Accelerated Accounting Degree Sets Cardoso Up for Success
Jaden Cardoso, a current senior from Angola, Indiana, is wrapping up her time in the accelerated accounting degree at Grace. While the accelerated bachelor’s degree option isn’t for everyone, Cardoso has found that it has saved her time and money while also giving her the skills she needs to succeed on the CPA exam and in her career. We sat down with Cardoso to hear about the factors that played into her decision to choose the path of a 3-year accounting degree.
Why did you choose to study accounting?
So I actually came in as a math major because I liked numbers, and I was good at math in high school, but I didn’t really know what to do with it. People had said that there were a lot of options with the degree, but most people just assumed that I would become a teacher. And I didn’t want to be a teacher. I honestly had it stuck in my head that I would be in a basement doing research at some point in my life. Meanwhile, I started taking financial and managerial accounting courses with Dr. Stichter which were required for my major. Dr. Stichter is very good at convincing people they would be great accountants in the long run. He is also very full of wisdom and an amazing mentor. He’s someone that everyone in the School of Business looks up to, so it didn’t take very much convincing on his part for me to make the change.
When did you decide to do the accelerated accounting degree?
I actually didn’t make that decision until my second year in school. Most of my closest friends were graduating in 2022, and so I began really considering it. I am very future-oriented, so I’m constantly thinking about what’s next. I got excited about graduating early and being able to work sooner and feel like an official adult. So with all of those factors, the accelerated accounting degree was appealing to me.
What advantages does the accelerated bachelor’s degree provide you going into a career?
There is a lot of flexibility starting out, just because I am so young. I feel like I have a few years to experiment with to see what I want to do and not feel rushed into anything. Since I am graduating at a younger age, I have that flexibility of getting to explore. Additionally, there are milestones in my career that could come at an earlier age because I started sooner, and I’m grateful for that. But I recognize that I still have a lot to learn and there are a lot of ways to grow, and I’m excited to do that in a real-world atmosphere.
What have been some of the challenges of pursuing an accelerated accounting degree?
Sometimes I wrestle with the thought of staying another year from a social standpoint – getting to experience college life a little bit longer. It also can be a struggle to balance the workload. Other students have the luxury of taking fewer classes if they are in a more challenging course or in the middle of a sports season, but in the 3-year accounting degree, you don’t have that luxury.
How are you getting the 150 credits needed for the CPA exam while in the 3-year accounting degree?
The way Grace formats things is very helpful because I can take six classes each semester as well as two summer classes, so I’ve taken full advantage of that. Also, my high school had a good partnership with Trine University, so I got dual credit for most of my high school junior and senior year courses. Originally, I thought about getting an MBA to help get those credits, but I talked to Dr. Stichter, and I realized that it wouldn’t be necessary to get the 150 credits needed.
How would you like to use your degree in the future?
I want to go into public accounting. Dr. Stichter has always explained that there is so much to learn at a public accounting firm, and I am very much a learner – always wanting to gain as much knowledge as I can. In public accounting, you’re exposed to every facet of business and every facet of accounting, so it’s a great opportunity. Last year, I did some interviews in the fall with different public accounting firms, and I got an internship at BKD, a national public accounting firm, over the summer. I really enjoyed the people I worked with and the different projects I worked on. I loved the experience overall.
What are your plans after graduation this May?
My internship led to a full-time position, so I will be working at BKD starting in September of this year, which is really exciting! Before I get started with that, I will be studying for and taking the CPA exam.
In what ways has the accelerated accounting degree helped you as you begin your CPA exam preparation?
Doing the 3-year accounting degree and playing sports in college has helped me learn effective scheduling. I’ve learned how to ask the question, “What can I do right now to set myself up for success next week, next month, or next semester?” Three-year students have a greater awareness of how they are scheduling themselves and how it will affect their future. That is imperative for success studying for the CPA exam. I know that if I put in the work this summer, I will set myself up for success in September.
Does an accelerated bachelor’s degree seem advantageous to you? Apply to Grace today, and be on your way to getting your undergraduate degree in just three years.