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Master of Accounting


Assurance Associate, McGladrey & Pullen, LLP

“Accounting is more than crunching numbers. It’s about writing, delivering presentations and being able to express my thoughts. The communication and team skills I developed at Ambrose have been important in the business world.”

How to succeed

“Smaller class sizes mean you can’t just sit back; you have to get involved. That’s how you grow and learn. These are things that have definitely carried over to my current job.”

As an undergraduate accounting major at St. Ambrose, John Hammar found the individualized instruction from his professors to be a key factor to his academic success. It’s one of the reasons he continued on at Ambrose to earn his master’s degree in accounting.

By the time he graduated with his MACC degree, John found he’d mastered the communication skills necessary for public presentations and one-on-one client meetings. Now, as an insurance associate at McGladrey & Pullen, LLP in Chicago, John puts these skills to the test daily. “Between the quality of instructors and the intimacy of the program, I gained a solid foundation that continues to contribute to my success in no matter what I do.”

In his own words

How did you become an insurance associate?

During my junior year, I went to the career fair that’s catered to accounting majors. After handing out my resume and going through the interview process, I landed a summer internship with McGladrey & Pullen. That’s what got my foot in the door.

At McGladrey, I was treated like a new hire. In fact, I did exactly what I’m doing now: auditing. I got to go to different companies with a team, and learned that I really enjoyed that aspect of public accounting. Public accounting is a great way to start your career, since you get exposure to so many different types of clients.

Which faculty member made an impact?

Elizabeth Pogue, my Managerial Accounting instructor. She was such a good communicator and because she worked in public and private accounting, she was able to bring a lot of real-world experience to the table. It was interesting to learn about both sides of accounting from someone who’s been there. She was able to relate the principles she was teaching to actual situations, which made the material easier to wrap your mind around.

All the teachers at Ambrose are so accessible. I played on the basketball team my entire time as an undergraduate. I was able to balance all my extracurricular commitments with my studies, in part because of the committed faculty. If you ever have questions or need help, you can go straight to your instructors and they’re more than happy to help you.

What’s the most valuable thing you’ve learned?

Communication skills. In the program, we gave several presentations. And we worked a lot in teams, which is something almost all accountants do. I learned how to work with different personalities. I learned to be flexible. And I’m able to better communicate my thoughts because of that.

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