Branching Out in the Online MAC Program
Jenny McClamroch took a step out of her comfort zone to pursue a new career path when she enrolled in NC State’s Jenkins Master of Accounting (MAC) online program in the summer of 2021.
Before branching out into accounting, McClamroch received her bachelor’s degree in elementary education, and she worked in the public school system before having children. For the last 10 years, she has spent her time being a stay-at-home mom, but as her children began going to school, she felt a longing to get back into the workforce.
McClamroch did not want to go back to teaching. She craved a new experience. Watching her husband dedicate his time as an employee of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) inspired her to explore accounting.
“This little seed led me to pursue the profession, and I knew that NC State’s MAC program was one of the best,” she says. “The program’s reputation, along with the flexibility of the online program, was a deciding factor for me. I needed a program that could help me transition from a full-time stay-at-home parent to a student and ultimately help me launch my new career upon graduation.”
Living in Fuquay-Varina, McClamroch says the online program allows her to find more time in her schedule to focus on school while still tending to her family’s needs. She started the program with one class and thoroughly enjoyed it, so she gradually worked her way up to three classes per semester.
“My first class was Advanced Financial Accounting with Professor of Accounting and Associate Director of Enterprise Risk Management Initiative Bruce Branson, and this was an excellent introduction into the program. Bruce made the summer meetings fun, and financial accounting has been one of my favorite classes so far,” she says.
As a stay-at-home parent, McClamroch felt supported by a program that provided opportunities for people with various goals and schedules.
“Many of my peers are working full time in the profession. While this is not my experience, I feel well respected amongst other students and the professors,” she says. “I love feeling connected to the professors and other students despite being online. I have received sound advice from the professors on next steps in my career and formed many friendships and connections with others in the program. It is also really fun to cheer on others as they graduate or pass sections of the CPA exam.”
Being part of an online program taught McClamroch new ways of organizing and managing her work. Online courses require a lot of accountability, so McClamroch practiced good time-management, formed healthy habits, such as keeping her calendar up-to-date and writing to-do lists, and learned about online tools that would help her organize coursework.
McClamroch’s worlds collide when she volunteers as a member of the Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) Audit Committee of her children’s school. This role allows her to not only apply what she has learned in the program, but also prepare for her future career.
It’s safe to say McClamroch has no regrets when it comes to enrolling in the online MAC program.
“I have learned so much in the MAC program and feel much closer to reaching my goals. My career goals include working for an organization that allows me to utilize the things I have learned from the MAC program while maintaining a work-life balance. Family comes first, but I look forward to getting into becoming a part of a profession and having that become a part of my day as well.”
As she looks forward, McClamroch feels grateful for the support she has received during her time as a student.
“My husband and children are crucial to my success in the MAC program. I couldn’t juggle it all without their support and the time they allow for me to complete my work,” she says. “I also have been really encouraged by Executive Director of Enterprise Risk Management Initiative and Professor of Practice Bonnie Hancock. Seeing her professional success while juggling a family is such an inspiration for me and really helps me to know I can do it too!”
McClamroch encourages others to take the jump and enroll in an online program too.
“My advice would be to take the next step and jump in. You can do it! With organization and determination, it is 100% doable,” she says. “I am proud to be part of the MAC program and can’t wait to see where it takes me.”