When Jason Stein MAcc ’12 applied to William and Mary he had only been to Virginia once as a young child.
Born and raised on Long Island, Stein returned to New York after he graduated from the University of Michigan in 2009 with a degree in political science with an emphasis in economics. Following an internship in the International Tax department at Bear Stearns, he decided to become an accountant. To reach that goal, Stein took business classes at Baruch College in New York City while researching possible programs for his master’s degree.
“I knew I wanted a campus environment, not a city school,” says Stein. “William and Mary had a nice-sized program, not too small and not too big. I chose the Master of Accounting program because I wanted to get my CPA license.”
After Stein was accepted to Mason, he visited the campus and felt confident that William and Mary was the best choice.
“Everyone was very nice,” says Stein. “As a smaller school, I was able to build good relationships with the faculty and my peers. Among the students, there was definitely a spirit of working together and helping each other out. I liked that it was not the stressful competitive environment I had back at Michigan.”
Stein jokes that it took him a while to get used to the slower pace in Williamsburg.
“People take their time in the South and they are very courteous,” says Stein. “It was especially apparent with driving. Going down Richmond Road at 25 mph can get frustrating at first. New York drivers are definitely less patient.”
After graduation, Stein accepted a position with Ernst & Young in New York City where he lives with two fellow M.Acc. graduates.
“When I started at Mason, I didn’t want to work for one of the big four accounting firms. I wanted something smaller where I could have a bigger voice,” says Stein who works in structured finance. “The environment at Ernst & Young is much more supportive and helpful than I anticipated. I’ve found that I really do play a big part. I am part of a team and I was trusted with big work from day one.”
Stein focuses on mortgage-backed securities and has already used content from some of his classes, like fixed income and derivatives, on the job.
“I like doing a blend of accounting and finance,” says Stein. “I work with a financial vehicle that most people have heard of but aren’t familiar with how they work. I like having conversations to explain how it works.”
As part of the Ernst & Young’s Business Advisors Program, Stein will have the opportunity to switch to a new area of the firm every couple months.
“I look forward to experiencing different departments and forging new relationships with clients all over the world,” says Stein. “I will have many options for moving forward. There is so much room for going up the ladder.”