Julia Fiedler, ’21, ’22 M.S.: Master’s Degree Has Prepared Her for Real-World Requirements of Today’s Professional Accounting Field

Julia Fiedler ’21, ’22 M.S. grew up around Syracuse University’s Whitman School. Long before she decided to attend Whitman and pursue a career in accounting, she could often be found hanging out in the office of Professor of Accounting Practice MaryAnn Monforte—who just happens to be her mom.

She calls Monforte her “inspiration” for pursuing both an undergraduate degree and a master’s degree in professional accounting at the Whitman School. “I was reluctant at first, but, during my freshman year, my mom convinced me to attend a KPMG networking event,” she explains. “I went, and, after that, I just knew that accounting was what I wanted to do.”

As an undergraduate, she was active in Beta Alpha Psi, an international honor society for accounting, finance and information systems students, as well as ENACTUS, a social entrepreneurship organization that works on projects benefiting the underserved in the greater Syracuse community and abroad. And, throughout her time at the School, she was able to network with Whitman alums in the accounting field, which helped her see the many possibilities that this career choice offered. After receiving her undergraduate degree in 2021, Fiedler decided to stay on at Whitman to earn her master’s degree in professional accounting as part of the professional certified public accounting (CPA) track.

Fiedler is a part of the first graduate-level professional accounting cohort to leave with a STEM-certification along with her master’s degree—something new to the Whitman School’s program. Many of the courses she took over the past year incorporated advanced application tools and add-ins based on statistical principles and introduced other software tools that helped manage big data with analysis and data visualization.

“Learning not only analytics related to business but, in particular, to accounting has been fascinating,” says Fiedler, who is eager to use her STEM knowledge when she begins work at EY in New York City. “I started using these skills when I interned at EY last summer, and earning my master’s degree has helped emphasize how to use this technology to look at data differently. It’s awesome that Whitman has incorporated this into the program, as it is a true reflection of what a career in public accounting requires.” 

Fiedler will start her new position in September 2022. In the meantime, she plans to enjoy some free time and travel, while also getting a jump on her CPA exams. Once she arrives at EY, she is certain she will be well prepared.

“At Whitman, there’s always been someone to reach out to, and the professors have real-world experience that brings a blend of academics and a career-oriented focus that is really helpful to those of us about to enter the field of accounting,” she says. “Whitman has always been a huge support for me—other students, professors, alumni and even my mom—and there’s definitely such a great sense of community here. I can’t wait to take all of that out into the professional world with me.”