Natalie Smith

Natalie Smith

Current employer: The Duke Endowment

Position: Financial Analyst

Favorite Place in Charlotte: Knights Stadium and Kings Drive Farmers Market

Hometown: Charlotte, NC               

Undergrad Institution and Degree: UNC Charlotte, B.A. in History and Political Science (2006) and M.A. in History (2009)

Dream Job: To run a farm for rescued horses

What degree are you pursuing and why?
I am pursuing the Masters of Accountancy degree in order to better align my work experience in the finance sector with my education. I have worked in Finance for nine years and have learned a lot, but I wanted to formalize my knowledge by obtaining a masters in accountancy and becoming a licensed CPA. My current position is divided between grant programs and finance. Since I have a liberal arts masters I wanted to round out my education with an accounting masters to provide depth to my knowledge base. 

Why did you choose the Belk College of Business over others?
The Masters of Accountancy program within the Belk College of Business has a compelling reputation for student success in passing CPA exams. I wanted a program that would help me achieve my goal of becoming a licensed CPA and UNC Charlotte focuses on that goal. I was also attracted to the accessibility of the Center City campus that is close to my work, which makes commuting to classes much easier. 

What activities are you involved in when not working/studying?
When I’m not working or studying, I enjoy reading novels and spending time with my family and friends. I enjoy traveling throughout North Carolina and I especially like spending time on Lake Tillery in the summers with friends. I also try to be outside any way that I can, so I study outside as much as possible and when I get the chance, I work in my garden. 

What has been the best part of your academic experience so far?
The best part of my academic experience so far has been the comradery between the students. This is the first academic experience I’ve had where all the students are focused on their education and are genuinely focused on that goal as a group. There is a great environment of encouragement among the students to achieve their best and help their peers succeed. That comradery carries over to faculty members who are always on hand to help you navigate classes, your career or the CPA licensing process. 

How would you describe the Belk College of Business to someone considering a master’s program?
The Belk College of Business is a great fit for a working professional. The faculty is extremely understanding of demands on a working student and are very willing to help you juggle both. I truly appreciate the flexibility of the classes and schedules. The application process was very smooth and there is always someone available who can help with any questions you may have, from registration to parking. The faculty and staff availability and willingness to assist students is invaluable.  

 

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