUI campus.
“Accounting is about understanding how to financially measure a company. The better you are at accounting, the better you are at understanding the financial position of companies and providing deeper insights into its operations or the company’s valuation,” he says. “These skills help you identify weaknesses and opportunities for the business to improve.”
Jonathan knew he wanted to pursue a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) certification, which requires 150 credit hours of college coursework. He decided the best option to prepare for the exam and gain enough credits was to pursue a Master of Science in Accounting (MSA) at the Kelley School — which he could do by adding just one more year to his undergraduate studies.
“I didn’t want to just stack credits by taking a bunch of undergraduate classes, even if some are related to accounting. I wanted to earn a degree that would truly further my education and career,” says Jonathan. “The MSA is a very strong program that prepares you for the CPA exam because the advanced courses really help you understand auditing, financial accounting and taxation on a whole new level. Plus, if you’re competing with equal candidates for the same job, having the MSA will help you stand out.”
Jonathan could have completed a 150-credit hour bachelor’s degree, but he started the +1 MSA immediately following his undergraduate studies. This gave him flexibility to choose which advanced accounting topics to pursue. “I have more flexibility in the +1 MSA to make the curriculum my own,” he says.
Another advantage of the Kelley +1 MSA at IUPUI is its location. Students like Jonathan can work at accounting firms and companies just a few blocks away from campus in downtown Indianapolis. In fact, Jonathan’s internship at Salesforce led to a full-time offer as a staff accountant, for which he applies in real time the lessons he’s learning in the MSA program.
“My office is only a few blocks away from campus, so it’s pretty easy to get off work and walk over to class,” he says. “While I earn my degree, I’ve been able to apply some course concepts directly to my job — allowing me to approach a problem in a different way or examine a concept more deeply than I would’ve been able to if I hadn’t had this experience.”
Jonathan is finishing up the last half of his Kelley MSA and will graduate in May 2022. (He took a semester off to get married after completing some summer coursework.) He says one of the greatest returns on his investment in the program has been learning content that is directly relatable to the real world of accounting.
“One of my favorite classes is Financial Statement Analysis & Valuation. My role doesn’t handle valuation, but from a financial statement analysis perspective, I provide quarterly property reviews, which include operational and financial analysis for our chief accounting officer,” he says. “That course helped me develop skills to evaluate properties, profitability and business outlook. The financials I prepare help him better understand what’s happening in the business.”
Jonathan says the breadth and depth of coursework in the Kelley +1 MSA Program have helped widen the scope of his understanding of accounting.
“In the Advanced Business Law class, we covered bankruptcy and insurance, which are important parts of protecting your business,” he says. “The curriculum helps broaden your perspective and open your mind to all aspects of your business.”
The curriculum helps broaden your perspective and open your mind to all aspects of your business.”
As he looks toward the future, Jonathan feels he has a variety of options because of the graduate degree he’s earning at Kelley. As an undergraduate tutor, he enjoyed providing review sessions for accounting courses and is pleased to know the graduate degree may allow him to teach someday. When considering why he chose the +1 MSA path, Jonathan suggests other students look at job descriptions for careers they may want someday.
“At one point I looked at job postings for chief accounting officers to see the requirements, and then, I tailored my education based upon those requirements,” he says. “At the end of the day, you need to understand your goals and what will make you successful in the future. The Kelley +1 MSA will help me do that.”
At the end of the day, you need to understand your goals and what will make you successful in the future. The Kelley +1 MSA will help me do that.”
Jonathan recognizes that his career goals may someday change. But he feels the Kelley +1 MSA has prepared him for whatever awaits him down the road.
“You want to choose an education that will help you either shift or transition in your career,” he says. “I love accounting, but I don’t know if I’ll always be in that field. But I know for a fact that I can transition into finance or run a startup. Once you understand accounting, you understand the language of business, which provides deeper insights into anything you do in business. Kelley helps you get there.”