Jonathan Kim had a career in restaurant management when he realized he had a knack for another business practice: cost accounting.
Kim enjoyed giving managers advice and discussing improved cost control methods. Talking with his father, an accountant in New Orleans, made Kim realize it could be time for a career change.
The 30-year-old is now progressing in his professional and academic career, through the network built as an undergraduate accounting student in the B.I. Moody III College of Business Administration and the advanced skills learned through the college’s Master of Science in Accounting online.
Kim left the restaurant industry in 2016 to pursue his bachelor’s degree full time at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, getting involved with organizations like Beta Alpha Psi, an honor organization for financial information students and professionals. Participating in the honors organization as a member and leader fast-tracked Kim’s career.
“I actually met a lot of accounting professionals here in Lafayette, and through that kind of networking, I received an accounting internship in the summer of 2019,” Kim says. “Then as soon as I graduated, they offered me a full-time position.”
As Kim began his new full-time role, he took another leap by enrolling in the M.S. in Accounting online. Kim says he didn’t plan on earning a master’s degree when he enrolled at the University — a graduate degree seemed “unfathomable,” he says — but in talking with Master Instructor in Accounting Pam Meyer about his goal to become a CPA, he realized the program would be a great fit.
“It would provide me with the remaining 30 hours that I need to qualify for the exam, and having a graduate degree has a lot of clout and prestige so that if I decided to switch to private accounting it can help leverage me into a position of leadership faster than if I just had a bachelor's degree,” says Kim. “It made a lot of sense to me as the best way to not only promote my own future, but to satisfy the requirements to become a CPA. It just seemed like a win-win-win to me.”
Also in the win column was the opportunity to work full time while earning his master’s degree in only 12 months, with supportive professors.
“I found balancing my course work with my professional work to be a lot easier than it was for undergraduate,” he says. “One of the greatest components of my success was how understanding the professors were. The professors knew that we're all, or at least the majority of us, were working professionals, so that really helped with providing some flexibility.”
The online accounting program gave Kim a chance to take a deep dive into concepts like data analytics, theory, and managerial cost accounting.
“I'm learning so many things about various topics that I'm interested in,” he says. “One of the things that I really enjoyed was that the analysis techniques we were learning in the classroom, I was able to apply that immediately at work. I felt like that really gave me a leg up above some of my peers who did not have the same graduate degree as I had.”
Six months into the program, Kim had distinguished himself enough that when one of the partners at his office decided to start his own firm, he tapped Kim to join.
“He said that, even as a first-year staff accountant, the things that I consider and the techniques that I know how to use, has put me ahead,” Kim says. “I can definitely credit most of what I'm practicing on a day-to-day basis to things I've learned in the graduate program.”
Kim says his next step is to sit for the CPA exam, but before that, he’ll be celebrating the end of his academic marathon.
“I am taking so much time off. It has been quite a year,” Kim says. “Aside from working full time and then dealing with the pandemic and trying to balance school while trying to just be a person, I have never been so tired in my life. Talking to my employer and talking to my girlfriend, they both insist that I just take as much time as I need. So, I'm really looking forward to it, even if it's just sitting down on the couch and catching up on TV shows that I haven't seen in the last year and a half.”
Develop the advanced accounting skills and knowledge to stand apart in your field while earning the additional hours needed to qualify for the CPA exam. Request information today about UL Lafayette’s AACSB-accredited Master of Science in Accounting online. Terms begin in January, March, June, August, and October.