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How a “Growth Mindset” Led One Student to a Master's in Accounting
For a long time, Ashley Yantz MSA ’13 always had dreams of becoming a neuroscientist. But at 22, in the midst of a neuroscience doctorate program, she took a bold move to change career paths.
“It wasn't until I was in the graduate program at Duke that I realized that, while I loved the field I was in, I did not love the life of a research scientist,” recalls Yantz, who already held a bachelor’s degree in the discipline. “It would have been easy to let momentum propel me down that path, but I knew that I would not be happy.”
Yantz left the program and began teaching science and math at a private, college preparatory school for girls in Medfield, Massachusetts. She also did some soul searching.
“I thought a lot about the aspects of my prior professions that I particularly enjoyed — things like providing people a valued service, analyzing data and providing trainings — and cross-referenced that with my skill set and what I wanted my day-to-day activities to include,” Yantz says. “It was a very deliberate process.”
That skill set included adaptability, communication and organization. Accounting popped to the top of the list, and she says she would not settle for less than a “top-notch program that was AASCB accredited.” After one visit to an information session for Bentley’s Master of Science in Accounting (MSA) program, she adds, “The rest is history.”
Deciding on Taxation
Though Yantz was confident about her decision to enter the field of accountancy, it was her first tax course that led her to the concentration in taxation. Professor Donna McConville, she recalls, didn’t expect students to simply memorize material; they analyzed the material — something that Yantz was good at and enjoyed.
Because of the program's level of accreditation, Yantz was eligible to sit for the CPA exam upon graduation. “I was able to get a job immediately at the type of firm I was looking for, which would have otherwise been impossible,” she says.
Her candor is balanced by confidence that the Bentley MSA had the tools to get her where she needed to be. And she encourages others to believe in their own possibilities.
“I always try to maintain a growth mindset,” she says of an approach to learning by Stanford University researcher Carol Dweck. “I truly believe that we are all capable of growth and improvements and need to view challenges as opportunities for such growth, as opposed to as setbacks.”
(Yantz also tries to be “consciously and deliberately positive.”)
Today, Yantz is a senior tax accountant at Moody, Famiglieti & Andronico in Tewksbury, MA. The role allows her to look at the big picture of a tax return, particularly when it comes to helping clients with tax planning. “There is really no better day at work than when you do a projection so that you can tell the client how much they can give to charity before their deduction is maxed out.”
She says the field of accountancy has also provided opportunities for work-life balance. Yantz became a senior accountant and also took time off for maternity leave (twice). “You just need to do quality work and be efficient.”
Her top takeaway from the Bentley MSA is straightforward but has broad implications: “Always think about a problem from all sides. That can be as simple as thinking about the other side of a journal entry or as complex as thinking about all of the stakeholders in an ethical dilemma.”