Student Ambassador

Meet MACKENZIE Walker
Macc Student Ambassador

Mackenzie Walker, Master of Accounting Ambassador and Staff Accountant at EY, recently completed Year 1 of the MAcc program. Read more about Mackenzie as she shares why she chose the MAcc over CPA PEP, how MAcc has impacted her career, and advice for anyone interested in entering the program.

Tell us about yourself!

Hi! My name is Mackenzie Walker and I am currently a second-year student in the MAcc Program. As the current MAcc Ambassador, my responsibilities involve representing current students’ voices in the planning and execution of various social and wellness initiatives through the Masters & Professional Programs Office, as well as introducing the MAcc program to new and prospective students.

I did my Bachelor of Commerce After Degree at the University of Alberta in Accounting. In addition to my BComm, I also hold a Bachelor of Kinesiology from the University of Alberta where I still work casually as a lab assistant. Following the completion of my degree, I accepted a position at EY in Edmonton working for their Assurance Practice.

A fun fact about me is that I have worked for 5 City of Edmonton and Surrounding area attractions, so I know some good spots in Edmonton to explore and I love finding new ones!

 

 

Why did you choose the MAcc program as opposed to the CPA PEP or another accredited university program?

One of the major reasons as to why I chose the MAcc program over PEP is that I learned I am a more successful and engaged learner in a classroom setting than I am through virtual or online learning. The ability to talk to classmates before and after class, have face to face interactions with professors, and sit with other students during lectures are valuable experiences to me. They both enhance my learning of the material but also the ability to create a strong network and develop genuine connections with others.

Another reason as to why I chose the MAcc program was because of the added educational benefit that is above and beyond the courses I would take in PEP. It is having the opportunity to take all 4 electives, a class on project management, and the ability to work on soft skills in courses like Bargaining and Negotiations. Currently, I am not sure where my accounting career will take me, whether I’ll stay in public practice, go to Industry or maybe even teach. The MAcc program allows me to explore those interests both educational and through connecting me to others to gain different perspectives on what an accounting career is for them.

How has the MAcc helped you in your accounting career thus far, and what skills from the MAcc program are useful at work or in your everyday life?

One of the major advantages has been for me to have balance in my accounting career. This has allowed me to be involved in my firm more both socially and professionally. As I have my evenings and weekends free, I am able to be more flexible with work scheduling and accommodating working with coworkers in different time zones. Additionally, I am able to have time to connect with colleagues office wide through different social activities put on at EY.

In terms of technical skills, I believe it gave me an advantage to other Juniors that were at the start of their career as I had a more in depth knowledge and understanding on the purpose and reasoning to my work and the part it played to an audit as a whole. Additionally, it allowed for my learning curve to be less steep and go beyond expectations for someone in my role.

How would you describe your overall experience in the MAcc program?

In one word: Unforgettable!

When I started exploring options for Accounting and career opportunities, everyone I asked always said they choose their work environment, their firm, or their company because they immediately felt like “they fit”. I never truly understood what that meant before starting the MAcc program.

This is for two reasons:

The professors, faculty, and students want you to succeed and will work harder than you at times for that to happen. No matter if I was struggling or succeeding, I had great support from the professors and they were always there to better enhance my learning. I always knew I could ask for help, and my instructors would go above and beyond outside of the class time to answer my questions.

The individuals I have met in this program will not only be colleagues, but life long friends. Program socials and formal classroom activities facilitated countless opportunities for me to build relationships with my peers and expand my network, but it also fostered an environment for genuine connection.  My cohort planned many informal activities, hangouts, golf games, and there was always someone there for you to celebrate your successes but also pick you up if you fell. This is something I will forever be grateful for.

As we all know MAcc is a very intensive program, how did you maintain your mental health during those 4 months?

I play rugby in the summers and I found this as an effective outlet for my stress. That being said, many of my friends and teammates will tell you stories of me studying cue cards while getting taped during warm up for a game or sitting by a campfire while I debriefed a case.

For me, I just need to find balance.

This was done through a combination of scheduling, setting conscious and focused blocks for school work, but also ensuring I was still being social and seeing friends, getting outside and staying active. I treated Monday to Friday as if it was a work day and always tried to be on campus from at least 9-5 no matter what my class schedule was for that day.

Do you have any advice for anyone thinking about pursuing the MAcc program?

Reach out to people who have gone the different pathways and learn about how they made their decisions regarding the pathway they took. Then from there take a moment and reflect on who you are as both a person and a learner. This knowledge will help to determine if the MAcc program is the right choice for you.