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Master of Accounting

Kaitlyn Ward

Kaitlyn Ward photo

Private Accountant

Finance Development, Deere & Company

"I was impressed with the variety of information I learned from my electives-from forensic to environmental to responsible accounting. I've got so many tools in my arsenal now-knowledge and expertise I use every day in my job."

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How to succeed

"I loved my years at St. Ambrose because I put my heart into the classroom and the community. Open yourself up to all that's possible, and you'll have a great experience here."

After Kaitlyn Ward earned her undergraduate degree in accounting at St. Ambrose, going for her master's degree seemed like the next natural step in her career.

But what started as simply taking classes to prepare for the CPA exam quickly turned into so much more: a tour of career possibilities to explore in the accounting world. In addition to increasing her technical skills in accounting processes, she learned how to investigate fraud in Forensic Accounting, what it’s like to be a controller in Managerial Accounting and how to be an effective leader through MBA classes that are part of the MAcc program.

Kaitlyn’s internship placement at Deere & Company during her MAcc program led to her current job there as an accountant in finance development.

In her own words

What do you do as an accountant at Deere & Company?

I'm in a program called finance development. Every new accountant goes through three positions in a span of three to five years. Right now, I’m a general ledger accountant. I do tasks like processing vouchers and paying invoices. Next, I’ll be a fixed asset accountant, which means I’ll deal with assets for our computer center. I'm still waiting to hear where my third rotation will be. After that, I can go out and apply for any accounting position within the company. I’d eventually like to have a costing position and work on-site in a Deere factory.

Why did you choose Ambrose?

My undergraduate experience at St. Ambrose was fantastic, and I wanted my graduate program to build off similar values. The faculty at Ambrose makes it such a hands-on, personal learning environment. My younger sister also went to Ambrose, and I had professors who would ask about her every time I chatted with them. They’re personally invested in your success, both while at Ambrose and after you’ve left.

Ambrose has a good reputation, especially within the Quad Cities community. Businesses respect and support the program. Many attend the career fairs hosted by Ambrose, which shows how much interest there is in Ambrose graduates. The accounting program is also highly regarded among students. The combination of flexible schedules, the way classes are structured and the knowledgeable faculty make for a winning program—one that I’m proud to have graduated from.

Which faculty members made an impact on you personally?

Lew Marx taught classes in derivatives, environmental, and ethical accounting. He has such a wealth of knowledge and he brings his passion to the table every day; he’s determined to see me get a doctorate! He wants his students to have as many opportunities as possible. And he works hard to get his students involved with programs like VITA, the volunteer income tax assistance program. VITA is a great opportunity for accounting students to help the community and practice doing taxes.

How did you balance your academic life?

I think I have good time-management skills. The program gives you a manageable course load, and the professors are straightforward with their expectations.

I had to write a 10-page paper for Advanced Managerial Accounting. It sounded overwhelming, but we had lots of deadlines along the way for the outline, a one-page summary, the points to argue for and against and citations. It was a step-by-step process. As long as you can organize all of your deadlines throughout the semester, you’re set. And the professors are really helpful reviewing our work with us.

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