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UTICA COLLEGE - TV: How an online MBA can set you apart as a CPA

Watch this video interview with Christian Leogrande, a graduate of Utica College, discussing how an MBA can set you apart as a CPA.

How an MBA can set you apart as a CPA

Dr. Norrie: Welcome to another edition of Utica College TV. I'm here today with Christian Leogrande, a recent MBA graduate. And I want to spend a few minutes, Christian, talking about your program. And I want to start with a question that I think prospective students might want to consider. What made you decide to pursue your MBA?

Christian: That's interesting. I am an accountant by trade. My bachelor's degree is in accounting and there was recently a requirement that you need 150 credit hours to sit for your CPA exam, Certified Public Accountant. So the CPA opens a lot of doors for people. And being a regular, run of the mill accountant, you have a ceiling. Being a CPA, the ceiling grows exponentially. So it's something that I looked at from a cost-benefit analysis, and I said, "Getting this MBA makes sense." So that's what I did and I decided I'm going to go for it.

Dr. Norrie: Good. And for students who are perhaps also considering professional designations and the MBA, what makes it distinct to have the CPA and the MBA?

Christian: I think the difference between just a CPA and having the CPA and the MBA is it's just another credential. It's just another thing to distinguish yourself from the next guy because, again, there are plenty of MBAs. There's a fair amount of CPAs. There aren't a lot of MBA CPAs. People go on and get their master's degrees, but that distinction of being an MBA, having knowledge and a proficiency in business, I think is important. I think it really kind of sets me apart from the run of the mill candidate.

Dr. Norrie: Great. And you already set yourself apart. I actually had you in an MBA class so I know you're a pretty good student. I had the pleasure of teaching Christian in my leadership class.

Christian: Thank you.

Dr. Norrie: So what did you enjoy most about your graduate studies? Because an MBA is a different experience than perhaps undergraduate studies…

Christian: I would say that the intensity was a little bit ... not a little bit, it was much more intense than a bachelor's degree. Just the study load, the amount of work and the level of complexity was just much, much more demanding. But I think that's good. I think it prepares you for the real world because the real world isn't just a cakewalk. It's not, "This is your basic problem in the book." I mean, you have complex issues. You have clients who we're talking about their money, their livelihood. I mean, you need to be able to deal with that. So I think the MBA was a really good stepping stone from college bachelor's level to your career in the real world.

Dr. Norrie: Great. And obviously, from what you just said, you found that your MBA classes helped connect what you were doing in the classroom to your career.

Christian: Absolutely. I would say that it was probably one of the most important things to bridge that gap because, like I said, bachelor's education is important for getting your foundation. But to transition you from an educational student to a professional, that's what the MBA provides.

Dr. Norrie: Right. So maybe the difference between knowledge acquisition in our undergraduate programs and the application of that knowledge in the real world.

Christian: Exactly.

Dr. Norrie: Agreed?

Christian: Exactly. I think the application is what you really pick up in the MBA program and I think that's something that's helped me in my career.

Dr. Norrie: And that's a lot of what we focus on in our MBA program, is making sure that we apply knowledge. One last question, then we'll let you go from our short episode today. What is the one thing you would tell a prospective MBA student to think about before they picked their program?

Christian: One thing I would say, and it's going to sound vain, but I would say look at the money. I would say, to be honest, as an accountant, your ceiling as an employee, or whether you want to run a company, being a CPA is valuable. It provides something, whether you're a business leader, you're a director of finance, or you're a partner at an accounting firm, your ceiling is greater. I mean, personally, I'm an accountant at a CPA firm. You can't make it past the manager level without your CPA. Your ceiling is limited.
So it's something that I think you have to take into account and say, "Listen, do one extra year of college and I can make an extra $100 grand 20 years down the road per year." That's something that you really need to consider and I think that's something that I looked at. Like I said, doing a cost-benefit analysis of, "How is this going to affect me down the road?" And that's what I did.

Dr. Norrie: So finishing on that note, check us out and find out all the details and the ROI you can get from the 30-credit hour MBA under $20,000.

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