MAC Journey

Then and Now: Kiwi turned Tar Heel

October 14, 2013 By Alex Macdonald


It was four and a half years ago that I left New Zealand and arrived at Catawba College in North Carolina, ready to take the Division Two sporting world by storm. It didn’t take me long to realize that perhaps my dreams of a professional tennis career were slightly misplaced. Luckily for me, my parents had always insisted that my career in the classroom was more important than my career on the court. Similarly to Chapel Hill, Catawba College is a liberal arts institution which encourages a well-rounded education. While my major was economics and finance, I dabbled in other studies such as management, marketing and most importantly, accounting.  While I always understood the integral nature of accounting in business, the support of friends and teachers helped me shift my graduate focus to an accounting program.

Why UNC Kenan-Flagler?

UNC Kenan-Flagler was a perfect option for me for a large number of reasons. Firstly, the Masters in Accounting Program required a maximum of twelve credit hours in accounting courses. This stipulation was great for students like me, who were non-accounting majors in our undergraduate studies but had an interest in pursuing a career in accounting. Secondly, the program is nationally recognized for its success in educating its students and providing them with great job opportunities. In a tough job market, especially for foreign students, this was an incredibly alluring aspect of the Program. Finally, UNC has an amazing reputation in academics and in sports. As a former student athlete, attending a school renowned for its sporting championships and great environment was a huge draw for me.

Advice for Prospective Students

If you are a student who is at all interested in the UNC Kenan-Flagler MAC Program with some free electives in your senior year, I highly recommend going ahead and taking a few accounting courses to get a feel for what the work will be like and help prepare you for a busy summer. Having a basic understanding of accounting will help make the transition into boot camp (the summer program) a little easier. Further more, as you’ve been told since you were seventeen, time management and organization is key to maintaining a balanced lifestyle while effectively completing your academic responsibilities. Make friends, go out, have fun, but make your studies a priority and set your mind towards the goal of graduation and a future career. On that note, honing your business professional skills is vital to your success in this program.

This program provides an incredible opportunity to those willing to put forward the time and effort. I consider myself very privileged to be here and if accounting is something which interests you, then the UNC Kenan-Flagler MAC Program would be a worthy consideration.