Using grit from Quinlan to move up at Big Four firm
Degree: BBA ’08, MS of Accountancy ‘09
Occupation: Tax Senior Manager, Deloitte
As her undergraduate career came to a close, Allison Huey (BBA ’08, MSA ’09) knew she wanted to continue her education. Within two years of receiving her bachelor’s, Huey received her master’s in accountancy, became a CPA, and was hired full time at Deloitte, one of the Big Four accounting firms. Ten years later, she continues to use the skills learned during her time at Quinlan to excel in her career.
Below, Huey reflects on her time at Quinlan.
Why did you choose to come back to school?
I went to Loyola University Chicago for my undergraduate degree in accounting. During my junior year, I had an internship with the Tribune Company where I learned the importance of having a CPA (Certified Public Accountant license) in the public accounting field. In order to sit for the CPA exams, I needed 150 credit hours, which was more than I would have when I graduated with my bachelor’s. I loved my experience at Loyola for my undergrad, so I decided to continue with my Master’s in Accountancy right after graduation and sit for the CPA as soon as possible.
I was able to earn my degree, pass the CPA exams, and begin my full-time career quickly. I graduated with my undergrad in May of 2008, completed my Master’s in Accountancy by August of 2009, and passed all parts of the CPA exam on the first attempt, all before starting full-time at Deloitte in January 2010.
Why the MSA program at Quinlan?
The program fit perfectly. I started the quarter immediately following undergrad and began to prepare for the CPA exams. Also during my master’s program, I was able to interview with Deloitte while their recruiters were on campus and was offered an internship with Deloitte. Originally, I didn’t think I wanted to be at a Big Four firm, but I fell in love with it. The master’s program is on quarters, so I was able to fit more into certain quarters and take a quarter off to intern at Deloitte. I had flexibility in the program I didn’t know was possible.
What do you do now?
I’m now a tax senior manager at Deloitte. My team focuses on assisting our clients through life-changing events, such as an initial public offering. We design, build, and implement process and technology solutions for those clients. I also serve as the wellbeing initiative leader for my group, meaning I help the team to focus on wellbeing or work/life fit. Many people think taking time off work is selfish or bad for the company, but in reality, a healthy life balance is the best option for everyone. When we have a break from work, we can perform at our best while here.
How did Quinlan help your career?
One of the takeaways from my time at Quinlan I still use in my career, even ten years after receiving my degree, is the determination and grit it takes to get a job done. At Quinlan, beyond learning the technical skills I needed to succeed, I learned that when you’re asked to do something, you need to do it right. That’s true at Deloitte. In order to move up and excel, I need to continue to deliver each time I was asked to complete a task. The determination to do things right the first time and live up to expectations was a key skill I honed while in school.
Any advice for current students?
Try classes that don’t immediately align with your major or concentration. You’ll learn a lot of valuable skills when you look beyond your focus. Also ask for real-life examples in class. Most of the professors are currently or were part of the workforce, so they know from experience not just academics. The most insightful examples you can have are actual situations.
What was your favorite Quinlan experience?
I greatly appreciated the classes that weren’t necessarily accounting. Taking marketing, management, and ethics courses rounded out the program in a unique way. The accounting classes were crucial, but the other courses helped me in management roles and personal relationships with coworkers. The combination of accounting classes, soft skills, and working with case studies and real-world examples throughout the program was most beneficial.